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Turi Simeti was born in Alcamo 5 August, in the province of Trapani in 1929. He moved to Rome in 1958 where he got in touch with the art world getting to know Alberto Burri and to spend time in his studio. These inspirations gave rise, in the early Sixties, to an initial production of works with various materials. In these years he also spent long periods of time in London, Paris and Basel. In the early Sixties, in line with contemporary experiences at the international level and motivated by a desire to free artistic expression from tradition and pre-established codes through the acquisition of monochrome and relief as the sole composite forms, his language defined and structured itself around a geometric element, the ellipse, which was to become the code of his artistic work. In 1963 Simeti participated in the Review of Figurative Arts of Rome and Lazio, the Premio Termoli and the exhibition Arte Visuale in the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, thus sharing the dynamics of visual and structural research close to the programmed art and the New Trend. Simeti participated in several exhibitions which were part of this current, such as New Trend 3 in Zagreb in 1965, and the exhibitions held in the Il Cenobio Gallery in Milano, in Modena and in Reggio Emilia in 1967, as well as other important international art shows dedicated to that area of research, including Programmed Art—Aktuel 65 and White on White in Bern in 1965 and 1966. His participation at the international exhibition Zero Avantgarde project, in which made its debut in 1965 in Lucio Fontana's studio in Milan, then followed by exhibitions in the galleries Il Punto of Turin and Il Cavallino in Venice, played an even greater role in featuring Simeti's work. In 1965, once he had moved to Milano, Simeti held his first solo exhibition in the Wulfengasse Gallery in Klagenfurt. Between 1966 and 1969, he was invited as Artist in Residence by the Fairleigh Dickinson University and he spent long periods of time in New York where he set up a studio and produced numerous art works, within the rigorous poetic which he had been gradually defining. From the second half of the Sixties, his distinctive work started attracting great attention in Switzerland and in Germany, where his fortune was to grow over the years (in 1971 he held a show in the prestigious M Gallery of Bochum, at Loehr in Frankfurt, in the Bettina gallery in Zurich). In 1971, in line with the climate of contestation of the period, Simeti staged a performance in the La Bertesca gallery in Genoa with the Destruction of a sailplane, storing its rests in blue, signed and numbered cans. However, this event did not entail any radical transformation of his work on surfaces and volumes, although it was to reflect a further sense of rarefaction of the projecting elements, witnessing closer bonds with the poetics of minimalism. During the early Seventies, Simeti's work was shape-up mainly as consequential research, in the transition from single elements to diptychs and polyptychs with a projecting element, often decentralised, and with an experimentation of different formats and outlines, reaching effects of greater spatial complexity during the Eighties. In the following years his work has been exhibited in numerous private galleries abroad and after years of intense work at the International level, Simeti came back to Italy in 1989 with a solo show presented at the Vismara Gallery in Milan, The extroflexed Canvas in the Milanese Area from 1958 until Today at the Arte Struktura Gallery in 1989 and Bonalumi—Castellani—Simeti: Three Itineraries, presented the year after in another Milanese venue, the Millennium Gallery. At this point his work featured a multiplication and dispersion of the volumetric and projecting oval elements on the surface, with a more intense and diversified coloration, recovering values of architectural relation to an increasingly evident extent. Between 2002 and 2003 he held numerous exhibitions in Italy and abroad, and in 2004 Simeti's held a show at the Galleria Poleschi in Milan, presented by Luca Beatrice. The following year, in 2005 a solo exhibition was organized in Lugano, the BIM—Banca Intermobiliare proposed an exhibition of Simeti's work in 2006. In August 2008 a large one man show retrospective to his hometown of Alcamo with a catalogue presented by Bruno Corrà. In 2013 Turi Simeti began collaborating with the gallery Dep Art, with mutual esteem. The gallery dedicated to him, for the first time, a vast retrospective exclusively with works from the 1960s. He lives and works in Milano.
Text courtesy Dep Art Gallery.
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