Giuseppe Uncini

Ombra di Due Quadrati mt. 4, 1973

concrete and laminated wood

65 x 90 x 16 cm


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Artwork
Description

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Since working with the “Gruppo Uno” from 1963-67, Giuseppe Uncini’s oeuvre has been rooted in theories of perception and the distinction between the material and the immaterial. His compositions challenge the notion that art exists to communicate an existential message, instead rendering matter as pure and autonomous, using simple industrial materials to proclaim his work’s own agency.

In ‘Ombra di due quadrati’, the shadows of two squares are rendered in concrete and mounted on the wall. The squares themselves are simply negative space, visible only in relation to the shadows they cast. Uncini has reformatted the boundaries between object and silhouette, imbuing the canonically abstract conception of ‘shadow’ with an inherent materiality. The decision to use concrete is an apt one, for it suggests both solidity and reality, making it an ideal medium for a piece that aims not to represent something else, but to be intrinsically meaningful in itself.

 

About
the artist

Giuseppe Uncini (Fabriano, 1929 – Trevi, 2008) was an Italian painter and sculptor. After beginning his artistic career in his hometown, in 1953 he moved to Rome, where he spent most of his life.

Uncini was one of the most important representatives of the Gruppo Uno, a movement which rejected the tenets of Art Informel and revived the spirit of rationalism, proposing an idea of art rooted in the theories of perception. Throughout his practice, Uncini celebrates the architectural and structural elements of his works, in which, according to the art critic Giovanni Maria Accame: “material no longer exists as a metaphor for an existential condition, as in Art Informel, but is becoming receptive to external stimuli, and thus, comparing itself to historical reality, presents itself as actual matter”.

This approach begins with the juvenile series Terre (1956-1957), works on boards realised with tuff volcanic rock, sand, ashes and coloured pigments, where a great attention is paid to the properties of the different materials. However, the turning point of his artistic production is represented by the series Cementiarmati (1957 – 1958), sculptures which employ iron, cement and wire netting. In these works, there is a sharp contrast between the structural supports, which are left visible, and the compact and coarse cement surfaces which partially cover them. In his next series Ferrocementi, Uncini further explores the properties of cement, smoothed to the point that it loses its material qualities. In these compositions, a key role is played by the iron bar, which determines the thickness of the cement’s layer. Since the late 60s, Uncini had become increasingly concerned with the relationship between objects and their shadows. Starting from this enquiry, his series Ombre and Dimore, sees architectural elements – such as doors, windows, thresholds –  reproduced on surfaces of different materials together with their shadows.

Uncini has had prominent exhibitions at: MART in Rovereto [2008]; ZKM in Karlsruhe [2008-2009]; Landesmuseum Joanneum in Graz [2008], Fondazione Marconi in Milan [2007], Galleria Christian Stein in Milan [2007]; Galleria Fumagalli in Bergamo [2007]; Galleria Christian Stein in Milan [2002]; Galleria Gio Marconi in Milan [2002]; Galleria Fumagalli in Bergamo [2002-2003]; Stadtische Kunsthalle in Mannheim [2001]; MoMA PS1, the Minimalia exhibition, in New York [1999]; Spazicemento, collaboration with Galleria Fumagalli in Bergamo [1994]; L’Altra Scultura in Madrid, Barcelona and Darmstadt [1990], Venice Biennial [1984][1966]; Galleria Nazionale di Arte Moderna in Rome [1968]. In 1962, he won the Spoleto Award and in 1998 the Feltrinelli Prize for sculpture. His work is part of important private and public collections, such as  Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Bologna - Galleria Comunale d’Arte, Cagliari Museo Civico Giovanni Fattori, Villa Mimbelli, Livorno - Museo del Novecento, Milano - Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, Roma - Castello di Rivoli, Fondazione De Fornaris, Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Torino - Museo d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto - Museum Bochum - Museum Lehmbruck, Duisburg - Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz - Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe - Städtische Kunsthalle Mannheim - Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam - Galerie der Stadt, Stoccarda - Nijgata City Art Museum, Nijgata, Hakone Open-Air Museum, Kanagawa-Ken, Tokyo.


Throughout his practice, Uncini celebrates the architectural and structural elements of his works, in which, according to the art critic Giovanni Maria Accame: “material no longer exists as a metaphor for an existential condition, as in Art Informel, but is becoming receptive to external stimuli, and thus, comparing itself to historical reality, presents itself as actual matter”.

In his next series Ferrocementi, Uncini further explores the properties of cement, smoothed to the point that it loses its material qualities. In these compositions, a key role is played by the iron bar, which determines the thickness of the cement’s layer. Since the late 60s, Uncini had become increasingly concerned with the relationship between objects and their shadows. Starting from this enquiry, his series Ombre and Dimore, sees architectural elements – such as doors, windows, thresholds –  reproduced on surfaces of different materials together with their shadows.


Giuseppe Uncini
on Artuner

Part of the
exhibition

May 3rd, 2017 until
August 4th, 2017
Curated by ARTUNER