elii [oficina de arquitectura]


049 · lo savio

Esordi, spazio-luce, filtri, metalli, progetti, articulación totali....Francesco Lo Savio


Exhibition at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid

[Abstract from the exhibition]

The work of artist Francesco Lo Savio (Rome, 1935 - Marseille, France, 1963) is displayed individually for the first time in Spain through this exhibition, which compiles a wide range of works realised over a five year period. It features paintings from his early period, monochromes, filters, metal works, and his Articolizioni totali (total articulations) in addition to a series of works related to architecture, a discipline he studies before immersing himself in painting.

Lo Savio becomes one of the most preeminent figures on international art scene in the second half of the 20thcentury, but his work remained in relative obscurity for a number of decades due to both his premature death at the age of 28 and also the difficulty in classifying a body of work deemed too radical at the time and, consequently, misunderstood. Today he is considered one of the key precursors to American Minimalism and conceptual art in Europe.

In just five years, he goes from producing paintings with certain principles of Informalism, still dominant in Italy at the time he becomes an artist, to radically breaking away from this great tradition as he invents a new language, way ahead of its time, that foresees American - Minimalist - explorations that would later define the Sixties. Theatre is one characteristic that marks the rudimentary schism between art at the beginning of this decade as it sees Lo Savio interlink the ideals of design and futurist and constructivist architecture on one side, and other forms and a sensorial rhetoric that portrays the theatre of baroque art on the other. Both interpretations encompass the surmounting of conventional limits of art established after the Second World War.

Lo Savio's sculptures, monochrome paintings and works on metal plates, concerned with the experimentation of space, materials and forms as well as light and installations, are strongly influenced by Lucio Fontana. Operating on the edge of monochrome, his paintings are titled Spazio-Luce (Space-Light), his explorations Filtri (Filters) and his metal works Metalli (Metals), in which deep black combines painting and sculpture with baroque-like folds and curves in an extraordinary play on light. Finally, Lo Savio's Articolizioni totali works - cubes of white plaster with curved sheets of black metal inserted - were exhibited at the end of 1962 and were so innovative at the time that they were universally misconstrued. 


Spazio-Luce, Filtri, Metalli e Articolizioni total

1. Spazio-Luce. Paintings that try to escape from closed forms.

On the edge of monochrome. 

2. Filtri. Tests of layer overlays and transparencies.

Multipliction of combinations.

3. Metalli. Deep black elements which combine painting and sculpture with baroque-like folds and curves.

Industrial manufacture metal reliefs.

4. Articolizioni total. Cubes of white plaster with curved sheets of black metal inserted.

Sheets that leave the wall to lodge in the heart of an abstract cube.


  • Architects:
  • elii - Uriel Fogué, Eva Gil, Carlos Palacios
  • Team:
  • elii – Enrico Forestieri
  • Developers:
  • MNCARS (Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía)
  • Mounting of the exhibition:
  • Montajes Horche, S.L.
  • Curator:
  • Daniel Soutif
  • Fotography:
  • MNCARS y elii
  • Area:
  • 852,40m2
  • Date:
  • 2009
  • Location:
  • MNCARS, Edificio Sabatini