Luciano Fabro
BornNovember 20, 1936
Turin, Italy
DiedJune 22, 2007 (aged 71)
Milan, Italy
Known forSculpture, Literature
MovementArte Povera

Luciano Fabro (November 20, 1936 – June 22, 2007) was an Italian sculptor, conceptual artist and writer associated with the Arte Povera movement.


Fabro was born in Turin, and he moved to Udine, in the Friuli region after his father's death. He was influenced by artists such as Yves Klein, and Lucio Fontana; he was also close to the artists involved in Azimut, such as Piero Manzoni and Enrico Castellani.[1] In 1958, after he saw Fontana's work at Venice Biennale, Fabro moved to Milan where he spent the rest of his life pursuing his artistic career.[2]

Fabro was involved in the Arte Povera group, which was interested in experimenting with industrial and natural materials, focusing on process, language and the body. Fabro's best known works were sculptural reliefs of Italy made out of glass, steel, bronze, gold and even soft leather. The signature unorthodox, 'poor' materials in his works include steel tubes, cloth, newspapers, and wax;[3] the artist, however, often used also traditional and expensive art materials such as gold, marble, and bronze.[4]

He died on 22 June 2007 in Milan following a heart attack.[2]

La doppia faccia del cielo (1986)


One of Fabro's first pieces was called Tubo da mettere tra i fiori (Tube to place among flowers), 1963. It was a site-specific installation designed for a Milanese garden, even if it was never displayed there; it was made of telescopic steel tubes.[5] He made several works that deal with steel tubes in dialogue with basic physical laws of nature.[6] In 1965 he had his first solo show, at the Galleria Vismara, in Milan, where he combined mirror pieces with spatial lines.[7] Around 1966, he began to make performative works such as Indumenti: posaseni, calzari, bandoliera (Garments: bra, boots, cross-belt), 1966; Allestimento Teatrale (Cube di specchi) Theatrical Staging (Cube of Mirrors), 1967-1975; and Pavimento/Tautologia (Floor/ Tautology), 1967.[6]

In 1967, Fabro had a group show called Arte Povera e Im Spazio, which was a show in Genoa featuring artists such as Giulio Paolini, Pino Pascali, and Jannis Kounellis. There Fabro began to expand his response to unorthodox materials such as marbles and silks. Beginning in 1968, he produced a series of works that dealt with Italy,[8] which included Italia rovesciata (Overturned Italy), 1968. This work was inspired by a geographical shape of the country or the familiar form of Italy.[7]

... My 'Italys' are bound to iconography with a very slender thread, which is the case because the image of 'Italy' is an image that is inferred, a graphic image. This is the reason for choosing a refraction of the form which could tend towards the infinite. Italy exist as an image which prompts someone's recognition, as an image for someone who is some way feels connected to it and has something to do with the symbol which is its moral reduction: the reduction of the to[clarification needed] a graphic form.[9]

In 2013, it was widely reported that one of his works, Impronta (1962-1964), was accidentally knocked over and smashed by a journalist from Radiotelevisione svizzera, while it was on display at the Meno Uno gallery in Lugano, Switzerland. The journalist was reported to have been intoxicated.[10]



See also


  1. ^ Zevi, Adachiara (2006). Peripezie del dopoguerra nell'arte italiana. Turin: Einaudi. p. 290.
  2. ^ a b Luciano Fabro, Italian Artist, Dies at 70 by Randy Kennedy, «The New York Times», July 3, 2007.
  3. ^ On Fabro's use of wax, see: Sharon Hecker. “Sealed Between Us. The Role of Wax in Luciano Fabro's Tu.” Oxford Art Journal 36:1 (March 2013): 13-38.
  4. ^ "Fabro, Luciano in Oxford Art Online". Oxford University Press. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
  5. ^ Christov-Bakargiev, Carolyn (1999). Arte Povera. London: Phaidon. p. 98.
  6. ^ a b Christov-Bakargiev, Carolyn (1999). Arte Povera. London: Phaidon. pp. 99–105. ISBN 978-0-7148-45 56-2.
  7. ^ a b group=Tate>Gale, Matthew. "Luciano Fabro/ Tate". Oxford University Press, New York. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  8. ^ Sharon Hecker. “If the Boot Fits…Luciano Fabro's Italie.” In G. Gazzola, guest ed., Italy from Without. Forum Italicum 47: 2 (August 2013): 431-462.
  9. ^ Christov-Bakargiev, Carolyn (1999). Arte Povera. London: Phaidon. p. 246. ISBN 978-0-7148-4556-2.
  10. ^ Day, Michael (9 September 2013). "Inebriated journalist dubbed 'Swiss Mr Bean' reaches for canapé and smashes priceless artwork". The Independent. London. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
  11. ^ Autunno on «» URL retrieved 25 November 2009.
  12. ^ 15th Rome Quadrennial of Art[permanent dead link] at Palazzo delle Esposizioni website. URL retrieved 25 November 2009.