Pino Pascali - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale London Wednesday, June 29, 2022 | Phillips

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  • 'There is a sense of harmonious magic in the artistic production of Pino Pascali, that belongs to a sphere defined by the oscillation of points of reference, that outline imaginary volumes and worlds without ever leaving the real space and perception behind.'
    —Sergio Gaddi

    Born in Bari, Italy in 1935, Pino Pascali moved to Rome in 1955 to pursue a career in scene painting and set design at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma. Having worked as an advertisement illustrator and designer, he later broke into the art scene with his first solo exhibition in 1965 at the Galleria La Tartaruga and contributed to the Arte Povera movement. During his time at the Accademia, he met Jannis Kounellis who influenced his practice greatly. Considered one of the most important Italian artists of the 60s, Pascali created intensely and with intention. His body of work was prolific until his passing in 1968 due to a motorcycle accident at the age of thirty-two.


    Jannis Kounellis, Untitled, 1968, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg. Image: Bridgeman Images, Artwork: © 2022 DACS, London/SIAE, Rome

    Pascali explored and shaped Arte Povera with his contemporaries such as Jannis Kounellis, Michaelangelo Pistoletto, Alighiero Boetti, Giulio Paolini and Emilio Prini to name a few. This avant-garde movement was omnipresent in cities such as Turin, Milan, Rome, Genoa, Venice, Naples and Bologna. As one of the most influential artistic developments of the time, this significance marked a reaction against Abstract Expressionist painting which resulted in an explosion of sculptural production. Having also rejected American Minimalism, Arte Povera was thus distinctively Italian.i Using easily accessible materials, the forms created demonstrated the radical stance against establishment within government, industry and culture. Both Pascali and Kounellis looked toward nature for answers to a post-war society imbued with socio-political tension. 

    'Pascali’s works always bear witness to an ability to outline a poetic space, to create new rules, new worlds and new perspectives that leave room to the intuition of an unknown, magnetic and the same time distant, but always present in the reality of a life embracing advertising, set design, graphic design and sculpture.'
    —Sergio Gaddi

    Bachi da setola are part of the Bristle worm series. Made between the end of 1967 and the beginning of 1968, limited and rare examples of these sculptures were only exhibited twice during Pascali’s lifetime, once in Paris and another time in Rome.ii The present work would go on to being celebrated in various international exhibitions throughout multiple decades. Staying true to Arte Povera, Bachi da setola are executed with acrylic brushed on metal support- available as everyday broom bristles from the hardware store. Made to resemble oversized caterpillars crawling into the exhibition space, they represent the bridge between nature and modern life. The bristle worm is a nocturnal creature that lives in water with bristly tufts which can grow up to 24 inches. Their crawling appearance may be creepy but their presence is beneficial to the environment where they dwell. Primarily as scavengers, they consume debris and dead fish before the space is contaminated with rot.iii The Bristle worm series are part of what Pascali calls his ‘fake sculptures,’ – a play on the relationship between illusion and reality.iv Alluding to the nature of these worms, Bachi de setola are executed by the artist to clean and purify the turbulence he experienced in the every day. 


    Lucio Fontana, Milan, April 1955. Image: © Mondadori Portfolio/Archivio Giorgio Lotti/Giorgio Lotti/Bridgeman Images, Artwork: © Lucio Fontana/SIAE/DACS, London 2022


    Having also been compared to Lucio Fontana, Pino Pascali used sculpture to bring to life his metaphysical ideas, ‘Pino Pascali is the artificer of total art; like Fontana, he is capable of impressing this formal seal on the material to open it, beyond its utilitarian limits, towards the totality of an anthropological image where there is no distinction between high and low, right and left, horizontal and vertical.’v By manifesting his thoughts into three-dimensional forms, Pascali imposes his memory of an abject time into functional actuality.


    Pino Pascali’s works are in notable permanent collections such as the Tate, London; the Estorick Collection, London and also MoMA, New York. 


    i Dimitris Lempesis, ‘Traces: Pino Pascali,’ Dream Idea Machine, online
    ii Marco Pascal Tonelli, Catalogo generale delle sculture dal 1964 -1968, Rome, 2011, p. 145
    iii Stan and Debbie Hauter, All About Bristleworms, 8 March 2022, online 
    iv Gagosian, Pino Pascali, online
    v Achille Bonito Oliva, ed., Pino Pascali Il disegno del mondo/ The Drawing of the World, 2008, Turin, p. 15

    • Condition Report

    • Description

      View our Conditions of Sale.

    • Provenance

      Galleria Jolas, Paris
      Luciano Anselmo, Milan
      Dona della Rose, Milan
      La Case d'Arte, Milan
      Sergio Casoli, Milan
      Private Collection, Asiago
      Private Collection, New York

    • Exhibited

      Paris, Gallerie Jolas, Pino Pascali, March 1968
      Cologne, Monika Sprüth Gallery, Pino Pascali – Andreas Schulze, 11 November 1988– 4 March 1989
      Paris, Galerie Liliane & Michel Durand-Dessert, Pino Pascali, 4 November 1995– 13 January 1996
      Vicenza, Basilica Palladiana, The Art Of The Twentieth Century: Private Collections Around Vicenza, 24 October 1998 – 31 January 1999, no. 133, pp. 198 - 199 (illustrated)
      Siena, Museo delle Papesse, Savinio-Pascali, February - May 1999
      Tokyo, Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Silent Friendship, 1960-90s: 7 Artists, 29 June – 19 September 1999, p. 117 (illustrated, p. 39)
      Warsaw, Ujazdowski Castle, Centro Sztuki Wspotczesnej, Belevedere italiano: Tendencies of Italian Art 1945–2001, 2001, pp. 70 - 71 (illustrated)
      Verona, Studio la Città, Il Respiro Nascosto Delle Cose, 1 December 2001 - 2 January 2002, p. 32 (illustrated, p. 16)
      Milan, Palazzo della Triennale, 1951 – 2001 Made in Italy?, 4 April – 13 May 2001, p. 73 (illustrated)
      New York, Marianne Boesky Gallery, Pino Pascali & Donald Moffett | Floss, 26 January – 27 February 2016
      Sarasota Museum of Art, Color. Theory. & (b/w), 14 December 2019 – 25 October 2020

    • Literature

      Marco Pascal Tonelli, Pascali: Catalogo generale delle sculture 1964 - 1968, Rome, 2011, n. 124, p. 153 (illustrated)


Cinque Bachi da setola

acrylic brushes on metal support, in 5 parts
(i) 500.0 x 35.0 x 25.0 cm (196⅞ x 13¾ x 9⅞ in.)
(ii) 189.9 x 34.3 x 24.8 cm (74¾ x 13½ x 9¾ in.)
(iii-v) 35 x 35 x 25 cm (13 3/4 x 13 3/4 x 9 7/8 in.)
overall installation dimensions variable

Executed in 1968.

Full Cataloguing

£200,000 - 300,000 ‡ ♠

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20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

London Auction 29 June 2022