Ugo Nespolo


Picture Ugo Nespolo

Born at Mosso Santa Maria (Biella), graduated from the Turin Accademia Albertina di Belle Arti and got an Arts Degree from the Turin University. His start in the Italian artistic panorama dates back to the Sixties, to Pop Art, to the future conceptuals and "poveristi" (exhibitions at "Il Punto" Gallery, Turin and Schwarz Gallery, Milan).
His production - never bound to a stream in an exclusive way - is characterised at once by an accentuated ironical and transgressive vein, a personal sense of fun that will always represent a sort of trade-make.
In the Seventies Nespolo takes over a new means of expression: the cinema, and in particular the artist's experimental cinema. The actors are artists like Lucio Fontana, Enrico Baj, Michelangelo Pistoletto. Significant shows of his films have been promoted by international cultural institutions like the Centre George Pompidou in Paris, the Philadelphia Museum of Modern Art, the Warsaw Philmoteka Polska, the Ferrara Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna.
The Seventies represent a fundamental passage for Nespolo: he wins the Bolaffi Award (1974), he realises "Il Museo" (1975-76) a painting ten meter long that marks the start of a never exhausted vein of review-analysis - re-invention of other artists' work. This painting is exhibited for the first time (1976) at the Leghorn Museo Progressivo d'Arte Contemporanea.
Still in the Seventies Nespolo begins to experiment unusual techniques (embroideries, inlaying) and materials (alabaster, ebony, mother-of-pearl, ivory, porcelain, silver). "L'albero dei cappelli" (Hat tree) dates from that period and it was-then produced very successfully as a coathanger.
The Eighties are the core of Nespolo's "American period": he spends part of the year in the States and the New York Street, the shop-windows and the hot-dog hawkers are the protagonists of his paintings. In these years he also accumulates experiences in the field of the applied art: true to the historical "Avant Garde" precept that "art must be taken into life", he is convinced that the contemporary artist is to cross the borders of the rules assigned by the late romantic commonplaces.
Evidence of this philosophy are the many posters created for various events (like "Azzurra", the Turin International Motor Show, the National Sailing Federation), the 1986 RAI Calendar, the sets of Busoni's Turandot for the Stamford Opera Theatre, title sequences for RAI TV (Renzo Arbore's "Indietro tutta") .In 1986 "La bella insofferenza" an anthological exhibition at Villa Croce, Genoa, celebrates twenty years of Nespolo's artistic activity.
In 1990, Milan Municipality dedicates him an exhibition at Palazzo Reale. The same year includes prestigious artistic collaborations such as the Campari advertising campaign, scenes and costumes of Paisiello's "Don Quixote" for the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, a ceramic exhibition - Nespolo's new interest - at the Faenza Palazzo delle Esposizioni, in connection with the "Biennale Internazionale della Ceramica e dell'Antiquariato".
In 1991 he participates to The International Ceramic Festival, Ceramic World Shigaraki, Japan. The following year, the Borghi & Co Gallery, New York hosts "A fine Intolerance" one man exhibition of painting and ceramics. A show of works on Cinema subject is promoted in 1994 at the Tour Fromage by the Regione Valle d'Aosta.
In 1995 Nespolo creates scenes and costumes for Donizetti's "Elisir d'Amore" for the Rome Opera Theatre, itinerant to the Opera in Paris, Lausanne, Liege, Metz. Still in 1995 "Casa d'Arte Nespolo", an anthological show, takes place at the Palazzo della Permanente in Milan and "Pictura si instalatu" a on man show is held in Bucarest by the Rumanian Ministry of Education. In 1996 the Piedmont Region organises the anthological show "Le stanze dell'arte" at the Turin Promotrice delle Belle Arti. The same year Nespolo is appointed art Director of the Company Richard Ginori. In 1997 the Museum of Fine Arts of La Valletta, Malta, hosts a show of his works. An itinerant show follows the same year through Latin America: Buenos Aires (Museo National de Bellas Artes), Cordoba (Centro de Arte Contemporaneo), Mendoza (Museo Municipal de Arte Moderno) and Montevideo (Museo Nacional de Artes Visuales).
1998 begins with the realisation of the monument "Lavorare, lavorare, lavorare, preferisco il rumore del mare" for the city of San Benedetto del Tronto and Nespolo starts to collaborate with the Murano historical artistic glassworks Barovier & Toso for which he creates a series of works to exhibit at Palazzo Ducale in Venice for "Aperto vetro" (International show of Contemporary Glass).
Significant one man shows follow at the Palazzina Azzurra in San Benedetto del Tronto and care of the XVII Biennale d'Arte Contemporanea of Alatri. The year 1999 ends and 2000 begins with "Nespolo + Napoli" an anthological exhibition that the City of Naples houses at the Naples Royal Palace. For the Giubilee Year Nespolo illustrates a prestigious volume of the "Apocalisse" printed in a limited edition.

For the latest exhibitions of the artist, please see the Appointments' Archive