Conceptual art

Vincenzo Agnetti



Vincenzo Agnetti Artist

Vincenzo Agnetti pittore

Vincenzo Agnetti è stato un artista e poeta italiano ed è considerato uno dei massimi esponenti dell'arte concettuale italiana. Vincenzo Agnetti was born in Milan in 1926. In the Lombard capital he graduated from the Brera Academy of Fine Arts and attended the Piccolo Teatro school, where he met Bruna Soletti who would soon become his collaborator and life partner. He began his artistic journey in the field of informal painting and poetry. Unfortunately, very little remains of Vincenzo Agnetti's early works.
Around the mid-1950s, he participated intensely in the activities of the Galleria Azimut together, among others, with Enrico Castellani, Agostino Bonalumi and Piero Manzoni. In the same period he also wrote for the magazine Azimut, debuting with 'Do not commit impure acts'.
In 1962 he moved with his family to Argentina to work in the electronic automation sector. He maintains relations with the Milanese artistic world and especially with Piero Manzoni, with whom he begins an intense exchange of letters. The Argentine period was not very prolific for Agnetti's art, demotivated by the separation from home and the frenetic pace of work.
He definitively abandoned Argentina in 1967 and finally returned to Milan, where his passion for art was rekindled. He will make other trips to Norway, Qatar and the United States, but will remain solidly anchored to his hometown for the rest of his life.
In the Lombardy capital, Vincenzo Agnetti reconnected with Vanni Scheiwiller, the famous art critic and publisher of the time. It is precisely in the DeNarratori series by Scheiweller that he publishes the novel Obsoleto, a revolutionary and extremely cryptic work, with numerous graphic incursions. This novel marks the beginning of a work of reflection and re-discussion of language and words. The works of Vincenzo Agnetti, in fact, aim to subvert the canons of traditional fruition, arriving at an art of strictly conceptual origin.
Also in 1967, his first exhibition took place, at the Palazzo dei Diamanti in Ferrara, where he exhibited the work Principia, with which he tried to visually represent ambiguity of language. This creation consists of a wooden panel painted white with words written on it. The panel is equipped with a cursor which, if moved horizontally, modifies the relationships between the various words.
In 1968 one of Vincenzo Agnetti's works was exhibited at the Galleria Visualità. This is the evocative Macchina Drogata, an Olivetti calculator where the numbers have been replaced by the letters of the alphabet.
In 1970, using the knowledge and experiences gained from his previous work in Argentina, he created the sculpture Neg, with which he aspired to vitalise the negative. The Neg is a stereophonic turntable modified to block the sound signal. This change should allow the user to hear the pauses in the music and enjoy the silence.
At the beginning of 1971, Vincenzo Agnetti exhibited a series of felts and axioms at the Galleria Blu in Milan, inaugurating a new artistic phase. Felts are essentially panels engraved by fire or painted with color, depicting portraits and landscapes. The axioms, on the other hand, are Bakelite sheets treated with water or nitro colours. In both cases it is the word (engraved or painted), in its intricacies, in its contradictions and in its paradoxes, the true protagonist of the work. In 1972 he participated in his first Venice Biennale (he repeated the experience in 1974, 1976, 1978 and 1980). In the same year he was invited to Documenta 5, in Kassel.
In 1973 Vincenzo Agnetti's work Tempo Azione was exhibited at the Verna Gallery in Zurich. It is a series of seven drawings that aspire to confine the concept of time in space. Also in the same year, he completed the Project of a Political Hamlet, a conceptual work in which sixty national flags frame the stage, on which Agnetti recites a monologue made solely of numerical series. With this installation the Lombard artist wants to express the need for the creation of a universal language that can unite all peoples and remove all barriers. In the same period, Vincenzo Agnetti opened a studio in Manhattan, where he often went in the following years.
In 1975, his first American exhibition was held in the Feldman Gallery in New York.
His artistic production continued unabated (with other works such as Mass Media and Elizabeth of England) until the end of the 1970s, when he began to dedicate himself mainly to poetry.
In 1978 he published Machiavelli 30, a poetic anthology accompanied by images of his works.
Between 1978 and 1981 he created the so-called Photo-graffie: photographic paper treated and exposed to light, marked by scratches. In the same vein is the work The Four Seasons, exhibited in the Pavilion of Contemporary Art in Milan at the end of 1980.
Vincenzo Agnetti died in Milan in 1981.

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