Project Description

Tano Festa

Rome, 1938 - 1988



He was born in Rome on November 2, 1938. In 1957 he graduated from the Art Institute in the section of artistic photography. In 1959 he exhibited for the first time, with Franco Angeli and Giuseppe Uncini, at the La Salita Gallery in Rome where, in 1961, he also held his first solo show. His initial pictorial production moves within the monochrome geometric representation, in paper on canvas, which takes on ever greater expressive force: in fact Festa is interested in reworking objects, extrapolated from their everyday life, and therefore perceived in their essence: shutters, doors, windows, wardrobes and mirrors that no longer perform their function as objects but, as paintings, are painting. In 1963 Plinio De Martiis’s La Tartaruga Gallery moved to Piazza del Popolo and organized the exhibition 13 artists in Rome : those same artists who gave life to the so-called “Scuola di piazza del Popolo”. As a “popular” artist (as he defined his activity in those years), Festa now directs his research towards the analysis of the Italian artistic tradition of the Renaissance, quoting Michelangelo. In fact, in the mid-1960s he worked on large panels where, following the photographic technique, excerpts from the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel and the Medici Tombs appear, made with enamel painting on emulsified canvas. In 1966 he was invited to an important exhibition in Milan, dedicated to the fiftieth anniversary of Dadaism. Here he meets artists such as Arp and Man Ray. He transforms his painted objects into object painting, and continues to work on photography. During the 1970s it was almost forgotten by critics and gallery owners, although it was always present in important artistic events. In the 1980s, after a long period of isolation, he managed to find new creative impulses. He creates the Confetti series, huge canvases where colorful paper fragments are thrown onto rich layers of pictorial material. It also rediscovers a new figuration, expressed in the hard and sharp sign and gesture. In recent years, his work has been linked to expressionism, reinterpreted and adapted to his personality, by artists such as Münch, Ensor, Matisse, Bacon. Critics, attracted by this renewed creativity, are once again interested in his work. In 1980 he was in fact invited to the XL Biennale di Venezia, and in 1982 he was present at the Contemporary Italian artists 1950-1983 exhibition in the same city. There are several personal exhibitions that are set up in recent years. After a long illness, Tano Festa died in Rome on January 9, 1988.