The primeval form, the first gesture, the archetypal original expression.
Agostino Ferrari was born in Milan on 9 November 1938. Attracted by the world of art since childhood, after having completed scientific studies, he began his activity as a painter in 1959, the year in which he met Remo Brindisi, who immediately welcomed him to work in his studio. In 1961 his first personal exhibition was inaugurated at the Pater gallery in Milan, with the presentation of Giorgio Kaisserlian. The works of the early years, which Ferrari groups under the terms Nature Landscape Surrounding, have as their object the landscape of the Milanese industrial suburb of the late 1950s and, although they are aniconic paintings that still reflect the presence of a certain Informal, they express a strong naturalistic influence.
In the two-year period 1964-1965, he made two trips to New York that allowed him to get to know the world of pop art and artists such as Lichtenstein, Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Billy Apple. The series of Labyrinths is part of this new research perspective, paintings that represent the desire to "abandon" the story, the narrative, to instead pay more attention to the description of plastic concepts. Between 1966 and 1967, a series of works entitled Theater of the sign, in which the sign manifests itself in different forms, but always as the absolute protagonist of the work; these works overcome the two-dimensionality of the picture and are transformed into picture-objects.
Before, I thought of the work as something detached, different from me, my attitude was to work on the canvas; then it was the canvas itself that suggested what to do.
While in my early works you could see an "Informal-Naturalistic" influence, the result of meetings with Guenzi, Bionda, Chighine and Vermi. However, everything changed when in 1961 I began to frequent Lucio Fontana's studio. But it was the entire Milanese art scene that experienced an atmosphere of change and a very marked openness to experimentation. Between '50 and '59, the nuclear movement, which had had D'Angelo and Baj as promoters and around which a large group of painters had agglutinated, represented an important turning point for Milan and a strong stimulus for younger curious. The new groups multiplied, inserting themselves between the two poles of attraction constituted by Fontana and Munari.
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