Enrico Castellani, an Italian artist who was a outstanding member of Europe’s postwar avant-garde, died on Dec. at his dwelling in Celleno, Italy, close to Rome. He was 87.
A spokesman for Lévy Gorvy, the gallery that represents his work in New York and London, mentioned the trigger was issues of a respiratory sickness.
Mr. Castellani participated in the swirl of actions and self-proclaimed teams, some armed with manifestoes, that flourished on either side of the Atlantic in the late 1950s and ’60s. They included Group Zero in Germany and the Cobra group in Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam, in addition to the circle round Yves Klein in France and the Neo-Concrete artists in Brazil.
Many of those artists emphasised on a regular basis supplies and processes; most rejected the expression of subjectivity and emotion that prevailed in the gestural summary portray and figurative sculpture that instantly adopted World Battle II.
Mr. Castellani’s artwork consisted of reliefs in the type of monochromatic canvases with row upon row of taut, protruding, tented factors. He achieved this impact by hammering scores of fastidiously positioned nails into elaborate wooden helps, stretching the canvas over their protruding heads after which portray it, normally white but in addition silver, purple or black.
What resulted remained true to portray’s primary supplies whereas turning its historically flat floor right into a subject of topographical undulations that, interacting with gentle, seem to vary an ideal deal as the viewer strikes round them.
Incorporating elements of sculpture, furnishings and structure, these items resemble streamlined mattresses and in addition counsel scale fashions of huge fashionable buildings whose roofs contain some beforehand unknown engineering expertise.
Particularly when white, Mr. Castellani’s reliefs, which have an alien, lunar air, have been a part of a widespread development amongst youthful artists to venture portray out from the wall. His friends in these efforts included the American artists Lee Bontecou and Donald Judd and the German artist and Group Zero founder Günther Uecker, who additionally used nails to create uncooked, fetish-like surfaces.
Enrico Castellani was born on Aug. four, 1930, in Castelmassa, in the Veneto area of Northern Italy. His father was an industrial technician.
Mr. Castellani mentioned he knew he needed to be a painter at a younger age, though he earned a license as a constructing surveyor, which might show to befit the precision of his later inventive work.
He went to Brussels in 1952 to check portray at the Académie des Beaux-Arts however quickly determined that it was a waste of time and dropped out. Along with his information of surveying, he enrolled in an structure faculty there, earned a level and located work with an architect in Milan, transferring there in 1956. However he continued to color in his spare time, drawing inspiration foremost from Jackson Pollock’s drip work.
Mr. Castellani sought a means past gestural brushwork and painted motifs to what he referred to as a “not portray” type of portray. He quickly met Piero Manzoni, an avant-garde artist three years his junior, whose mercurial temperament was the reverse of Mr. Castellani’s reserve.
Manzoni was already making his personal “not portray,” works he referred to as white Achromes. These have been white reliefs with surfaces produced from acquainted supplies and objects (cloth, bread, cotton wool) lined in liquid kaolin, a white clay, which stiffened when dry.
Each artists would finally be part of Group Zero. In September 1959 they established Galleria Azimut in Milan and an accompanying experimental journal, Azimuth. Each gallery and publication featured a world roster of artists, and Azimuth, whereas brief-lived (11 months and two points), had a galvanizing impact on the Italian artwork world and past.
It was additionally in 1959 that Mr. Castellani hit on his personal, comparatively beautiful methodology of eliminating any signal of the artist’s hand. On his first try at a reduction-like floor, he positioned hazelnuts beneath the canvas. However he quickly settled on nails.
He additionally created environmental works and made monochromatic work with clean curving surfaces. However the canvas-and-nail reliefs remained his chief format.
He achieved nice selection in his floor topographies by putting the nails in totally different patterns, hammering them to totally different heights or bending them, thus altering the floor considerably. He additionally hammered nails into the stretched canvas between the raised factors, creating counterrhythms.
Mr. Castellani had his first solo present at the Galleria Azimut in 1960 and rapidly started exhibiting in artwork capitals throughout Europe. He was included in “The Responsive Eye,” the Museum of Fashionable Artwork’s common survey of Op Artwork in 1965, and had his first solo present in New York at the Betty Parsons Gallery in 1966. He represented Italy at the Venice Biennales of 1964, 1966 and 1984.
Mr. Castellani’s profession unfolded largely in Europe, however after the flip of the century, with rising curiosity in avant-gardes round the globe, he had solo reveals in New York in 2009, 2011 and 2016.
His longtime companion, Renata Wirtz, died in 2016. He's survived by a son from that relationship, Lorenzo; a daughter, Francesca Castellani, from an earlier relationship; two grandchildren; and one nice-granddaughter.