Fondazione Prada explores Pino Pascali’s artistic world in a significant exhibition

Between March 28 and September 23, 2024, the Fondazione Prada in Milan will present a comprehensive retrospective celebrating the work of Italian artist Pino Pascali. The exhibition, curated by Mark Godfrey, is organized into four thematic sections distributed throughout the venue’s three buildings: the Podium, and the Nord and Sud galleries. The exhibition design, created by 2×4, showcases a collection of 49 pieces by Pino Pascali, in addition to works by notable post-war artists, photographs of Pascali alongside his creations, and a video feature.

Pascali was born in 1935 in Bari, Italy, and in 1955, he relocated to Rome to pursue his studies in painting and set design at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma. His career included roles as an assistant scenic designer for numerous television productions by the Italian broadcaster Rai, as well as collaborations with film and advertising industries as a set and graphic designer. In 1965, Pascali showcased his work in a solo exhibition at Galleria La Tartaruga in Rome. His life was cut short in 1968 due to a motorcycle accident, the same year he had a solo presentation at the Venice Art Biennale. Despite his brief career, Pascali’s contributions to the art world were profound. The exhibition at Fondazione Prada seeks to highlight the lasting significance of Pascali’s work, especially his sculptures, which have influenced many artists and critics over the past fifty years and continue to draw international interest.

Pascali’s work delved into the interplay between sculpture and stage props, and the distinction between sculptures and functional objects. From afar, his pieces appeared to be readymades, but upon closer inspection, they were revealed to be crafted from found materials. Pascali contemplated the concept of ‘fake’ or ‘feigned’ sculptures, naming his pieces as though they were solid entities, playfully acknowledging their actual hollow nature to his audience. He incorporated natural elements such as earth and water, along with construction materials like Eternit fiber cement panels, organizing his representations of seas and fields into standardized units. Pascali also introduced new consumer products and synthetic materials into his studio, creating representations of animals, traps, and bridges.

Mark Godfrey, in his essay for the exhibition catalog, highlights the complexity and innovation in Pascali’s approach to sculpture. He points out that Pascali’s significance extends beyond his artistic creations; Pascali was noteworthy for his approach to exhibition-making, recognizing the importance for postwar artists to devote significant effort to the presentation of their work, in addition to their studio practices.