Nunzio (Cagnano Amiterno, L’Aquila, 1954)
Since the 1980s, Nunzio has been one of the exponents of a new generation of sculptors; he made his name working with and on matter, preferring to use plaster, wood and lead.
Following his studies at the Accademia di Belle Arti of Rome, where he took his degree in set design with Toti Scialoja, he held his first personal show in Bolzano, presenting his first plaster sculptures coloured by dipping in tempera. In 1984, art critic Achille Bonito Oliva invited Nunzio to the Ateliers exhibition held in Rome at the former Cereres pasta factory premises, associating the artist with the Officina San Lorenzo group, a heterogeneous assemblage of artists interested in recovering the manual skills of the past and reluctant to accept distinctions between figuration and abstractism.
In the second half of the decade, Nunzio began working with wood and lead. The artist took an interest in these materials due to their capacities for accepting transformation; he manipulated his materials to test their expressive and formal potentials in relation to space and light. On his wooden sculptures, he intervened with a blowtorch to give the surfaces an intense black colouration; on his metal works, with rust.
Nunzio demonstrates a penchant for minimal, at times totemic, forms. The extreme synthesis of the nude material recalls a sort of classical suspension that is confirmed by certain references to the past. ‘Everything,’ Nunzio has said, ‘is filtered by the history of art, by the artists: perhaps there is also a glance toward a certain type of primordiality, but through a passageway with a view that can touch on Picasso, Brancusi, before arriving at primitive art. It is, in any case, never by a direct path.’