Pino Pinelli was born in 1938 in Catania, Italy. Pinelli’s works explore the essence of painting itself through the innovative use of materials and formal experiments, creating mixed-media geometric forms which mimic either outlines or geometric trails. Pinelli was one of the leading artists of Analytical Painting, defined by art critic Filiberto Menna and characterized by the artists’ interest in the material components of the painting and the relationship between the painting and the artist.
Having studied art in Catania, Pinelli moved to Milan in 1963 where he became attracted to the artistic debates of influential artists such as Lucio Fontana, Piero Manzoni, and Enrico Castellani, as well as other artists from the Zero group. In the early 1970s Pinelli began paring down his works developing a series of monochrome paintings. From 1973 his works are titled simply Painting, followed by the first letter of their colour (R for red). Pinelli’s Topologies and Monochromes series focus on the painted surface and experiment with the juxtaposition and combination of smaller paintings on a large canvas. Later, in his Disseminations series from 1976 the wall itself becomes part of the work thus breaking down the relationship between the painting and its surroundings. In the same years, Pinelli stopped using canvas instead opting for materials such as flannel, giving the work a tactile component.
Without any fundamental attachment to the space in which they reside, Pinelli’s paintings cannot be comfortably categorised thus allowing them to grow, without the boundaries of a canvas, into often expansive, modular and dynamic forms. By moving the painting away from the canvas, Pinelli challenged the traditional conception of painting and enriched the constantly-evolving dialogue between art and life.
“I cannot possibly understand those artists who place themselves in front of the canvas as if it was a surface to be filed up with colors and shapes, following a taste that is more or less appreciable. They trace out a sign, walk a few steps back, look carefully at what the have just done, bend their head, half close their eyes, then jump...