Galleria Mattia De Luca opens a retrospective dedicated to Salvatore Scarpitta

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Galleria Mattia De Luca opens a retrospective dedicated to Salvatore Scarpitta
Salvatore Scarpitta, Tensione, 1958. Bandages and mixed media, 54,5 x 73 x 10 cm. Courtesy Collezione Olgiati ©Estate/Archive of the Artist.



ROME.- The Galleria Mattia De Luca inaugurated in Rome on Saturday, April 6th, at Palazzo Albertoni Spinola the exhibition SAL, curated by Luigi Sansone. It is a retrospective dedicated to the multifaceted and groundbreaking oeuvre of Salvatore Scarpitta (New York, 1919 - 2007), illustrating the artistic journey of the Italian-American artist and celebrating his exceptional contribution to the artistic landscape of the latter half of the 20th century through some of his most significant works.

The exhibition delves into two distinct periods, the Italian period and the American period. The Italian period, rooted in Rome, showcases Scarpitta's early Expressionist works, which gradually transition into abstract-figurative art, leading to the informal of material paintings. This phase culminates with the creation of extroflexed canvases and bandaged works displayed at Plinio De Martiis' Galleria La Tartaruga during the landmark exhibition of April 1958.

The American period began with Scarpitta's exhibition at Leo Castelli's gallery in New York in January 1959 and extended until 2007, the year of the artist's passing. This highly creative phase of Scarpitta's career further explores the theme of bandages while branching into four principal directions: the geometric works featuring the distinctive 'St. Andrew's cross' structure; the dynamic integration of materials sourced from the realm of car racing into the bandaged pieces; the fabrication of racing cars themselves; the creation of sleds and towing structures inspired by elements of Native American culture.

In addition to abstract-figurative which mark the inception of the “bandaged" works, the exhibition showcases several extroflexed canvases such as Senza titolo (Untitled), 1957, Dimensione (Dimension), 1958, along with other canvases adorned with bandages like Ammiraglio (Admiral), 1958, and Tensione (Tension), 1958. Many of these works make a significant return to the Roman art scene following their display at the historic exhibition held at Galleria La Tartaruga in 1958, and later at the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York in January 1959 – the two most important exhibitions in Scarpitta's career.

One of the standout pieces from Scarpitta's repertoire, Gunner's Mate, 1961, is being featured in the exhibition. This composition consists of four "X"-shaped structures, each supporting three bandaged works. This installation has retained its original form over time, unlike the others created during the same period, which the artist dismantled. Today, the individual components exist independently, allowing for deliberate assembly in various interchangeable sequences.

A central aspect of Scarpitta's artistic vision is the world of racing cars, a theme featured in the exhibition with Sal's Red Hauler Special, 1966-67, a car dedicated to Jean Christophe Castelli, son of Scarpitta's gallerist and close friend, Leo Castelli. Additionally, Incident at Castelli, 1987, a substantial installation, vividly captures the fusion of art, speed, and life. Directly stemming from his works featuring bandages are the sleds, as stated by Scarpitta himself, exemplified in the exhibition by the totemic Hill Canoe, 1990, and Mr. Hyde (Dr. Jekyll) and Mrs. Hyde (Mr. Hyde), both created in 1989.

Lastly, the exhibition is complemented by a collection of posters, catalogs, photographs, and documents, providing a comprehensive exploration of Scarpitta's captivating journey from his origins in Rome to his acclaimed success in the United States.

Moreover, the exhibition is accompanied by the publication of an Exhibition Catalogue in both Italian and English. This catalogue has been enriched with unpublished material provided by Luigi Sansone, one of the foremost historical-critical experts on Salvatore Scarpitta's work.










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