From October 23rd until Decembre 22nd, the Tornabuoni Art gallery in Paris presents the first French exhibition dedicated to the artist Paolo Scheggi. This exhibition is curated by Luca Massimo Barbero, Associate Curator of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice and Editor of the upcoming Paolo Scheggi : Catalogue Raisonné in collaboration with Franca and Cosima Scheggi.

Tornabuoni Art offers an exhibition showcasing the fundamental steps of the brief yet intense artistic carreer of Paolo Scheggi, one of the key protagonists of the 1960s Milanese avant-garde. The exhibition presents the various media he worked with such as the works composed of superimposed metalsheets from the end of the 1950s, the first Intersuperfici with irregular and organic forms from the beginning of the 1960s, the memorable installation from the 1966 Venice Biennale but also, and for the first time, visual poetry and performances.

Talk « Paolo Scheggi and the Milanese cultural scene of the 1960s »

Alongside the « Paolo Scheggi » exhibition held at the Tornabuoni Art gallery in Paris, a talk entitled « Paolo Scheggi and the Milanese cultural scene of the 1960s », will be held of the Auditorium at the FIAC on October 22nd at 3:30 pm, attended by Luca Massimo Barbero, Associate curator of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection of Venice, Serge Lemoine, Professor Emeritus at the University of Paris Sorbonne, and Judith Benhamou-Huet, journalist and curator. More than a tributeto Scheggi’s brief but intense artistic career, this conference will provide a thorough reflection on the artists of the Italian avant-garde.

About the artist

Paolo Scheggi (Settignano, Florence 1940 - Rome 1971) developed an extraordinarily intense and interdisciplinary artistic research, exploring visual arts, architecture, fashion, poetry, urban and theatrical performances, resulting in a conceptual and metaphysical reflection. Greatly influenced by the Humanists, Existentialists and Phenomenologists (through his relationship with Jean Paul Sartre), he moved from Florence to Milan in 1961.

At that time, he came into contact with the new research of the Lombard capital following Lucio Fontana and Bruno Munari and frequenting the groups surrounding Azimut/h as well as the first figures of the Arte Programmata (Programmed Art). He quickly became a point of reference for the international avant garde, actively participating in the debates and projects of the Zero, Nul groups and Nuove Tendenze (New Tendancies).

It doesn’t come as a surprise that, from 1962 onwards, Lucio Fontana attentively followed his work. Fontana wrote in a letter addressed to the artist, purposely written for the exhibition catalogue of Scheggi’s second solo-show at the Il Cancello gallery in Bologna:

« Your work is very intelligent, and logical, even if divergences exist between us, that works in your favor. You are a man of your time [...]. I like you inquiries, your research and your canvases so profoundly black, red, white that reveal your thoughts, your fears. »

Monochrome, a sense of space, reflection on time through perception and action, wordplay are all fundamental elements of Paolo Scheggi’s artistic research. In 1966, Scheggi was the youngest artist to be invited to the 33rd Venice Biennale where he presented his four white, blue, yellow and red Intersuperfici.

Between 1966 and 1967, whilst taking part in numerous exhibitions around the world such as in Paris, Buenos Aires, New York, Amburgo, Düsseldorf, Zagreb, and many more, Scheggi experimented intergrating of plastic, architecture, theatre, drama writing, surpassing not only the canvas but also the traditional space of the gallery by invading the city streets, like Campo urbano in Como, Oplà-Stick in Milan, Zagreb and OPLÀ. Azione-lettura teatro in Florence in 1969. The following two years, Scheggi embarked on a conceptual journey that would lead him to his 6profetiper6geometrie.

Paolo Scheggi died at the age of 31, limiting his body of work. For the past few years, and especially since the creation of the Associazione Paolo Scheggi in Milan according to the will of Franca and Cosima Scheggi, widow and daughter of the artist, to defend, promote, and further Scheggi’s study; his work and research have been closely followed by influential and exigent collectors.

Among the latest exhibitions dedicated to the artist, a tribute « Omaggio a Paolo Scheggi » was presented during the exhibtion « Postwar. Protagonisti Italiani » at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice curated by Luca Massimo Barbero.

A tribute to the 1966 Venice Biennale

Within the retrospective, Tornabuoni Art is devoting a space to four works by Paolo Scheggi; four Intersuperfici that the gallery recently gathered at Art Basel - Basel for the first time since their exhibition at the 1966 Venice Biennale, in a room shared by Paolo Scheggi, Agostino Bonalumi, Riccardo Guarneri and Pasquale Santoro.

The 1966 Biennale was a crucial time for the artistic research that developed in Milan in the 1960s, as it demonstrated the impact that the monochrome had on the avant-garde and the influence of the research conducted by the the Azimut/h group. In the Padiglione Italia was not only Lucio Fontana with his already famous incisions, but also Agostino Bonalumi with a white monochrome painting, and above all Paolo Scheggi, who occupied a predominant position: the entire installation was over 6 meters long.

Forty-nine years later, Tornabuoni Art is proud to present this project, made possible with the close collaboration of the Associazione Paolo Scheggi, Luca Massimo Barbero and an exceptional loan by the Museum für Kunst Konkrete of Ingolstadt, Germany.

Thorough archival research has revealed unseen photographs of Paolo Scheggi’s participation at the 1966 Biennale, but also earlier images of the artist in his studio with the four paintings and unpublished photographs of Julio Le Parc, Lucio Fontana, Agostino Bonalumi and other protagonists of the artistic scene of the 1960s. This precious material has been published alongside contemporary documentation in a comprehensive catalogue edited under the direction of Luca Massimo Barbero and available at the gallery.