Vincenzo Agnetti studied at Brera Academy. He started his artistic activity in the late '50s as a painter, following the informal movement, and as an essayist and theorist. He followed closely the work by Piero Manzoni, Enrico Castellani, and the Azimuth Group in whose magazine he wrote articles supporting the most radical trends of the time. He rejected the traditional painting practice, and he identified art with absence operating within a radical, sometimes cryptic, conceptual context.Read More
He experimented a lot thanks to his various travels. In 1967 he came back to Italy, where he started practicing art as a pure analysis of concepts.
He held his first solo show in 1967 at Palazzo dei Diamanti in Ferrara; the following year he exhibited at Galleria Cenobio Visualità his Drugged Machine. It consisted of a calculator (Divisumma 14 Olivetti) in which 10 numbers were replaced by letters of the alphabet so that all the words obtained by the operations could support a critical operation on language.
He carried on his study on language, and in 1971 he exhibited Felts and Axioms at Galleria Blu in Milan.
In these early Seventies, he was committed to many friends, always involved in his projects, including his supportive gallerist Castelli, Daniela Palazzoli, Pierre Restany, and Achille Bonito Oliva.
He also collaborates with contemporary artists such as Gianni Colombo, Paolo Scheggi, and Claudio Parmiggiani, but he never formed a group.
In 1973 he made the important installation Project for a Political Hamlet that he used to refer to as "static theatre". In 1975 he was in New York. He started working with Ronald Feldman – where he had his first American solo show and he spent time with his friend Shusaku Arakawa.
In 1977 he exhibited at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem with Mental Installation. In 1978 he wrote the book of poems called Machiavelli 30.
In 1980 he was in Milan again with the sculpture exhibition Surplace at Toselli Gallery and then in New York at Feldman's. In Photo-Graffie, his last work created between 1979 and 1981, poetry incorporates the style: Agnetti intervenes on photo paper, exposed to light and treated, with scratches to recover the figurative feature. This way of "drawing" became a conceptual operation as well.
In 1981 he held his last exhibition at Bruna Soletti Gallery. The same year he suddenly died.
Vincenzo Agnetti can be considered one of the leaders of the Italian Neo avant-garde, and one of the most influential protagonists of Conceptual Art around the world.
Text courtesy Osart Gallery.