By Paola Bonino
Luciano Fabro died 22 June 2007, while preparing a solo exhibition for the MADRE Museum in Naples.
Born in 1936 in Turin, Fabro moved to Friuli and afterwards to Milan, where he developed his artistic career. As a self-taught artist, he was close to Piero Manzoni and Enrico Castellani, both of whom collaborated to establish the Galleria Azimut. He was also strongly influenced by Lucio Fontana’s work.
Always concerned with the perception of space and with the relationship between the audience, the environment and the artwork, Fabro developed a heterogeneous artistic production, spanning sculptures (like his well-known series Italia, in which the outline of Italy is realized with different materials and installed in unusual positions), the accumulation of unconventional objects, environment installations, and an ongoing dialogue with art from the past.
Although he had always protected his independence, he was involved in the Arte Povera movement and he is considered one of its protagonists. Starting from 1983, Fabro taught at the Brera Academy. He is remembered as a charismatic teacher, who, crossing the borders between traditional disciplines, had a great influence on young students. His engagement with the younger generations also emerged in his involvement with the “Casa degli Artisti” (The artists’ house), a compound of ateliers and exhibition space in Milan, which Fabro, together with Hidetoshi Nagasawa and Jole De Sanna, re-launched in 1978. From that year on, the “Casa degli Artisti” became one of the core pillars of Milan’s artistic scene, promoting research, collaboration with other artist-run-space and no-profit organizations, and a consideration of art and culture as part of the community. After the death of Jole De Sanna and Luciano Fabro, the “Casa degli Artisti” was closed by the municipality in 2007. It is currently under renovation and planned to be open anew as a centre for the artistic production.
“Fabro, Luciano”, in Le Garzantine, Arte, Le Grandi Collane del Corriere della Sera (Garzanti, 2006).
Andrea Villiani, “For A Choral Archive of Italian Autonomia Art.” In Ennesima: A Choral Archive: The Via Lazzaro Palazzo Space, the Experience of Self-Management and AVANBLOB (Milano, Mousse/La Triennale, 2015) p. 102.
All images from the exhibition of Luciano Fabro’s work at the Palacio Velazquez de Madrid courtesy of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía/ Joaquin Cortés-Román Lores 2014.