Enrico Castellani

Энрико Кастеллани

Enrico Castellani (1930-2017) was an innovative Italian artist known for his monochrome reliefs and hailed by Donald Judd as the “Father of Minimalism.” His works, in their recognizable style, are called Superfici — or “Surfaces”. The technique invented by Castellani involved monochrome reliefs. He drove nails into the bottom frames of the canvases at varying depths and then covered the surfaces with one colour. His work is close in spirit to the avant-garde Studio Zero, which became key to the art community in the late 1950s and early 1960s.


Castellani's monochromatic reliefs stand on a par with the works of Lucio Fontana, who cut his canvases, and Manzoni, who soaked the base with a kaolin solution. 


“White for me is not a colour, but its absence. In my works, I try to be as objective as possible. The works exist on their own, they are not intended to convey any message,” shared the artist, who chose white after lengthy experiments with other monochrome shades, including black.


Castellani was born in the town of Castelmassa, near Venice. In his youth he moved to Belgium, and after initial courses in painting and sculpture, he graduated in architecture from the Ecole nationale supérieure des arts visuels de La Cambre in Brussels. Castellani returned to Italy in the mid-1950s, and worked for several years in the studio of the architect Franco Buzzi in Milan.

Castellani is one of the artists who explored art for art's sake. His works are shown at the most prestigious venues — Florence's Palazzo Strozzi, New York's Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Palazzo Grassi, Fondazione Prada galleries, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Guggenheim Museum in New York and the Triennale in Milan, Madrid's Reina Sofia Art Center and the Paris Center Georges Pompidou. He took part in numerous international art forums: Venice Biennale (2003, 1993, 1984, 1966, 1964), Documenta IV (1968), Sao Paulo Biennale (1965). In 2010, he received the highest honor in art from Prince Hitachi, honorary patron of the Japan Art Association: the Imperial Painting Prize. In 1997, 2001 and 2006, Galleria Fumagalli in Bergamo held three solo exhibitions dedicated to the artist’s work.