New York

Italo Scanga

The Clocktower

Italo Scanga. The name itself conjures up the Mediterranean peninsula. Not the cool, radical chic of the Milanese north, but the starker realities rooted in the age-worn landscape of the Calabrian Sila Massif. But Scanga’s works are anything but worn and barren. They reflect his career during the 1970s, and simultaneously provide this writer with a critical dilemma—intense reaction coupled with a disinclination to put it into words, resisting the necessarily deadening effect that any explanation engenders. To deal with such a powerful attraction is, however, to come close to what Scanga’s work is about—not just personally, but how his work functions, what it means.

The first room held his saintly “restorations”—plaster icons of devotion planed, painted, turned on end, until they can be read as a desecrated pantheon of Catholic nobility or much more mundanely as formal shapes, composed

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