Feb 22, 2020 · 4:59 PM

Date 1973
Object dimensions 49.5 x 49.5 x 5 cm
Technique/material Wood, paint
Credit Collection Museum Haus Konstruktiv
Donated by Das Progressive Museum Basel
Inv. no. SK07034
Italo Primi

Struttura visiva [Visual structure]

da un progetto del 1945 [Part of a project from 1945]
Italo Primi (born 1903 in Rapallo, Italy, where he died in 1983) was an artist from the Ligurian region of Italy who created a considerable body of work while living a rather secluded life. In the 1960s, he began creating Constructivist and Concrete works on paper, and he also painted wood reliefs that are marked by aspects of Kinetic Art, Minimal Art, and Op Art. These reliefs display an animated, playful interaction between light and shadow, and between an unchanging background surface and mobile elements mounted in front of it.
In the 1920s, Primi studied at the Accademia Ligustica di Belle Arti in Genoa. His teacher was the sculptor Guido Galletti, who is most famous for his 2.5-meter-tall underwater statue “Cristo degli abisso” erected near the Ligurian coast in 1954.
We can trace many important developments of European art history of the 20th century in Italo Primi’s artistic career. His early work was influenced by Expressionism, but then he underwent a phase in which pictorial means became more and more autonomous. In his later works, he created reliefs and pictures that were completely non-representational. In his exploration of both pictorial space and the space of the beholder and his integration of a moment in time, he shares similarities with the artists’ groups Gruppo N and Gruppo T founded in Padua and Milan, respectively, in 1959. Primi’s body of works is largely forgotten today, most likely because Primi worked on his own, away from the centers of art and well-known artists’ groups, despite presenting his works in many exhibitions (among them also in the Quadriennale Nazionale d'Arte in Rome) during his lifetime. In his hometown of Rapallo, the popular landmark of the Fontana der Polipo – for which he created a large squid made of bronze – still reminds us of the artist today.

Britta Schröder




With financial support by:

Lotteriefonds Canton of Zurich

Baugarten Stiftung
Ernst Göhner Stiftung
Dr. Adolph Streuli-Stiftung
Stiftung Kunstsammlung Albert und Melanie Rüegg



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Feb 22, 2020
4:45:00 PM CET