Pino Pinelli, Pittura GR, 1976. Collezione privata. In comodato a Madre · museo d’arte contemporanea Donnaregina, Napoli. Foto © Amedeo Benestante. | Pino Pinelli, Pittura GR / GR Painting, 1976. Private collection. On loan to Madre · museo d’arte contemporanea Donnaregina, Naples. Photo © Amedeo Benestante.

Restoring “body” and “density” to painting is the paradigmatic axis along which the research of Pino Pinelli (Catania, 1938) develops, oriented from the very outset, influenced by Minimalism and by figures such as Lucio Fontana, according to an idea of the pictorial work as an “organism that lingers in space,” a material entity capable of determining the horizon.
Pinelli moved to Milan in 1968, and after his first solo show at the Galleria Bergamini, starting from works such as Topologie, 1971 and Punti molli, 1972, Pinelli moved in the direction of a rigorous reflection on the language of painting, proceeding toward the repetition of the same form and then from 1973, toward absolute synthesis via the creation of monochromes inspired by the Suprematist example of Kazimir Malevich. Indeed, the artist’s insistence on the monochrome transforms the color from a given to an open question, under whose surface a potential significant universe is hidden. The works thus realized are called Pittura, followed by the initial for the color used (BL for blue, R for red, GR for gray), and they bear witness to a yearning to explore which is related to the perceptive issue of basic colors, complementary colors and grays, aimed at the construction of a rigorous pictorial syntax.
After experimenting with the “tactile” nature of the painting, by adding extra-pictorial elements (including flannel and chamois leather) to modular forms, in 1976 Pinelli ultimately breaks away from the structure of the work, and uses the wall as a surface on which to disseminate the fragments of the painting which he had previously considered to be a single unit. Hence, the artist, the undisputed protagonist of Analytical Painting, abandons every conventional idea vis-à-vis the surface and the two-dimensionality of the work.
Until 1987 his research proceeds in this direction with modular elements that he spreads out on the wall in a pattern that is never rectilinear, as can be seen in the work in the museum collection entitled Pittura GR (“GR Painting,” 1976), and achieving, in 1983, a singular mixed media that restores a velvety materialness. In the following years, the modular forms are replaced by others, in pairs or single, ovoid, circular and rectangular in shape, devoid of definite outlines, on which traces of the artist’s manual skill linger, resembling splinters strewn across the walls. At this point the artist’s painting is self-sufficient, it is the solidification of an idea, the explosion of fragments arranged according to a harmony that seems to replicate musical sounds. From 1994 the form is restored, becoming prevalently rectangular or trapezoidal, and paving the way, as of 1995, for the hitherto unseen cross shape.