The search for new modes of expression and the aspiration to ideal form characterized the brief but intense artistic career of Francesco Lo Savio (Rome, 1935 – Marseille, 1963). Starting with his studies of contemporary architecture undertaken in Rome in the 1950s, the artist worked on light and the development of a pure spatial concept, inspired in formal and conceptual terms by modernist architecture (the Bauhaus, Le Corbusier, De Stijl). But from these references he also derived an interest in social and ideological issues, equally important to his aesthetic in painting as in design.
“The idea of engaging a threedimensional space to create a two-way experience, internal as a problem of formal expression, external as a problem of social relationship, affects the development of my work in the aspect of visual discontinuity, both in the choice of the medium and in the result of the form,” explained the artist.
Lo Savio’s artistic practice developed as a tension between the two-dimensionality of the painted surface and the three-dimensional object, in the attempt to make “the virtual space coincide anti-illusionistically with real space, […] making painting concrete and object-based,” continues the artist. Beginning with the series of Filtri (“Filters”, 1959), formed by the superposition of opaque and semi-transparent surfaces, light plays a key role as an instrument to build up form itself and to suggest new, potential visions of the work.
This discourse was further developed with Metalli (“Metals”, 1960-61), a series which included the work Metallo Nero Opaco (“Opaque Black Metal”) present in the collection: here the coldness and the opacity of metal express the need for a formal and constructive order, a harmony between inner and outer. Form finds its development in space, becoming a pulsating, dynamic, energy structure even in its purity and simplicity. Concreteness of material and immateriality of light, stability and mutability, work (artist) and space (society) create a dialogue in full equilibrium with each other.
In this harmony lies the expressive power of Lo Savio, who in his work identifies the “possible social attitude of the work, which remains the product of art, but embodies the necessary contact between the artist and society.”