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Archivio Giulio Turcato: An Internal Perspective

Giulio Turcato came to Rome as part of the Resistance. Pioneering in abstract painting, he found a home in the eternal city and established his studio and house.

Saint Catherine's legs (Le Gambe di Santa Caterina)

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Located next to Piazza di Spagna, Rome, the Archivio Giulio Turcato contains and guards the painter’s personal and artistic heritage. Entrusted to the Turcato’s closest family members, the archive is currently concerned with producing a catalogue raisonné of the artist’s work, which records about 7000 art pieces in diverse media and formats. For two months, I had the opportunity and the pleasure to be an intern at the Archivio, participating as the first external collaborator since its foundation in 1972.

Along with understanding the inner workings of an archive and assisting the early stages of book production, my main role was reorganizing Turcato’s abounding amount of photographs, including both personal shots and exhibition views. First Paris, then New York, from the Centre Georges Pompidou to the Venice Biennale, Giulio Turcato’s unrestrainable volition earned him fame and respect throughout Italy and worldwide.

 

turcato in his studio

Giulio Turcato in his studio in via Margutta 48, Rome, 1960. Photo from turcato.org – Above: Saint Catherine’s legs (Le Gambe di Santa Caterina), 1978, tempera, assemblage, mixed media on panel – 70x 100 cm. Photo from turcato.org

 

Born in Mantua in 1912 and raised in Venice, Giulio Turcato came to Rome as part of the Resistance. Pioneering in abstract painting, he found a home in the eternal city and established his studio and house. Throughout the years, he became a master in abstraction and a true conjurer in sculpture, drawing, installation, and design. His variegated artistic talent culminated in joining the Gruppo Forma 1 movement, along with Carla Accardi, Ugo Attardi, Pietro Consagra, Piero Dorazio, Mino Guerrini, Achille Perilli, and Antonio Sanfilippo. Turcato abandoned figurative expression in the 50s and devoted his paintings to pure abstraction. Still the strategic importance of color in his work is a common feature that he developed throughout the years.

 

turcato Le libertà 1980

Le Libertà 1980, tempera on paper – 32,4 x 23,8 cm. Photo from turcato.org

One of Turcato’s most successful series is the Superfici Lunari, lunar surfaces, also known as gommepiume, foam rubber. Working close to Lucio Fontana during the late 60s, Turcato produced his Superfici Lunari conferring them a plastic three-dimensionality. However, whereas Fontana detracted material from the work, Turcato added powders, paint, tar, and so on.

 


Archivio Giulio Turcato

Via del Pozzetto 117, Roma

Visit by appointment

Maria Vittoria Di Sabatino recently graduated with a BA in Art History at John Cabot University, with a focus on contemporary art and visual culture. Based in Rome, Italy, she works as an assistant archivist at the Archivio Giulio Turcato in addition to following independent curatorial projects.

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