Paolo Icaro “Unending Incipit” at Pinacoteca Comunale, Città di Castello

C’era una volta, 2017, a view of the exhibition Paolo Icaro. Unending Incipit
ph. Michele Sereni, Pelicula snc


On view until January 28th, Paolo Icaro. Unending Incipit is an exhibition curated by Davide Ferri and Saverio Verini at the Pinacoteca Comunale of Città di Castello, produced by Magonza publishing, in collaboration with the City of Città di Castello and the Association Palazzo Vitelli a Sant’Egidio, as the second appointment of the Progetto Extramuros. The exhibition unfolds in the historical spaces of the Palazzo Vitelli alla Cannoniera, the rooms, the loggia, and the Italian garden of the prestigious Pinacoteca, where a large site-specific installation is placed.

Unending Incipit is an occasion to reflect on the work of Paolo Icaro (Turin, 1936), whose language, shaped between the 1960s and 1970s, Italy and the US (where Icaro lived for more than a decade), and influenced by the American neo-avant-garde experiences, represents an important contribution to the renewal of contemporary sculpture. The work of Icaro has spanned movements and seasons that were crucial for Italian and international art, starting from Arte Povera—he took part in the first exhibits of this movement though never identifying completely with it. Later on the artist shaped an autonomous and original identity that placed him at the centre of critical attention as early as the 1960s, and that today makes him one of the most important Italian artists active in the international scene.

Unending Incipit unfolds from some emblematic aspects of Icaro’s poetics: the idea that sculpture makes/constructs space instead of occupying it and, also, reinvents time; the idea, in other words, that by accepting its condition as that of becoming matter, it is the place in which the past is renewed in an endless present continuous; the autobiographical and vaguely narrative dimension that some works allude to; the written word as a recurrent element in many of Icaro’s works – intended as a sculptural gesture, a trace of a minimal manual quality able to express the body of the sculpture beyond its materiality – ; the vertical tension combined with the desire for a propagation beyond the physical limitations of the work, as if the measure of a human limitation and infinity were able to come together in the object.

These are the suggestions that motivate the choice of the works on display and the layout, which is conceived—one work per room—as a dialogue and an exchange of energy between different moments of Paolo Icaro’s production, between the different materials used by the artist (such as gypsum, wood, glass, steel, etc.) and between an “inside” and an “outside”, interior and exterior.

Thus the sculptures and works placed in the interiors of the Pinacoteca are echoed by the site-specific work located in the gardens of the museum, titled C’era una volta [Once upon a time], the opening of all stories that the artist has ideally written on a series of large wooden boards, obtained from two oak trunks, installed vertically, resembling pages of a book scattered in space.

The exhibition is accompanied by an elegant catalogue published in a limited edition by Magonza, with critical contributions by Davide Ferri and Saverio Verini, and a rich series of illustrations of the works on display, photographed in situ by Michele Sereni.

Per il volo di una farfalla, 2011, and Racconto, 2000
Paolo Icaro. Unending Incipit exhibition view, ph. Michele Sereni, Pelicula snc


Linea di equilibrio, di linea, 2013, and Racconto, 1969
Paolo Icaro. Unending Incipit exhibition view, ph. Michele Sereni, Pelicula snc


Racconto del gesso, 2008, and Racconto, 1974
Paolo Icaro. Unending Incipit exhibition view, ph. Michele Sereni, Pelicula snc


C’era una volta, 2017, environmental installation
Paolo Icaro. Unending Incipit exhibition view, ph. Michele Sereni, Pelicula snc


Paolo Icaro
Unending Incipit
10 December 2017–28 January 2018

PINACOTECA COMUNALE | Via Cannoniera 22A, Città di Castello
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