Born in Genoa of Sicilian parents, at the age of one he moved with them to Palermo, where the fascist regime forced them to return, due to his father’s trade union activity. The arrival in Rome in 1945, where he attended Guttuso’s studio, was fundamental in his career, and already in 1947 he entered the heart of the artistic debate by participating (together with Accardi, Consagra, Dorazio, Guerrini, Perilli, Sanfilippo and Turcato ) to the foundation of “Forma 1”, the first Italian abstract group of the second post-war period. Shortly thereafter, however, he felt a renewed impulse towards figuration, albeit visionary and problematic, and definitively moved away from abstract experience, without however forgetting some of its formal achievements: he gave life to a personal “classic-expressionist” poetic, based on a dramatic co-presence of opposites: “classical” beauty and deformity, tenderness and violence, physicality and oneirism.
Since the 1950s he has participated several times in the Venice Biennale and the Rome Quadriennale, and holds large solo exhibitions in the most important Italian exhibition spaces. In 1961 he joined the group “Il Pro e il Contro”, alongside Calabria, Farulli, Gianquinto, Guccione and Vespignani.
He wrote the novel The wild heir , published in 1970, and for which he obtained the Viareggio Prize for fiction in 1971.
In 1967 he started a fervent activity as a sculptor and after L ‘Addio Che Guevara of 1968, some wooden groups were born including L’Arrivo di Pizarro of 1969-71, and bronzes marked by strong sensuality.
His monumental sculptures are located in the main European and world capitals. Among them The Vessel of the Revolution (1988), in Rome, at the Palazzo dello Sport; In the Americas , 1992, in Buenos Aires; the famous Ulysses , from 1996, in New York; Enea (2004), at the port of Valletta (Malta). The great Christ of 2002 became part of the collections of the Vatican Museums.
In 2006 the artist received the title of Grand Officer of the Republic from the President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, for his artistic merits and for having known how to spread and enhance the Italian genius and creativity all over the world. He died in Rome on July 21 of the same year.