Overview
Eduardo Secci and the Estate of Gio' Pomodoro are pleased to announce their collaboration to promote the Master's work. The dialogue between the gallery and the archive is focused on reviving the presence of the artist among the Italian and international scene through the knowledge, dissemination and protection of the whole body of work. 

 

 

GIO’ POMODORO (1930-2002)

Gio’ Pomodoro was born on 17 November 1930 in Orciano di Pesaro, in the countryside of the Marche near Urbino.
In 1945 his family moved to Pesaro, where Gio’ attended the Technical Institute for Surveyors, earning his diploma in 1951. From 1952 to 1953 he performed his military service in Siena, Bologna, and Florence. In this last city he visited the museums daily and frequented the artistic milieu revolving around Galleria Numero, where he also exhibited his first “informel“ experimentations.

 

After the death of his father, Gio’ settled in Milan with his mother, his sister, and his brother, Arnaldo. The artistic and cultural scene in Milan which he frequented at the time was particularly active. After holding exhibitions with his brother at Galleria del Naviglio in Milan and Galleria Il Cavallino in Venice, which were directed by the brothers Carlo and Renato Cardazzo, Gio’ was invited to the 1956 Venice Biennale, where he exhibited a series of silver works cast over cuttlefish bones that he had dedicated to the poet Ezra Pound and begun creating in 1954.
The following year he collaborated actively with the journal “Il Gesto” and participated in the exhibition Arte Nucleare at Galleria San Fedele in Milan. Along with Dorazio, Novelli, Turcato, Tancredi, Perilli, Fontana, and his brother, Arnaldo, he would go on to organise the exhibitions of the Continuità group which were presented by Guido Ballo, Giulio Carlo Argan, and Franco Russoli.


In 1958 a solo exhibition of his work was held at Galleria del Naviglio and presented by the architect Gio Ponti. The same year, he married Gigliola Gagnoni.


Upon the death of his mother, he moved to his studio in Via Orti 19, which he would share with his brother until 1964. He thus distanced himself from the group that had formed around the journal “Il Gesto” due to theoretical differences and a change in the direction of his work. Having exhausted his explorations of the automatic sign/mark, Gio’ delved into the problem of the rational organisation of marks and “making marks“ in the reverse with a series of reliefs which he would call Fluidità contrapposta (Contrasting Fluidity). One of these was exhibited at Documenta II in Kassel in 1959.


In the second half of 1958, Gio’ designed and created his first surfaces under tension, which he presented at Galerie Internationale d’Art Contemporain in Paris in 1959. At the first Biennale of Young Artists held in that same city in 1959, he exhibited a bronze tension and won the first prize for sculpture along with Anthony Caro. In 1961 he held another major solo exhibition at Galerie Internationale. Towards the end of that year, his son Bruto was born.


In 1962 Gio’ exhibited at Galleria Blu in Milan and at the Musée de l’Athénée in Geneva, and was invited to the 31st Venice Biennale with a solo room and a presentation in the catalogue by Guido Ballo. That same year he signed an exclusivity agreement with the Marlborough Gallery, which he would terminate in 1967.


In 1963 he exhibited at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels with a critical presentation by Giulio Carlo Argan.


In 1964 the Tate Gallery of London purchased the work One (1960), while at Documenta III in Kassel Gio’ exhibited a series of surfaces under tension. He also created two large works in the Folle (Mad) series, one of which would be purchased by the Gallery of Modern Art in Rome, and the other, the white marble Grande Ghibellina (Great Ghibelline Lady), went to the collection of Nelson Rockefeller. In 1965 he began the Radiali (Radials) and his first explorations of supporting structures, exhibiting at the Louisiana Museum in Copenhagen and at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in La Chaux-de-Fonds. He worked on the Quadrati (Squared) series until 1966, using strictly the size of two metres by two; these works were exhibited for the first time at the Kunst - und Museumsverein in Wuppertal. After two trips to the United States, where he stayed for a few months, Gio’ created Black Liberator (1966-67), a work dedicated to African-Americans. In 1967 he exhibited at the Marlborough Gallery in New York. That same year he signed an exclusivity agreement with the Martha Jackson Gallery in New York, where in 1971 he would exhibit his new works - from the Contatti (Contacts) to the Sole di Cerveteri, per Gastone Novelli (Sun of Cerveteri, for Gastone Novelli) - resulting from his in-depth investigation of the supporting structure and the field under tension. In 1968 he began working with Beatrice Monti and Galleria dell’Ariete in Milan, where he exhibited on several occasions. From 1970 on, Pomodoro created large-scale works in stone, marble, and bronze from his studio in Querceta, Versilia, at the foot of the Apuan Alps. In 1972 he began two new series: the Archi (Arches) and the Sole Produttore - Comune Raccolto (Producing Sun - Shared Harvest). In 1974 he exhibited stone works at Galleria del Naviglio in Milan with a critical presentation by Guido Ballo; that summer, his first retrospective was held at the Loggetta Lombardesca in Ravenna, featuring works from as early as 1958. Two years later, it would be followed by two more major solo exhibitions at the Castello dell’Imperatore in Prato city centre and at the Musée d’Ixelles in Brussels, which was presented by Jean Coquelet.

 

In 1976 Gio’ exhibited a series of Soli (Suns) at Galleria Stendhal in Milan with a review by Paolo Fossati.
In 1977 he collaborated with the residents of Ales, Sardinia, to create Piano d’uso collettivo (Collective Plane of Use), a large public work dedicated to Antonio Gramsci; he would exhibit its design materials and photographic documentation at Ca’ Pesaro in Venice. That same year, he created the monumental work La Porta e il Sole (The Door and the Sun) for a private collector.


In 1978 Gio’ designed the set for the opera La Forza del Destino by Verdi, performed at the Verona Arena that summer.       That same year he was invited to exhibit at the Venice Biennale with a solo room.

In 1979 he began designing the monumental work Teatro del Sole - 21 Giugno, Solstizio d’Estate (Theatre of the Sun - 21 June, Summer Solstice), a square/fountain dedicated to Goethe which had been commissioned by the city of Frankfurt (the work would be completed and unveiled in May of 1983).

 

From 1974 to 1980 Gio’ Pomodoro participated in a number of group shows both in Italy and abroad. In 1980, Gio’ exhibited one of his most significant works: Luogo di Misure (Place of Measurements) in Piazza dei Signori, Verona. The same year, after having designed the set for Mozart’s Magic Flute, held at at the Teatro La Fenice in Venice, he created the architectural group Ponte dei Martiri - Omaggio alla Resistenza (Bridge of Martyrs - Homage to the Resistance), in the square of the same name in Ravenna.

In 1981, Galleria Farsetti of Focette (Pietrasanta) devoted a solo exhibition to him that was presented by Carlo Ludovico Ragghianti.
In 1982 he began two more major works: the collective use sculpture Spirale ’82 (Spiral ’82) for Società Aeroportuale S.E.A., located opposite Malpensa airport in Milan, and Sole-Luna-Albero (Sun-Moon-Tree), a monumental group for Piazza Ramazzotti in Monza, completed in 1986. That same year, he took part in the exhibition Arte Italiana 1960-1982 at the Hayward Gallery in London.
In 1983, after moving to his new studio in Via San Marco 50 in Milan, Pomodoro exhibited with Dorazio and Nigro at Studio d’Arte Contemporanea Dabbeni in Lugano and then with Tilson and Ipoustéguy in Volterra as part of the exhibition Le materie dell’opera (The Materials of the Work), presented by Antonio Del Guercio.
In 1984 he was again invited to the 41st Venice Biennale with a solo room, and he participated in the exhibition The Language of Geometry at the Kunstmuseum Bern. The same year a large retrospective with works from 1954 to 1984 was organised by the city of Pisa in Palazzo Lanfranchi, followed by an exhibition on the mythological theme of Hermes at Galleria Stendhal in Milan.
In 1985 Studio d’Arte Contemporanea Dabbeni in Lugano held a solo exhibition of his work; at the same time, the city of Lugano publicly presented his series of sculptures devoted to Hermes for the first time - in their entirety - in its Palazzo Civico. The exhibition was a tribute to Gio’ Pomodoro by Károly Kerényi, the illustrious scholar of Greek myth and religion, who had lived for a long time in Ascona. Also in Lugano, his monumental sculpture Montefeltro - i passi e il volgersi (Montefeltro - Steps and Turns) was permanently installed at Villa La Favorita.
In June of 1986 Gio’ was invited to exhibit his works in Veksø at the exhibition Veksølund- Kopenaghen, presented by Jetta Sorensen.
In 1987 his exhibition on the theme of Soli (Suns) was held at the at the old Oratory of the Passion in the basilica of Sant’Ambrogio, Milan, in cooperation with the City of Milan, with a presentation by Luciano Caramel. That autumn, he opened a solo exhibition at Galleria l’Isola in Rome with a review by Giovanni Carandente. In December of the same year a retrospective of his work presented by Tommaso Trini was held in Palazzo dei Leoni, Messina.
In 1989 the City of Milan dedicated another major retrospective to him titled La scultura e il suo disegno, presented by Guido Ballo and held in the Rotonda della Besana. That summer, the large bronze sculpture Sole Aerospazio (Sun Aerospace) was unveiled in Piazza Adriano, Turin. It had been donated to the city by the Società Aeritalia for the twentieth anniversary of its founding and was presented in the catalogue with a review by Paolo Fossati.
In 1990 the exhibition Luoghi scolpiti fra Realtà e Utopia, curated by Caterina Zappia, was held in Villa Renatico Martini in Monsummano Terme.
In 1991 the Foundation Veranneman dedicated a major solo exhibition to Gio’ in Belgium; that summer, the monumental group Luogo dei Quattro Punti Cardinali (Place of the Four Cardinal

Points) was unveiled; located in the public gardens in Taino opposite Lake Maggiore and Monte Rosa, the work was reviewed by Dario Micacchi.
In 1992 the Archaeological Museum of Milan with the cooperation of Johnson, the medal-making company, held a solo exhibition of medals which Gio’ had made starting in 1979; additionally, the funerary monument that he had dedicated to the tenor Mario Del Monaco was installed in Pesaro. That same year, Gio’ exhibited at the Galleria Ugolini in Rome and at the 18th Triennale di Milano; lastly, in November, the monumental stele Spirale per Galileo Galilei (Spiral for Galileo Galilei) was unveiled; made of bronze and granite, the work was set in the city centre of Padua, opposite the University. The sculpture was the result of a lengthy collaboration between Pomodoro and the university where Galileo held a teaching post from 1592 to 1610 and laid the foundations for the birth of modern science.

In 1993 the Genia Schreiber University Art Gallery in Tel Aviv hosted works by Gio’ in a major solo exhibition titled Gio’ Pomodoro - Sculptures & Drawings curated by Mordechai Omer. At the same time, he unveiled the work Solar Stairs - Homage to Kepler, which was purchased by a private donor and installed opposite the main entrance to the University of Tel Aviv.

In March of 1994 the marble model of the sculpture Sole Aerospazio (Sun Aerospace) was installed at the entrance to Turin’s Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea; Pomodoro donated the work to the Gallery. In concurrence with this event, the themed exhibition Tensioni 1958-1993 (Tensions, 1958-1993) opened at Galleria Berman in Turin and was presented by Angelo Dragone.

The same year, Pomodoro participated in the exhibition The Italian Metamorphosis, 1943-1968, held at the Guggenheim Museum of New York, and in the autumn he exhibited a selection of his works in the antique shops of Milan’s historic Sant’Ambrogio neighbourhood, an event presented by Alberto Fiz.

In 1995 Gio’ was invited to sit on the board of the International Sculpture Center (ISC) in
Washington, D.C.
After holding a solo exhibition presented by Giovanni Maria Accame in May at Galleria Spazia in
Bologna, in the autumn of 1995 Gio’ Pomodoro was invited by the director of the Yorkshire
Sculpture Park, Peter Murray, to exhibit his works in that prestigious British exhibition park near
Wakefield and later at the Accademia Italiana in London.
At the same time, the City of Venice collaborated with the Venice Biennale and the company Uno A
Erre S.p.A. in Arezzo to organise a major retrospective exhibition titled Ornamenti (Ornaments) in
the exhibition spaces of the Fondazione Querini Stampalia so as to document the sculptor’s
extensive work in gold starting in 1954. During the following year, the exhibition would travel with
Uno A Erre and the company Cesari & Rinaldi to Arezzo, Tokyo, and New York.
In 1996, a large retrospective was held in the Sala d’Arme at Palazzo Vecchio in Florence. Along
with other bronze and marble works, the exhibition featured a large number of paintings on
handmade paper of considerable size on a theme dear to Pomodoro: the sun. The same space
also displayed the design and scale model for the monumental work Sole per Galileo Galilei (Sun
for Galileo Galilei).
During that summer, Pomodoro created a series of large granite and iron works in the San Piero
quarry on the island of Elba; conceived using the ancient dry-stone technique, they were dedicated
primarily to the island’s traditional activities.
In September of 1997, the large sculpture Sole per Galileo Galilei was unveiled in Piazza Poggi on
Lungarno Serristori: the work, made of bronze and pietra serena, is approximately nine metres tall
and was donated by Gio’ Pomodoro and Franca and Tullio Berrini to the city of Florence.
In the spring of 1998, works by Gio’ Pomodoro were exhibited in Padua’s Palazzo del Monte di
Pietà, the headquarters of the Cassa di Risparmio di Padova e Rovigo bank, which sponsored the
prestigious event. With sculptures and drawings by the master as well as photographs by Lorenzo
Cappellini, the exhibition documented over forty years of investigation in sculpture and painting.
On the occasion, a large marble, Sole Caduto - a Galileo (Fallen Sun - For Galileo), was

displayed in Piazza del Duomo. That July, the Regional Authority of Valle d’Aosta and the St. Benin exhibition centre held Gio’ Pomodoro: pietre e marmi 1965-1997, presented by Antonio Del Guercio. In addition to the sculptures and large-scale paintings displayed in the Museum, the city of Aosta also hosted three monumental works by the sculptor in three open-air spaces.

During the autumn of 1998 the exhibition Gio’ Pomodoro - sculture e carte 1958/1998 opened in Galleria Fumagalli in Bergamo, a gallery with which he began actively collaborating; at the same time, the Egyptian Ministry of Culture invited Pomodoro as a guest of honour to the 7th International Cairo Biennial, where large paintings and sculptures of his were arranged in a solo room. In November, Gio’s work featured in the exhibition Studi per grandi opere 1954-1994 at the Galleria Berman in Turin.

In 1999, as part of the Arte Fiera in Bologna, large bronze sculptures were presented in a pavilion that Galleria Fumagalli dedicated to Pomodoro; that spring the Foundation Veranneman again hosted a large exhibition of works by Gio’, where a selection of jewellery made by the sculptor was on display alongside large works on paper and sculptures. At the end of the exhibition, the Foundation Veranneman purchased the large Sole caduto - a Galileo in white Carrara marble for its sculpture park. In November he was invited as a Master Artist to hold a workshop at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in Smyrna Beach, Florida.

In April of 2000 Gio’ Pomodoro was awarded the Guglielmo Marconi International Prize for Sculpture; in May the Town of Laives and the Autonomous Province of Bolzano organised an exhibition of his works titled Sul sole e sul vuoto, curated by Pier Luigi Siena, with a review by Marisa Vescovo. They also purchased the large bronze Solar Stairs - Homage to Kepler currently installed opposite the school in Laives.

In June, he was invited by the Chancellor of the University of Urbino, Professor Carlo Bo, to the chancellor’s assembly hall for the presentation of a book edited by Giovanni Maria Accame, Gio’ Pomodoro: opere disegnate 1953-2000.
That July, a large exhibition of sculptures and drawings, Tensioni e Soli, was hosted in the Museo San Pietro in Colle di Val d’Elsa.

In December of 2000 Gio’ participated in the prestigious exhibition Novecento: Arte e Storia in Italia, curated by Maurizio Calvesi and Paul Ginsborg and organised by the City of Rome.
In February of 2001 the Italian Cultural Institute in Cologne dedicated a solo exhibition to Gio’ Pomodoro’s paintings. In October, on the occasion of the G8 summit and as part of the exhibition Artisti Italiani del XX secolo: dalla Farnesina alla Stazione Marittima, the monumental sculpture Sole - agli Italiani nel mondo (Sun - For the Italians in the World) was unveiled; it was donated to the city of Genoa and to its port by the company Grandi Navi Veloci. This was the last monumental work that the artist managed to see installed.

In April of 2002, the International Sculpture Center granted Gio’ the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award in Contemporary Sculpture: he was the first Italian artist to receive the award. To mark the occasion, Milan’s Galleria Giorgio Marconi dedicated a tribute to Gio’, arranging a solo exhibition of sculptures and large-scale watercolours. Lastly, in July, Gio’ took part in the fifth In Chartis Mevaniae exhibition organised by the Towns of Bevagna and Spoleto and curated by Giovanni Carandente.
Gio’ Pomodoro passed away in his studio in Milan on 21 December 2002.
In the years that followed, a number of public works which the sculptor had designed for the community were unveiled: on 1 March 2003, the large Vela (Sail) in memory of Carlo Bo was installed on the promenade of the historic centre of Sestri Levante; in June of 2004, Sole deposto (Deposed Sun) and the square dedicated to the artist, which he had designed in 1986, were presented in Orciano di Pesaro, his birthplace; and lastly, on 1 May 2005, the monumental sculpture Frammento di Vuoto (Fragment of the Void) was unveiled in the refurbished Piazza Roma in Carbonia

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