|PAOLO ICARO||Exhibition 2011|
Paolo Icaro Chissotti was born in Turin in 1936. He studied music and in 1955 enrolled in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Turin. Having dropped out of university, in 1958 he started to practise sculpture in Umberto Mastroianni’s workshop. In 1960 he moved to Rome, where he held his first solo exhibition at Galleria Schneider in 1962. In 1964 he was awarded the Foreign Trade Ministry prize at the III Biennale d’Arte della Ceramica in Gubbio. In 1965 he was invited to the IX Quadriennale in Rome.
In 1966 he moved to New York, where he lived until 1968. In America he created his Forme di spazio (1967), immediately rechristened Gabbie, metal profile structures in which, instead of occupying the space, the sculpture becomes a place, the origin of space. During his stay in America he kept close contact with the art world in Italy. In 1967 he held a one-man show at Galleria La Tartaruga in Rome and was invited by Germano Celant to take part in the exhibition Arte Povera Im-spazio, which took place at Galleria La Bertesca in Genoa – the city where he would move on his return to Italy. In 1968 he held a solo exhibition at Galleria La Bertesca whose title, Faredisfarerifarevedere, is paradigmatic of his poetics. “Icaro explores space: a space to experience with the body, to measure in the physical and mental sense, to seek out as times goes by. A space to recount, where planning and chance, sacred intimacy and subtle irony blend together, leading the search towards an constant doingundoingredoingreviewing (faredisfarerifarevedere) of the shape and thought” (Lara Conte).
Between 1968 and 1969 he took part in the main exhibitions of international artistic avant-garde, which sealed trends such as arte povera, conceptual art and process art. He performed actions at Teatro delle mostre, Galleria La Tartaruga, Rome (1968); at Arte Povera più Azioni Povere, Amalfi (1968); he was invited to Op Losse Schroeven. Situaties en cryptostructuren, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1969); and to When Attitudes Become Form, curated by Harald Szeemann at the Kunsthalle in Bern (1969).
In 1971 he moved back to the US, to Connecticut, where he remained for the whole decade. During the 1970s he created cycles of works such as I luoghi del punto and Misure intime, pathways to measuring the body which varied in their use of different plastic materials. At this point he began to work with plaster, a material that affects time, preserving the print of the rapid gesture that moulded it. “Alone – or combined with stone, glass, wood, lead, paper – […] for him plaster becomes the quintessential material, able to restore the volumes’ different states (smoothness, bristliness, solidity, fluidity), their tension and energy” (Mario Bertoni). During the 1970s and 80s he held solo exhibitions in important European and American galleries, to mention some: Verna, Zurich (1972, 1974, 1978, 1985); Françoise Lambert, Milan (1976); Marilena Bonomo, Bari (1976); Massimo Minini, Brescia (1977, 1982, 1989); Paul Maenz, Cologne (1978), Hal Bromm, New York (1978, 1979) and Jack Tilton, New York (1985, 1986, 1989).
At the start of the 1980s he moved back to Italy permanently. In 1982 he had a one-man show at PAC – the Pavilion of Contemporary Art in Milan; and in 1987 he held a solo exhibition at Palazzina dei Giardini in Modena, presented by Dore Ashton and Pier Giovanni Castagnoli. In 1995 Danilo Eccher curated an anthological exhibition of his work at the Galleria Civica d’Arte Contemporanea in Trento.
Since the 1990s he was invited to take part in numerous group exhibitions, amongst which: Arte italiana degli ultimi quarant’anni. Materiali anomali, Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Bologna (1997); Au rendez-vous des amis. Identità e opera, curated by Bruno Corà, Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato (1998); and Immagini. Arte italiana dal 1942 ai nostri giorni, curated by Fabrizio D’Amico, European Central Bank, Frankfurt (2000). In 2006 he was present at the exhibition Museo Museo Museo. 1998-2006 Duecentocinquanta nuove opere per la GAM, curated by Pier Giovanni Castagnoli at Torino Esposizioni, where the group of works purchased in 2005 by the Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in Turin were exhibited. He has also taken part in numerous group exhibitions, amongst which Time & Place: Milano – Torino. 1958-1968, curated by Luca Massimo Barbero, Moderna Museet, Stockholm – Kunsthaus, Zurich (2008); and Italics. Arte italiana fra tradizione e rivoluzione 1968-2008, curated by Francesco Bonami, Venice, Palazzo Grassi – Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art (2008-2009)
In October 2007 he was invited by Luigi Ballerini to create a permanent piece for the Italian Department at UCLA, the University of California in Los Angeles. Some of his solo shows from recent years are: Faredisfarerifarevedere, curated by Mario Bertoni, Centro d’Arte e Cultura Chiesa di San Paolo, Modena (2008); Le pietre di marmo, a homage exhibition part of the XXV Biennale di Scultura di Gubbio, curated by Giorgio Bonomi (2008); Biografia ideale, curated by Ludovico Pratesi, Centro Arti Visive Pescheria, Pesaro (2009); and 15 Stele 15, curated by Lara Conte, Galleria Niccoli, Parma (2010).
In 2010 he was presented by Massimo Minini in the Back to the Future section of Artissima. In 2011 he displayed the installation Cardo e decumano in Bologna, in the courtyard of Palazzo d’Accursio, on occasion of Art First, and he realized the exhibition Su misura, curated by Lara Conte and Mauro Panzera, at Galleria Il Ponte, Florence, followed by I do as I did by Lorenzelli Arte in Milan and You, Space at the CAMEC in La Spezia. In 2012 the two Bologna galleries P420 (with Paolo Icaro. 1967-1977) and Studio G7 (with Living in America. Sculptural events in Woodbridge) contemporarily dedicated two exhibitions to him. In 2013 he put on Tensioni at Studio La Città in Verona and in 2014 Appunti di viaggio, 1967-2014 at Peep-Hole in Milan. In 2017 he put together the site-specific work Un prato in quattro tempi in the cloister of the Università Statale di Milano and Respiro, all’interno dell’esterno dell’interno… at Fondazione VOLUME! In Rome; he exhibited in Le Pietre del Cielo: Paolo Icaro e Luigi Ghirri curated by Chiara Bertola and Giuliano Sergio at the Fondazione Querini Stampalia in Venice and Paolo Icaro, Unending Incipit at the Pinacoteca Comunale in Città di Castello.
He lives and works in Tavullia (Pesaro).