Mario Schifano biography



Mario Schifano, born in Homs, a city in Italian Libya, in 1934, and passed away in Rome in 1998, was an Italian artist of great importance on the national and international scene of the sixties.

Painter, director and musician, he stands out as a multifaceted, rebellious and exuberant figure, often associated with the Italian and European Pop art movement together with other important artists such as Franco Angeli and Tano Festa. His personality is marked by a social life and prolonged use of drugs, factors that have earned him the nickname " cursed artist ".

After returning from Libya, Mario Schifano settled in Rome, where he approached art thanks to the experience of his father, a restorer at the Etruscan Museum of Villa Giulia. Initially influenced by Informal Art, his style evolved towards monochromatic painting, characterized by the application of papers and letters over the entire surface of the canvas. This period is marked by the artist's affirmation in the artistic panorama and by the victory of prestigious prizes such as the Premio Lissone in 1961.

The contact with American Pop Art during a trip to the United States led him to explore new themes and styles, and upon returning to Italy, he founded the band "Le Stelle di Mario Schifano", embracing the world of music and establishing relationships with the Rolling Stones. His art is also inspired by the culture of mass communication, using logos and advertising brands as subjects of his works. Emblematic in this sense are the "Le Propagande" series, in which he reproduces logos of famous brands such as Coca-Cola and Esso, thus emphasizing the popularity of the images in common use.

The Seventies and Eighties are characterized by a phase of experimentation and interest in multimedia. Mario Schifano dedicates himself to photography and uses the computer to create works which he then transfers onto emulsified canvases, calling them " computerized canvases ". This passion for technological innovation leads him to use screen printing to produce works in series, in line with the ideal of reproducibility of art typical of Pop Art. Among the most famous works of this period, we find the " Paesaggi TV", in which Mario Schifano captures still images of television scenes with psychedelic colors superimposed on black and white, underlining the contrast between reality and the media image. This series testifies to his interest in the media and television, a source of inspiration for the creation of his works.

Despite his artistic success, the artist's life is marked by problems related to drug addiction, which lead him to repeated convictions and periods in prison and in a detox clinic. Only in 1997, thanks to the intervention of his lawyer Attilio Maccarrone, did he obtain judicial reinstatement for possession of drugs for personal use.

The death of Mario Schifano, which occurred at the age of 63 due to a heart attack, closes an extraordinarily prolific and multifaceted artistic career. His contribution to the Italian and international art scene is demonstrated by the numerous works exhibited in the most important Italian museums, and the foundation in his name is responsible for preserving and protecting his vast artistic heritage. Mario Schifano, with his eccentric character and his provocative spirit, remains an iconic figure of contemporary art, a "puma painter" with a unique and unmistakable style who has left a lasting imprint on the world artistic panorama . His desire to experiment and his ability to anticipate cultural trends, combined with his passion for social life and multimedia, still make him an artist of great relevance and relevance today.