De Buck Gallery Remembers Turi Simeti

David De Buck with Turi Simeti at De Buck Gallery, 2014

I don’t believe in inspiration, I believe in work. I think I want to do things in a certain way and I try to do them. I don’t know inspiration, it is an old word that suits poets but not artists. Artists think, decide, and work. I see beautiful things and I try to work on them, inspiration does not suit me.

–Turi Simeti, 2014. Via artnet

With humbleness, De Buck Gallery acknowledges the death of Italian artist Turi Simeti (1929 – 2021).

“It has been a true pleasure and honor working with Turi Simeti over the last few years,” said David De Buck. “I believe he is one of the most significant artists from the international Zero art movement, with his work often undervalued in relation to his contribution. Turi Simeti pushed the boundaries and created his own unique visual language, often characterized by his iconic oval shape. He will be dearly missed by the international art community.”

An icon of the Zero movement, Turi Simeti’s practice, alongside that of his contemporaries, Lucio Fontana and Enrico Castelli, represent a cornerstone of Twentieth Century minimalist art. Best-known for his recurrent use of the oval to shape the surface of monochromatic canvases, Turi Simeti has dedicated his half-century long career to exploring variations of graceful arrangements of these geometric forms within solid fields of bold color.

Simeti’s work embodies the desire of Zero artists worldwide to create a simple, “silent” kind of art in the years following the tumult of World War II. Simeti’s own desire to capture a sense of movement through his use of oval protrusions gave his work an almost sculptural quality by creating a unique play of light and form that powerfully transforms each canvas.

Turi Simeti was born in Alcamo, Sicily in 1929. After moving to Rome, Simeti became active as an artist in 1962 when he was acquainted with Alberto Burri. In 1965, Simeti’s work was included in an exhibition of Zero artists held in the studio of Lucio Fontana, solidifying the artist 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 Modern Art Museum, Rio de Janeiro (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), Museion, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Bolzano (Bolzano, Italy), and the Wilhelm-Hack-Museum (Ludwigshafen, Germany). He has also been featured in major museum exhibitions at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York, USA) and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection (Venice, Italy) in an exhibition highlighting the global Zero movement, drawing attention to the critical historical importance of Simeti and his fellow artists.

De Buck Gallery has organized several exhibitions of his work. In 2014, the gallery gave Simeti his first solo exhibition in New York City. The exhibition, entitled The Primary Form of Painting, included black and white works dating from the 1980s to 2014. It was accompanied by a comprehensive catalogue with an essay by Italian curator Elena Forin. You can read that essay HERE. Simeti’s work was also included in “A New Visual Dialogue,” a group show at De Buck Gallery that same year, which brought together works by Italian masters from the 1950s to present including Alberto Biasi, Dadamaino, Lucio Fontana, Giorgio Griffa, Pino Pinelli, and Nanda Vigo.

More recently, De Buck presented an online viewing room of a selection of Simeti’s work from 2008 – 2020. In honor of Simeti’s life, practice and longstanding relationship with De Buck Gallery, we have reopened his online viewing room, showcasing a selection of his works from 2008 – 2020. Please click HERE to view this presentation.

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