seventy years of activity, of artistic, political and social
commitment constitute the connective weave of Aligi Sassu's
anthological display, on the tenth anniversary of his passing; in
this occasion it has been tried to represent the deepest meaning
of an intense human and artistic story, retracing the stylistic
evolutions and following their entire path, from the beginning
until the last works. A homage to an interpreter who honoured the
Italian history of art, although he was part of a particularly
difficult historical context, that of fascism, of which he becomes
a strenous opponent.
The display ties the threads of an exceptionally intense
narration, highlighting the free flow of ideas and emotions, the
strength of a thought that shows in the concreteness of images
which reveal a coherent and complex course.
starts finding interest in the arts and painting since his
adolescence, and since then it is an experimentation after the
other which lead him to approach the avant-gardes of the time,
without forgetting the models of the past, from which he is
inspired for a staging of an eclectic classicism expressed in
themes and gestures.
debut sees him committed to a synthesis of new visions, of various
nature, applied to mythological and imaginary themes, to horses,
to cyclists, to battles, processed in a story made of static
geometries, of landscapes and vital elements solved in a chromatic
function, expressing a sense of equilibrium and a knowledge of
reciprocal relations between colours of a direct fauve
atmospheres, of unusual and unscrupulous combinations, pure and
bidimensional colours, condensing the sensations of the artist,
constituting the essence of his production.
of the first themes he undertakes is that of horses, often
recurring in his works, expression of freedom and dynamism,
necessary synthesis of instinct and conscience, the gallop of
which he associates to the rush of waves, impetuous as impetuous
is the research for truth and the anxiety of indulging the needs
of his soul. The sea is a symbol of birth, according to the
ancient Greeks, from water comes life and the gallop of the horse
on the shores of the sea stresses the ancestral desire of rebirth,
of transcending reality.
the animal he sometimes underlines the docility and the intimacy
as a friend in Cavallo nero
e cavaliere (1930), sometimes the strength and rampant istinct
in Cavalieri antichi (1942). But it is the white horse which he
represents most frequently, sublimed in a freeing leap, as if
ascending towards spitituality. A separation from reality,
necessary for survival, and from its material bonds, that becomes
metaphor of his personal story.
can also be found in the mythological themes, which Sassu develops
at the same time, as in Cavalli
di Poseidone (1986), in which the thrill of movement is
translated directly into colour, where the tone of blue prevails
in its shades. A swirl coming from the spirit, an intense and
elegant decorative rythm that highlights the love for movement
which has characterised his artistic activity so much. To the same
cycle also belong more static works, like Il
Giudizio di Paride (1984), in which a Renaissance, and at the
same time, expressionistic root can be found. Nudes, a constant in
Sassu's work, inserted in a classical scenery, stand out for their
chromatic contrasts, to underline the harmony between man and
expression of elementary feelings through the representation of a
simple lyric, in shapes and colours.
impact with Paris in 1934 and with its urban atmosphere,
stimulating and lively, filled with the lesson of the French
Nineteenth century, determines a metamorphosis.
artist lives the craze, the atmosphere and the rythms of the
capital city. The chromatic violence and the pictorial tension
leave their place to a calmer harmony, in a fullness and ecstatic
enjoyment of being part of the cultural happenings of the time, in
which Paris puts itself as the landmark. The works of this period
acquire a more tangible concreteness. The artist delineates a
space, lively and sensitive, available to change. He catches the
moment of it, he stops on the canvas only a moment of what is the
dance of life, between ups and downs, ordinary and extraordinary.
Sassu lets himself be charmed by the bourgeois environment, in
which the figures seem pleasantly relaxed, the atmospheres crowded
and pulsing with life. A real life that is opposed to the
transcendental reality of the previous mythological works, a
research of life which starts from a research of nature to land
into the contemporary and ordinary.
is the Paris of the smokey cafès,
of the restaurants, of the shining lights and of the dense
stories, of characters who communicate a sense of isolation and of
incommunicability, even within social relationships.
1937 Sassu is arrested, accused of conspiracy and condemned to ten
years of reclusion in Fossano. The accusation is that of
subversion of the public order, following the retrieval by the
secret police (OVRA) of a manifest that pushes towards an
insurrection against fascism. In jail he is allowed to draw using
pencils, inks, sanguine, watercolours.
production of the time, actually dense, denotes an ease of
execution: exercises on the themes he is passionate about such as
myth, nudes, to which he adds the portraits of inmates, that
represent traces of the pictorial contribution on his canvases.
1954 he travels to Vallauris where he meets Picasso, of whom he is
a great admirer. The style becomes less rarefied and more precise
in the details, in search of a new spatiality, of a more
descriptive narration. It is in these years that works like Il
circo and La fiera
are created, both of 1955, stimulated by the encounter with the
Spanish artist and which give shape to themes also present in the
research of impressionists and expressionists, important
references for Sassu's art. In these works he represents a fake
reality, an apparent joy behind suffering. Characters that wear
the colours of life, filtered through a mask posed in front of the
world that stages an illusionary improvisation, a mental
physiognomy necessary to survive in a period of great conflicts
to enrich the already bright passion of the artist comes the
Spanish period, in Mallorca, where he constantly goes from 1964.
Stays that are alternated with visits to Italy, during which he
experiences the acrylics and creates pictorial works of strong
chromatics, morbid and harmonious outlines and of a formal
essentiality, inserted in deduced spaces and often little defined.
eclectic, then, but also an intuitive creator, witness of his
time, whose display revalues the modernity of his language and the
sense of a research lived like a deep formal experimentation, with
an immediacy and an essentiality of ideation that correspond to
the contemporary sensitivity.