‘Gruppo della Fonte’ was the address I lived at and the place where I first began working as an artist, in Cappelle sul Tavo. It was a group of houses built in the early 1900s – homes to which, at various points, as each family expanded, rooms had gradually been added, one after another, built up against the rooms already there. This is the title I have chosen to give to a work of mine in which some little houses are grouped together in a landscape, bounded by an arc.
Vistamare gallery is proud to pay tribute to Ettore Spalletti, with an exhibition of works by the artist, presented at the gallery’s Pescara location.
Ettore Spalletti’s works breathe with a chromatism deeply imbued with the moods and light of his homeland, Abruzzo. The pinks, sky blues, greys and whites give substance to volumes, to solids which are square, rectangular or round – the forms of objects plucked out of the everyday world and sublimed into geometric shapes.
In the catalogue that accompanied a previous exhibition dedicated to Spalletti’s work, held at the gallery in 2017, Daniela Lancioni wrote: “What better occasion to reflect on the art of Ettore Spalletti than to have the opportunity to observe his work here in Pescara? A place far from the hectic life of the metropolis, where the light, the shimmering sea and the contours of the Gran Sasso – the mountain that locals call the “sleeping beauty” – present us with the world and the landscape in which the artist lived.”
The exhibition will feature works made between 1980 and 2019, some of which have never previously been seen outside the artist’s studio; here they are exhibited alongside Sotto il tavolo (1997), a permanent, site-specific installation occupying one of the gallery’s rooms – a room suffused with the sky blue that Spalletti considered an atmospheric colour, impossible to photograph and only ever experienced in person. Here, visitors can walk through it, along a passageway which widens and narrows and is rendered awkward by the presence of a solid cube that almost fills the room. The apparent narrowing of the passageway is initially disorienting, because the cube’s orthogonal lines are at odds with the skewed perspective of this room’s layout, but having made our way in, we cease to notice its edges which seem to melt into the vaulted ceiling; we are immersed in the colour. The sensation is perhaps best described by borrowing the lines of a poet much loved by Spalletti:
Il mare è tutto azzurro.
Il mare è tutto calmo.
Nel cuore quasi un urlo
di gioia. E tutto è calmo.
The sea is all blueness.
The sea is all calm.
At heart, almost a scream
of joy. And everything’s calm.
Ettore Spalletti (1940-2019) was born in Cappelle sul Tavo (Pescara), where he spent his entire life. Over the past 40 years, a series of major international exhibitions have been dedicated to his work, most recently at the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in Rome (2021), at the Nouveau Musée National de Monaco (2019), and at Palazzo Cini in Venice (2015); and in 2014 a retrospective was presented simultaneously at three Italian museums: MADRE, Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Donnaregina, Naples; GAM, Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Turin; and MAXXI – Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI Secolo, Rome. Other solo exhibitions of note include those at: GNAM – Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, Rome (2010); Museum Kurhaus, Kleve (2009); Villa Medici, Académie de France, Rome (2006); Henry Moore Institute, Leeds (2005); Castello di Rivoli – Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli, Turin (2004); Fundación la Caixa, Madrid (2000); Museo di Capodimonte, Naples (1999); Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, Strasbourg (1998); MUHKA – Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, Antwerp (1995); Guggenheim Museum, New York (1993); Musée d’art moderne de la Ville de Paris (1991); De Appel, Amsterdam (1989); Kunsteverein, Munich (1989); Portikus, Frankfurt (1989); Halles d’art contemporain, Rennes (1988); Museum Van Hedendaagse Kunst, Ghent (1983); and Museum Folkwang, Essen (1982). Spalletti was invited to exhibit more than once at Documenta in Kassel (1982, 1992) and at the Venice Biennale (1982, 1993, 1995, 1997). His permanent installations include Salle des dèparts (1996) made for the Hôpital Raymond-Poincaré in Garches, near Paris, and Cappella (2016), designed together with the architect Patrizia Leonelli for the Casa di Cura Villa Serena, in Città Sant’Angelo, in the province of Pescara.