Italo Antico - sculture



"Expansion of the Square"


Where does the bend in a straight line begin?
Where can I locate the precise moment - the infinitesimal or the micro-space - in which it passes from the continuous linear path to a different spatial direction, to arrive at the outward or inward bend, the corner, the curve?
These, perhaps, are the first questions that Italo Antico posed to himself when giving life to his last works: to the linear series of sculptures that, in fact, are so far away from the "all-round quality" of yesterday's statuary, and also from the recent trends of scrap iron, of mechanic-morphology, or of primary structuring.
The sculptor, in fact, - but it would be more correct to say: the sculptural-spatial operator - has tried to develop a unique theme over the last two or three years, within a wide range of works consistent with each other, that is precisely that of spatiality subtended to a linear path, based on a standardized modularity and designed to constitute a situation closed within itself, but still in relation to the space that surrounds it: therefore, a modulation of space through the placing of these sparse skeletal structures within. An operation, moreover, that is linked to those attempted by the artist in previous years with more volumetrically developed elements and a more traditional "sculptural" system, but designed equally as elicitors of rhythm and scans of environmental or even urban space.
Since many of these works - still today in the stages of sketches or small scale models - could acquire their true dimension only if grafted onto the small town or territorial atmosphere, and develop to a far greater extent than is only hinted at today. So, if on the one hand some of these sculptural patterns are reduced copies, models of large sculptural works, they are sometimes also the expansion of a similar form, but miniaturized and reduced to the level of a jewel, while conserving their rhythmic qualities, their kinetic directionality, and their own expressivity.
These brief notes on the last phase of the work of Antico will perhaps clarify the situation of the intense and committed work of the artist from Cagliari, but it is not enough, I think, to explain the vast and complex existential and human backstory.
The "Antico case" is not one of the easiest. The artist was born in Caglairi, but because of various family events spent his childhood in Albania, and was partly educated in Trieste. He returned to his island in the 1950's, and before definitively turning to sculpture, went through various difficult phases, from the experiences as a youth en route to the East and the Americas, as a student of the Nautical Institute; as a patient in a sanatorium in Lombardy, and as an high school art professor. But all of these steps were none other than the equivalents - though suffered more humanely - of many creative stages: like that of the young artist who continually runs from one "master" to another, or like that of a pilgrimage to a Paris, Milan or New York.
Antico, instead, preferred to mature slowly, though autonomously and not through a third party, accumulating technical expertise (from drawings for tapestries and carpets to those for ceramics and jewelry, which gave him an international reputation) and existential experience, neglecting however, the steps that are required of almost every art curriculum today, and which are usually comprised of the assault on personal exhibitions, prizes, contests, collectors, and museums.
That is why his name has only been known, until now, to those few who have come to know his work fortuitously, while we hope and wish that it will soon become known to the wider public, without the support of whom, unfortunately, a artist may lose confidence in himself and in the future of his creative will.

Gillo Dorfles

    Galleria Cadario - Milan - 1972










© Italo Antico -