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SATANIC PAINTINGS, A PROJECT FOR ARTFORUM

FOR FOUR DECADES NOW, in his long-term series of paintings—such as “Spazio totale” (Total space, 1952–65) and “Tempo totale” (Total time, 1965–75)—Mario Nigro has explored the relation of space, time, and perception. Music and science, always Nigro’s primary interests, have been consistently translated into the meticulously rendered patterns and permutations of his visual spaces.

Rationalism and Constructivism were Nigro’s constant pictorial and intellectual points of reference—until 1980. That year, with the series called “Terremoto” (Earthquake), he brought into his work a whole new element: passion. Inspired by the lightning striking in the background of Giorgione’s masterpiece The Tempest, a single broken line, dark and angular, cuts abruptly across Nigro’s white canvases. That lightning, for Nigro, separates two antithetical concepts: history—the serene locus of nostalgic memories of

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