Paolo Scheggi (1940-1971) belonged to the neo-avant-garde of the 1960s and was one of the protagonists of Spatialism. This exhibition spans his entire career, including his most famous works formed of overlapping layers of canvas pierced by biomorphic or geometric openings.
It is the first time a solo show by Scheggi has been presented in a British museum, and runs at London’s Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art from 3 July until 15 September 2019. Organized in collaboration with the Associazione Paolo Scheggi, Milan, this show provides a comprehensive overview of an extraordinarily experimental and multidisciplinary career. Scheggi was born in Settignano (Florence) in 1940, and died in Rome in 1971. Over the course of a ‘long’ decade (1958-1971), the artist’s research engaged with a range of disciplines, from the visual arts to architecture, fashion, poetry, and urban and theatrical performance. His investigations into the relationship between the surface and the depth of the visual field built on the example of Lucio Fontana, who represented something of a spiritual father for the young artist.
The exhibition features Scheggi’s early pieces formed of monochrome or multi-coloured metal sheets, which he produced during the late 1950s, as well as the Reflected Zones and Intersurfaces of the 1960s, constructed from three layered canvases incorporating organic, elliptical or perfectly circular openings. Also on display are the Inter-ena-cubes formed of coloured cardboard and Plexiglas modules with which he continued his research into the relationship between the artwork and the viewer.
The show includes clothes by Germana Marucelli – a protagonist of Italian high fashion, for whom Scheggi designed fabrics and coordinated items of jewellery – and explores Scheggi’s sculptural installations and environments, as well as his designs for the theatre and other kinds of performance dating from the late 1960s. It concludes with the conceptual works of the early 1970s, incorporating metaphysical and symbolic-political messages, and is complemented by a selection of original archival material, such as documents, photographs and contemporary exhibition catalogues.all images © the gallery and the artist(s)