Gino Marotta was born in Campobasso in 1935.

At the age of fifteen he moved to Rome, where he came into contact with the artists that animated the Roman scene, from De Chirico to Capogrossi and Turcato.

He based his long artistic career on exploration of new languages and on constant experimentation with new techniques and materials, sharing his researches with the many avant-garde movements that followed one another from the fifties on.

In the fifties he worked out a series of subjects, styles and techniques that were very diversified: encaustics, collages with various materials, and amalgams of sand. The one-man exhibition at the Montenapoleone Gallery in Milan marked his debut in June 1957. Tapestries, encaustics and gauzes were displayed.

At the end of the decade he started new research. In 1959 in Rome at the Appunto Gallery, and in Milan at the Ariete Gallery, he presented Piombi, Allumini e Bandoni (Leads, Aluminiums and Sheets), iron plates removed from Roman huts, which he assembled, in many cases leaving visible the stratifications of the images glued together over the years. With the Bandoni he began a period of research inspired by recovery of found objects and of anything that could be proposed as an aesthetical entity.


In the early sixties, in the laboratories of chemical industries, factories and foundries, he experimented with new materials like polyurethanes and polyesters and he did sculptures using the industrial procedures for production in series.

In 1960, together with Pietro Cascella, Pietro Dorazio, Fabio Mauri, Gastone Novelli, Achille Perilli, Mimmo Rotella and Giulio Turcato, he founded the CRACK group, a transversal movement that proposed to promote a new conception of freedom of expression outside schematism.

A friend of poets like Ungaretti and Cardarelli, he did artistic books with Antonio Delfini, Giorgio Soavi and Emilio Villa.

His vocation for using new materials continued with sculptures in methacrylate, a highly technological artificial material, in total antithesis with materials taken from the natural world. With this cycle of works he developed research serving to grasp the dichotomy between the natural and the artificial. The sheets in methacrylate, bidimensional and transparent, are placed in orthogonal sections that confer tridimensionality on the sculptures and allow the rapid passage of light.

For Marotta methacrylate became a privileged medium. He described it as “the only material that doesn’t degenerate, because it is highly technological.” Transparency, until then an apanage of noble materials like glass, was transferred to this new artificial material. It is the methacrylate itself that produces, almost inevitably, the introduction of light: “I have used the colour light instead of the colour material”, Gino Marotta was to say. In those years he inserted neon light in the works that he displayed in Naturale-Artificiale at Beatrice Monti’s Ariete Gallery in Milan.


From 1967 to 1970 the artist did large ambient works like Bosco Naturale-Artificiale (Natural-Artificial Wood), Nuovo Paradiso (New Heaven), Eden Artificiale (Artificial Eden) in methacrylate and Misura Naturale Cava (Hollow Natural Measure) in fiberglass.

In 1968, during the Teatro delle Mostre a cycle of exhibitions conceived by Plinio de Martiis at the La Tartaruga Gallery in Rome, he displayed Foresta di menta (Forest of mint), a multisensory environment work whose elements help to stimulate all the five senses simultaneously.

In the same year, in the Arte Povera più Azioni Povere event organized by Germano Celant in Amalfi, he participated with Giardino all’italiana (Italian-Style Garden), an intervention with an urban character constituted by bales of hay. The work, inserted in the Azioni Povere section, in the original project should have caught fire, turning into a black line on the tarmac. The passage from tridimensionality to the line did not take place for safety reasons.

In 1969 there was the exhibition 4 artistes italiens plus que nature at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Palais du Louvre, Paris, with Ceroli, Kounellis and Pascali.


Gino Marotta participated in and contributed to the ideation of some of the most significant contemporary Italian art exhibitions: Lo Spazio dell’Immagine (The Space of the Image) in Foligno (1967), Amore mio (My love) at Montepulciano (1970) and Vitalità del Negativo (Vitality of the Negative) in the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome (1970-71). On the subject Pierre Restany writes: “I am convinced that the cultural climate in Rome after the sixties would have been much bleaker without the great thematic inventions of Gino Marotta.”

With the exhibition Amore mio Marotta published research begun at the end of the sixties in which industrial enamels with harsh and violent colours on galvanized or oxidized plates and on methacrylate plates reproduce his loves in the history of art, from Perugino to Titian, from Cranach to Ingres and Hayez or magazine images of pin-ups. In the methacrylate boxes the figures allow materials of different natures to shine through, from cardboard to feathers, from silvered paper to cloths with a folksy taste. All of it reveals on one side Marotta’s love for painting, and on the other a vein of irony that constantly accompanies his research.

In 1971 he participated in the exhibitions Elf Italiener Heute at the Museum am Ostwall in Dortmund and Multiples The First Decade at the Museum of Modern Art in Philadelphia and in 1972 in New Italy The Domestic Landscape, MoMA, New York.

He also worked for the cinema and the avant-garde theater. A particularly important experience was Marotta’s collaboration with Carmelo Bene. He did the sculptures-costumes in methacrylate and the scenery for the film Salomé (1972), the theatrical scenography for Nostra Signora dei Turchi (Our Lady of the Turks) (1972) and the scenes and costumes for Hommelette for Hamlet (1987), which in 1988 won him the UBU prize for the best scenery.

In 1977 at the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno in Florence, he displayed Rilievi, anamorphic and virtual images that emerge from a wooden structure.

In the eighties he also turned to more traditional materials like marble, bronze and oil painting, continuing his research on painterly language and on the study of the incidence of light in pictorial works.

From the end of the nineties he did new works in methacrylate.


Artificial light, which had characterized Marotta’s work of the sixties, returned in his works at the beginning of the third millennium. Here light is LED, as in the 2009 work Ricognizione virtuale della savana (Virtual Reconnaissance of the Savannah) and the 2011 environment Cronotopo virtuale (Virtual chronotope).


The artist wrote: “Adopting the principles of fibre optics, digital programs, lasers, LEDs, and coloured filters make it possible to trace out possibly hallucinatory images filled with a luminous temperature that is never picturesque but rather more significantly, optical-spectral (in other words created by the splitting up of the light spectrum), as Balla would have liked for his iridescent compenetrations, if he had had the paraphernalia we have today. The adventure of art is not a trade or a profession, but more probably a way of being, which is linked to the destiny of an art form which allows us to ‘tell’ events and stories in a different way each time.”

In the personal exhibition Gino Marotta, in 2009, at MACRO in Rome, he displayed Eden artificiale, a selection of sculptures in methacrylate, and Ricognizione virtuale della savana (Virtual reconnaissance of the savannah), an installation ten metres long using laser and LED lights.

“His great Ricognizione virtuale della savana (Virtual reconnaissance of the savannah) is a blade of light and colour in a dark room. A great slab on which the artist reconnoitres his own work, arranging on an imaginary and yet physical level the virtual icons of his artistic research, which is transformed into a hypertext”, wrote Luca Massimo Barbero, the curator of the show, in the presentation text.

In 2011, at the 54th Venice Biennial, Italian Pavilion, he displayed Cronotopo virtuale (Virtual chronotope), an environment of coloured light where the images appear to us in all of their virtuality and immateriality. Here, as Marotta says “ … the coloured light, the optical colour, in place of the material colour, takes on a physical dimension …”


“Works with light are linked to an idea of modernity that the artist intends as a free progression of life…”, wrote Laura Cherubini, curator of the exhibition Luci d’artificio (Lights of artifice) in 2011 in Venice.


On 6 October 2012 at GNAM, the National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rome, there was inaugurated the exhibition Gino Marotta Relazioni Pericolose (Gino Marotta Dangerous Liaisons) curated by Laura Cherubini and Angelandreina Rorro, “… it a true and fruitful intellectual relationship was born which produced a ‘non-show show’, a path we can cover following the one already traced by Marotta.

A dangerously alive liaison between people with different roles and a common goal: to check the viability of the museum space and of its collections rereading them through the eyes of one of the central figures of the late twentieth century and contemporary art scene.

For about a year there was a flow of notes, meetings, confrontations between Gino Marotta, Isa Francavilla Marotta, Laura Cherubini, Angela Rorro and the superintendent Maria Vittoria Marini Clarelli who shared the idea of a route and made its realization possible”, the curators wrote.

On 16 November 2012 Gino Marotta died in Rome.

On 9 February 2013, at the National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rome, there was held the day Per Gino Marotta, Incontro di studio (For Gino Marotta, a study meeting). It was chaired by Maria Vittoria Marini Clarelli, Maurizio Calvesi, Laura Cherubini and Bruno Corà. Among the many testimonies there were those of the following people: Lorenzo Canova, Barbara Martusciello and Raffaele Gavarro. On that occasion Maretti published the book by Gino and Isa Marotta Lettere. CorRispondenze di arte e di vita (Letters. Correspondences of art and life).


Numerous writers and art critics have dealt with his work and his artistic thought, including the following: Bruno Alfieri, Vito Apuleo, Alberto Arbasino, Flavio Arensi, Iolena Baldini (Berenice), Paola Ballesi, Guido Ballo, Luca Massimo Barbero, Renato Barilli, Giorgio Battistelli, Andrea Bellini, Fabio Belloni, Fortunato Bellonzi, Carmine Benincasa, Ilaria Bernardi, Achille Bonito Oliva, Giuliano Briganti, Palma Bucarelli, Rossana Buono, Maurizio Calvesi, Lorenzo Canova, Luciano Caramel, Luigi Carluccio, Flavio Caroli, Toti Carpentieri, Cesare Casati, Germano Celant, Laura Cherubini, Bruno Corà, Claudio Crescentini, Enrico Crispolti, Fabrizio D’Amico, Guido Davico Bonino, Mario de Candia, Jole de Sanna, Gillo Dorfles, Maurizio Fagiolo dell’Arco, Flavio Fergonzi, Alberto Fiz, Raffaele Gavarro, Maurizio Grande, Emilia Granzotto, Walter Guadagnini, John Hart, R. C. Kenedy, Giorgio Kaisserlian, Udo Kultermann, Gian Piero Jacobelli, Renzo Marchelli, Giuseppe Marchiori, Maria Vittoria Marini Clarelli, Gianluca Marziani, Lara Vinca Masini, Ada Masoero, Giulia Massari, Lea Mattarella, Filiberto Menna, Dario Micacchi, Federica Pirani, Giancarlo Politi, Elena Pontiggia, Paolo Portoghesi, Domenico Porzio, Ludovico Pratesi, Franco Purini, Franco Quadri, Emilio Radius, Pierre Restany, Angelandreina Rorro, Antonello Rubini, Franco Russoli, Adriana Sartogo, Edoardo Sassi, Giuseppe Sciortino, Vittorio Sgarbi, Franco Simongini, Leonardo Sinisgalli, Rodolfo Siviero, Giorgio Soavi, Tommaso Trini, Alessandra Troncone, Lorenza Trucchi, Marco Valsecchi, Lionello Venturi, Emilio Villa, Maurizio Vitta, Cesare Vivaldi and many others.



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