Mario Ceroli | Original prints, lithographs, etchings and illustrated books




Mario Ceroli (Castel Frentano, 17 May 1938) is an Italian sculptor and scenographer.

Trained at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome, under the guidance of Leoncillo Leonardi, Pericle Fazzini and Ettore Colla, of which he becomes assistant, he directs his interest in ceramic works and initially reproduced ceramic sculptures.

In 1957 he experimented with the use of wood, mainly tree trunks pierced by nails, with which in 1958 he won the prize for young Italian sculpture. In the late 1950s, wood became his favorite expressive material.

In the sixties he carved large human silhouettes in raw wood which were often repeated in a serial way, becoming a distinctive sign of most of his production. It is therefore in the sixties, impressed by Pop art through the works of Louise Nevelson and Joe Tilson, that he arrives at the materials and forms that would later characterize his creations: silhouette of wooden shaped objects, devoid of color, sometimes repeated in series (Last Supper, 1965, National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome; Leonardo's man, 1964; China, 1966, Greater China, 1968), connected to a space that becomes an essential theme (Cassa Sistina, 1966) , or traced in tempera and ink (La porta, il cenacolo, 1981; Giorno, Notte, 1982).

The Study Center and Communication Archive of Parma preserves a fund dedicated to Ceroli, consisting of 2 sculptures, public and partially available for conservation reasons.

In 1967-1968 he took part in the exhibitions of the Arte Povera group, of which Ceroli can be considered a precursor since as early as the early 1960s he introduced materials such as: burnt woods, glass, lead, ice rags into his artistic production, paper, ash etc. . In 1966 Cassa Sistina, she was awarded at the Venice Biennale. The shapes, shaped in the wood, include letters, numbers, geometries, objects, attributable to Pop research and to the reinterpretation of the great classics of art history: from Leonardo da Vinci to Michelangelo to P. Uccello, up to G. De Chirico.

At the same time he creates stage settings for theater, cinema and television. In fact, the "invasive" character of his work leads him to go beyond cinema, in scenography, in the design of environments, in the design of churches and their interior furnishings, up to a project, never completed, of theater.

In 1988 he created the so-called "Casa del Nettuno" in Bologna, a wooden container decorated with the silhoutte Uomo gallegiante, which constituted the restoration site for the bronze statue of Neptune by Giambologna. His is the winged Unicorn (1990), in wood covered with gold, displayed at the entrance of the Rai headquarters in Saxa Rubra. He oversaw the furnishing of the church of Porto Rotondo (1971), of Santa Maria Madre del Redentore of Tor Bella Monaca, in Rome, in 1987 and of San Carlo Borromeo at the Centro Direzionale in Naples, in 1990.

He also carried out an intense scenographer activity, collaborating with the Teatro Stabile of Turin (scenography by Riccardo III by Shakespeare, 1968, for which he created the sculpture La grande cina, an invention that sees on the stage the system of large human silhouettes whose movements are suspended in a metaphysical space, now preserved at the CSAC in Parma) and with the Scala in Milan, 1972 (scenography by Vincenzo Bellini's Norma).

From the mid-eighties he introduced the use of glass plates in his work and created numerous monumental installations in public spaces, including the winged horse of the Rai Center of Saxa Rubra in Rome (1990).

In his sculptures, frequent quotations from famous works of the past, such as those of Leonardo, of whom he paraphrased with his woods the design of the "Vitruvian man" (Disequilibrium, 1967) and the Last Supper (painted wood, 1981).

In 1997 he donated a copy of the wooden sculpture of the Vitruvian Man to the village of origin, Castel Frentano, placing it in the Piazzale della Concezione.

In 2007 he was called by the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome to participate in its official reopening, after long years of renovation, with a selection of his main works.

In 2008 the city council of the city of Siena entrusted him with the task of painting the banner for the Palio of 16 August, dedicated to the Madonna Assunta and won by the Contrada del Bruco, with the jockey Giuseppe Zedde called "Gingillo" and the horse Elisir Logudoro.

Author of his own living and working environment, Ceroli collected his works at the gates of Rome, in a space of 3000 square meters, in a sort of house-museum, an extraordinarily evocative place that collects his works, as well as 500, in a kind of museum in constant change and growth, which it would like to open to the public to make it alive, usable, useful as a stimulus and model for the most recent generations of artists.