After studying art and set design in Pescara and Rome, in the 1960s Ettore Spalletti began producing eminently objectual and geometric work. His pieces are two- and three-dimensional objects, with monochrome surfaces on which colour acquires delicate, diaphanous volumes. Wood, linen, stone, and most importantly plaster mixed with pigment, enabled him to explore sensations of fragility and volatility. Spalletti’s use of lighting and the fact that many of his pieces are installations (and even ‘happenings’)—whether by virtue of the organisation of component parts or the incorporation of the surrounding space as an element of the work—allows his creations to achieve subtle atmospheric effects. The artist has almost always worked in his hometown. As a result, there is an environmental dimension to his oeuvre that is essential to understand his work and discourse. Spalletti’s works are concrete and synthetic. They often refer to everyday or easily identifiable objects but are primarily invocations of the elemental. His work is particularly concerned with language as a concrete form, skirting the edge of its own abstract implosion, in a manner akin to that of Constantin Brancusi or Giorgio Morandi. He seems to focus on the possibility of combining the historical tradition of sculptural language with the interpretations of colour and spatial volume offered by modernity—a fusion in which Italian sculptors were particularly interested in the 1970s. His work occupies a midpoint between Italian Arte Povera, which was intent on re-establishing a particular sense of history, and American Minimalism, which was concerned with the suspension of form. Spalletti’s work has been shown at many international exhibition centres, including the Documenta in Kassel, the Münster Sculpture Project and the Venice Biennale. Solo exhibitions of his work have been held at the Musée d’Art Contemporain in Ghent, the Musée Saint Pierre d’Art Contemporain in Lyon, the IVAM Centre del Carme in Valencia, and ”la Caixa” Foundation in Madrid.
Jorge Luís Marzo