Turi Simeti

A valuable member of the Italian branch of Zero, a movement that spread across the globe in the 1950s and 1960s, Simeti’s work embodies the desire of these artists to capture a peaceful quality through monochromatic abstraction during the aftermath of World War II. In Italy alone, Simeti’s peers in the movement include artists like Lucio Fontana, Piero Manzoni and Enrico Castellani; abroad they include such figures as Yves Klein, Heinz Mack and Gunther Uecker. After working with Alberto Burri in Rome, Simeti embarked upon a successful career as an artist in 1962, developing the ovale motif that would be a keystone of his work for decades to come.  Still actively creating today, Simeti is considered a true pioneer, a “maestro,” of 20th and 21st Century Italian art. Minimalist in conception, for the last 50 years, Simeti’s work has comprised of dynamic patterns of ovals that dance across the monochromatic surfaces of shaped canvases. The works explore an outstanding dynamism and graceful movement through the use of protruding forms. This focused combination of color and shape speaks to Simeti’s concern with emphasizing the physical presence of the artwork itself, rather than an expression of the artist’s voice. Just as Fontana helped to found Spazialismo with his punctured canvases, for decades Simeti has broken through key tenants of minimalism to explore the play of light on shapes created on monochromatic and tactile canvas surfaces. Simeti’s works exist not as single entities but as an active experience of color and shape, and ultimately capture the dynamism that exists between these two aesthetic elements.Turi Simeti was born in Alcamo, Sicily in 1929. After moving to Rome, Simeti became active as an artist in 1962 after becoming acquainted with Alberto Burri. In 1965, Simeti’s work was included in an exhibition of Zero artists held in Fontana’s studio, solidifying him as a valuable member of the group. Since then, his work has been exhibited in galleries and museums worldwide, and is included in prominent collections such as the MAM (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), the Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bolzano (Bolzano, Italy), and the Wilhelm-Hack-Museum (Ludwigshafen, Germany).  His 2014 exhibition at De Buck Gallery, The Primary Form of Painting, re-introduced Simeti’s work to a New York audience for the first time since the 1960s. Turi Simeti currently lives and works in Milan.

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Turi Simeti
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