ISGRO' Emilio

Emilio Isgrò | Original prints, lithographs, etchings and illustrated books




Emilio Isgrò (Barcellona Pozzo di Gotto, 6 October 1937) is an Italian artist and writer, known for the artistic language of "erasing".

In 1956 he made his debut with the collection of poems Fiere del Sud (Arturo Schwarz Editore). In 1964 he made his first erasures on encyclopedias and books, contributing to the birth and development of visual poetry and conceptual art. Isgrò has lived and worked in Milan since 1965, except from 1960 to 1967, years in which he lived in Venice as head of the cultural pages of the Gazzettino. In 1966, on the occasion of the solo exhibition at the Galleria Il Traghetto in Venice, he published 1, in which he specified his conception of poetry as the "general art of the sign". Publishes the book of poems The age of gymnastics (Mondadori).

In 1972 he took part in the Venice Biennale, where he was still present in 1978, 1986 and 1993. He exhibited with other artists at the Contemporanea exhibition (1973), curated by Achille Bonito Oliva and set up in the underground parking of Villa Borghese in Rome. The following year The adventurous life of Emilio Isgrò was published in the testimonies of statesmen, writers, artists, parliamentarians, actors, relatives, family members, friends, anonymous citizens (Il Antichiere), candidate for the Strega Prize. In 1976 he held the first anthological exhibition of his works at the Centro Studi and Archivio della Comunicazione in Parma. In 1977 he was awarded the first prize at the XIV Biennial of Art of Sao Paulo in Brazil. In the same year he published the novel Marta de Rogatiis Johnson with Feltrinelli. In 1979 he presented Chopin at the Rotonda della Besana in Milan, an installation-score for 15 pianos. In 1982 he represents Gibella del Martirio and San Rocco reads the list of miracles and horrors in Gibellina.

From the following year and for three consecutive seasons he represents the Orestea di Gibellina, a Sicilian trilogy, at the Orestiadi International Festival. In 1985 the Teatro alla Scala commissioned him the multimedia installation Bach's vigil, created in the Milanese church of San Carpoforo. In 1986 he presented the L'ora italiana Foundation at the Archaeological Civic Museum of Bologna, in memory of the victims of the massacre at the Bologna railway station on 2 August 1980. In 1989 he published the novel Polifemo (Mondadori), at the same time developing a new theory of the erasure (Fonte d'Abisso Gallery).

In 1992 he participated in the exhibition The Artist and the Book in XX Century Italy, organized by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. In 1994 he was present at the review The Italian artist books of the twentieth century at the Guggenheim collection in Venice. He publishes the novel L'asta delle ceneri (Camunia) and returns to poetry with the collection Oratorio dei ladri (Mondadori). In 1998 he donated the sculpture Orange seed to his native town.

In 2001, in the complex of Santa Maria dello Spasimo in Palermo he held the anthology Emilio Isgrò 1964-2000. With the bees of the Torah begins the "cycle of insects". In 2002 he published the book of poems Brindisi all'amico infame (Aragno), finalist for the Strega Prize and winner of the San Pellegrino Prize. In 2004 he created an installation entitled The Our Father of the ants as part of the event "The Works and Days", held in the Certosa di San Lorenzo di Padula from 18 to 20 June 2004 by Achille Bonito Oliva.

With the title La cancellation and other solutions, in 2007 he collects in volume the writings published in newspapers and magazines as a critical-theoretical kit of creative activity. The following year, the Luigi Pecci Center for Contemporary Art in Prato produced the anthological Declare to be Emilio Isgrò edited by Marco Bazzini. In 2008 and 2013 he participated with a job at BAU. In 2009 he exhibited at the Stelline in Milan. The following year the Disobbedisco exhibition is held in Marsala. Disembarkation in Marsala and other Sicilies. At the same time Var ve yok opens at the Taksim Sanat Galerisi in Istanbul while the fourteen Ottoman Codes are exhibited at the Boghossian Foundation in Brussels.

In May 2011 he proposed the installation L'Italia che dorme at the Galleria d'Arte Moderna in Rome, for the celebrations of the 150th anniversary of the Unification of Italy, a work conceived the previous year for the review The Constitution canceled - Representation of a crime, curated by Marco Bazzini at the Boxart art gallery in Verona. The work Cancellation of public debt is inaugurated at the Bocconi University in Milan. In 2012 L'ora italiana (1985-1986) was rearranged in Milan at Gallerie d'Italia. In June 2013 the anthological exhibition entitled Model Italy (2013-1964) was held at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome, curated by Angelinandreina Rorro. The same year sees the release of the collection of unpublished essays "How to defend oneself from art and rain" by Beatrice Benedetti (Maretti Editore). In 2014 his self-portrait enters the Uffizi Gallery I declare that I am not Emilio Isgrò. In Milan, his Grande erasing for Giovanni Testori was placed in Piazza Gino Valle, in the new Portello district.

In 2015 he created the Seme dell'Altissimo, a 7 meter high marble sculpture, located inside the Milan Expo. The following year an anthology in his honor was organized in three locations: a personal exhibition at Palazzo Reale, the exhibition of his erasing of the portrait of Alessandro Manzoni at the Gallerie d'Italia and thirty-five volumes of the Promessi Sposi erased for twenty-five readers and ten plagued at Casa Manzoni.

In 2017 Emilio Isgrò exhibited in London at the Tornabuoni Gallery. This is a retrospective, which began in Milan and then moved to Paris, which opens with the deletion of 24 volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica (work of 1969). The exhibition is accompanied by a catalog published by Forma Edizioni and edited by Marco Bazzini.

In 2018 Isgrò inaugurated the monumental work Monument to Hell, created specifically for the IULM University of Milan. In April he exhibits in Belgium at the MDZ Art Gallery, in a double solo show that sees him as protagonist with Christo.

In September 2019 the anthological Emilio Isgrò opens in the Giorgio Cini Foundation in Venice, curated by Germano Celant. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalog-monograph published by Treccani which includes an interview between Celant and Isgrò plus a rich chronology on the artist's life.

On 7 December 2019 Emilio Isgrò is awarded the Ambrogino d'Oro.