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Marco Gastini.

Marco Gastini (1938–2018)

The Turin-based painter Marco Gastini, who mined the tensions of his medium with works that mixed self-expression with rigorous methodology, has died. He was eighty years old. Gastini worked adjacent to but apart from the reigning Arte Povera, Conceptualism, and Minimalism movements of his generation and is perhaps best known for rendering his tentative brushstrokes on Plexiglas rather than on a traditional canvas support, beginning in the early 1970s. His experimentations with color, and its absence, led him to be considered a pioneer of Pittura Analitica, or analytical painting. The artist exhibited widely, and his work was the subject of retrospective shows at both the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus in Munich in 1982 and the Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in Turin in 2001. “Painting is felt,” Gastini told an interviewer in 1987. “I am increasingly attracted by things I feel rather than see . . . I get more from pauses, silences, unwritten words, or unplayed notes.”

Born in 1938, Gastini first studied art in his father’s marble-cutting workshop. He graduated from the Accademia Albertina di Belle Arti di Torino, where he concentrated in painting, in 1960 and held his first solo show in 1968. He participated in the Venice Biennale twice—once in 1976 and again in 1982—and began to work with wood, stone, and neon. He continued, surreptitiously, to make his Plexiglas paintings, and these later works will be exhibited from October 19 to November 30 at Progettoarte Elm gallery in Milan. Writing about his work in the 1970s in 2016, Francesa Pola wrote: “Elementary transparency and minimal gestures are fundamental to Gastini’s work from this decade, and the manner in which they relate creates a continuous state of tension that involves the viewer.” As Gastini once put it: “The mystery must always be there, in painting: what can it be that lies there, beyond that half-open door?”

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