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Giuliano Vangi (Barberino del Mugello 1931)

Giuliano Vangi was born in Barberino del Mugello (Florence) in 1931. From his first years, as he himself recounts, he was passionate about sculpture. “I remember,” he said, “that I instinctively scratched bricks and in the following years I began to observe matter with great attention (…) I started from the experience of the Greek sculptors, then developing my knowledge of later sculptors”. In the 1960s Vangi passed many hours in the Archeological Museum in Florence and remained transfixed before the sculptures of the Egyptians and the Etruscans. Later there emerged “the centrality of an Italian line, that of Wildt, Martini and Marino, with his clear and congenial historical precedents from the Etruscan to Arnolfo and Donatello, but then the Spanish 17th century and Rodin, Barlach and Moore, and Giacometti”, wrote Maurizio Calvesi in 1991. In the 1950s the artist lived in Pesaro where he taught at the Istituto dell’Arte, “at that time I didn’t need to show my work because I only wanted to perfect my personal style and find my own world”. Between 1959 and 1962 he lived in Brazil, attracted by the new large-scale Avant-Garde architecture and its language tending to Abstractionism with sculptures in iron and steel. But his basic interest was in the variety of materials and the great freedom that the use of these different materials offered him. He was looking for inspiration from archaic Brazilian sculpture, re-mixing materials that were hot and cold, rough and smooth, classical and anti-classical moving on to a kind of modelling with no sudden rejects or fractures “in his variations from the smooth to the sticky, the streaked, the turgid and the dry, the soft and the sharp, from overwhelming brilliance to the rough dotted or carved surfaces”, as Maurizio Calvesi indeed observed. His most recent production was a reflection on man, an idea of the modern human condition interpreted in terms of solitude, anxiety and pain. Today the artist enjoys wide international acclaim; he is very well-known and celebrated in Japan where a museum has been dedicated to him in the town of Mishima, following the award of the Tokyo Praemium Imperiale in 2002.

Augusta Monferini