I’ve been gushing about art in general quite a lot recently, what with Arte Fiera and all, but here’s something much more specific: an exhibition of drawings by Luciano Fabro in Foligno. No sculptures at all. None of those wonderfully solid, physical creations in marble or bronze and no trace of the fragile forms created with a sheet of paper and a tendril of ivy, and not even an Italy in sight, but over 100 works on paper which Fabro never tried to sell but simply gave away to friends and family. Not that these drawings were simply studies for the 3-dimensional art which made him one of the most celebrated exponents of the Arte Povera movement, and not just that. Drawing was an essential conceptual tool in the formal variety of his work, a way of relaying a message, experimenting with shapes, generating an idea.
Stunningly simple or strikingly complex, the drawings reveal a lyrical and even playful aspect of Fabro‘s nature as well as his better-known contemplative side. The catalogue, in a bilingual edition, includes critical texts by people who knew and worked with Fabro but also – art students take note – the four lessons on drawing he gave at Brera Academy. Foligno‘s CIAC, or Italian Contemporary Arts Centre, is a rather wonderful, windowless, corten-steel box structure which sits comfortably between the medieval church of San Francesco and Via del Campanile’s art nouveau-inspired buildings in the little Umbrian town. It’s hosting the exhibition, entitled Disegno In-Opera, until May 4th 2014.