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Flavio Paolucci


Flavio Paolucci

Flavio Paolucci was born in Torre (Val di Blenio, Switzerland), on June 20, 1934. After attending the Cantonal School of Painting in Lugano (1949-1953) and working at the Atelier Oscar Bölt in Locarno (1955), Paolucci enrolled at the Brera Academy in Milan (1955–57). Under the influence of Aldo Carpi he studied Mario Sironi, Achille Funi and learned the fresco technique. He made his debut with his first personal exhibition in 1958, the year in which he also obtained the first prize at the Biennale dei Giovani in Gorizia. In the early 1960s he made some study trips. In Paris, in 1961, he received the second prize at the Unesco International Exposition. In 1964 he lived for a year in Morocco, where he discovered a totally different dimension of space and time; in 1967 he renews the Moroccan experience. Since 1968 he has lived in his atelier on the outskirts of Biasca. National awards and repeated presence on the Swiss art scene since the 1970s. First solo exhibition in a museum and first monograph in 1984 (Olten, Kunstmuseum); important retrospectives in Lugano (1988 and 2014), Locarno (1993) and Milan (1995). Among his personal exhibitions are also those at the Center Culturel Suisse in Paris in 1987 and again at the Kunstmuseum in Olten in 2000. Participation in international collective exhibitions since 1958. Since 1996, for five years, he has been a member of the Federal Commission of Fine Arts.

In the climate of Brera, in the second half of the 1950s, the young Paolucci looks to the Syrian tradition. He starts his artistic research with the figurative paintings of 1956. In Paris in 1960–61 he assimilates the Tachist lesson; the archaic figures of the beginnings fall apart in the dense mixtures of the pictorial surfaces. An abstract naturalism, which refers to the works of the second Ecole de Paris (Nicolas De Staël), knows a subsequent simplification in the paintings made around 1964 inspired by the trip to Morocco. Towards the end of the decade, abstract compositions give way to works of neo-Dadaist and vaguely pop ancestry. The casts of polyester garments (1969-1970) mediate towards a new field of investigation: the object. The provocative petticoats are followed by Hearts (carved in leather and granite) and Needles (wood and different materials). The shift towards greater conceptuality translates the comparison with the ferments of the time: 1968, critical-cultural aggression, the thematization of the artist-society relationship. But it is above all the context of Arte Povera, with artists such as Mario Merz and Giuseppe Penone, that leaves more lasting traces in the development of the Paoluccian work.

The Grafts of 1974 mark the turning point: the symbiosis of artificially coupled branches introduces the distinctive themes of mature production, developed in objects-environments, paintings-objects and cards. Starting from 1976, the same manual procedure has initialed all the works: the partial coating with an epidermis consisting of layers of paper fragments mixed with glue, carbon black or cobalt blue. In the combinations of woods, objects and drawings from the 1980s, a recurring verticality (vegetal, phallic, ideal) stands out. The wing, the boat, the banner, the stick, the circle are among the allegorical signs of the alphabet used to tell fragments of an inner discourse built with the slag of interrupted dreams, splinters of memory and personal mythologies.

In the 90s, Paolucci's production was characterized by an unprecedented purism of volumes and an accentuated formalism. The "thought-objects" - which have become less humble and more Brancusian - mark the apex of the artist's attention to the aesthetic arrangement of his compositions, understood as an ordering moment with respect to chaos.

Works: Bellinzona, Villa dei Cedri Civic Museum; Bern, Swiss Mobiliar; Chur, Bündner Kunstmuseum; Locarno, Arp Collection; Lausanne, Musée cantonal des beaux-arts; Lugano, Cantonal Art Museum; Olten, Aare-Tessin AG; Olten, Kunstmuseum; Vevey, Musée Jenisch; Vevey, Nestlé SA Solothurn, Bezirksschulhaus Schützenmatt; Zug, Rigiplatz.