Bruno Di Bello

Bruno Di Bello, “Procedimento”, 1974. Private collection. Courtesy Fondazione Marconi, Milano. On loan to Madre · museo d’arte contemporanea Donnaregina, Napoli. Photo © Amedeo Benestante.

Trained at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Naples, in the 50s Bruno Di Bello (Torre del Greco, 1938) participated in the great season of renewal that saw Naples engaging with international art trends. Among the leaders of the Gruppo 58, a supporter of “Nuclear painting”, in accord with the avant-garde in Milan, and one of the editors of the magazine Documento Sud, the artist devoted himself in this decade to an Informal artistic language, aligned with the contemporary experiments by Guido Biasi, Luca (Luigi) Castellano, Lucio Del Pezzo, Sergio Fergola and Mario Persico. Already at this stage Di Bello showed a marked concern with the sign and its combinatory and rhythmic potential, which soon led him to experiment with new modes of expression in both painting and photography.

In the early 60s he began to break down words, reduced to single letters and superimposed on each other through stencils. Emptied of any communicative functionality, the building blocks of language were transformed into purely visual signs, while the subjectivity of expression conveyed by the gesture peculiar to Art Informel gave way to the objectivity of analytical thinking, the foundation of all the procedures experimented with by the artist.

At the Modern Art Agency in 1966, he presented his “signs of light”, images created by impressing signs on photosensitive canvas. The following year Di Bello moved to Milan, where he joined the Mec-Art (Mechanical Art) group, endorsed by the French critic Pierre Restany, with Gianni Bertini, Elio Mariani, Mimmo Rotella and Aldo Tagliaferro. Always fascinated by the mechanical reproduction of the image, Di Bello devoted himself from the beginning of the new millennium to a new medium, the computer, with which he resumed his investigations of signs, now translated into the form of fractals, a meeting point between scientific rigor and artistic expression.

The work exhibited at Madre in the context of Per_forming a collection project, entitled Procedimento (“Procedure”), belongs to a group produced in the 70s, when Di Bello freed himself from figuration to undertake research into the power of letters and words as signs, in ways close to the theories of French structuralism, in its analysis of language and experiments with visual poetry. In these works the artist expressed an even more schematic approach, based on the construction of a precise structural grid and on a strict procedure: the letters of the words “analysis” and “synthesis” were enclosed in squares which, at each step towards the center, were further divided into four parts. Each square had an emphasis only on one fragment – the structural element isolated from the background – of the original letter, to the point where it became unrecognizable, hence pure visual material, a sign that had lost its communicative function in favor of a purely analytical-aesthetic one.

[Alessandra Troncone]

Procedimento, 1974

Currently not on view

Private collection. Courtesy Fondazione Marconi, Milano. On loan to Madre · museo d’arte contemporanea Donnaregina, Napoli. Photo © Amedeo Benestante.

Installation view, in the context of "Per_forming a collection #4"

Courtesy Fondazione Donnaregina per le arti contemporanee, Naples. Photo © Amedeo Benestante.