From 13 January to 6 February 2022, the National Museum of Modern Art in collaboration with the Marinko Sudac Collection is showcasing the exhibition of Lucia Di Luciano & Giovanni Pizzo “Programmed Art”. Conceived by art historian and critic Ješa Denegri, the exhibition will present nine paintings by Italian artists Lucia Di Luciano and Giovanni Pizzo from the Marinko Sudac Collection, created in the period from 1964 to 1967. This artist couple has been working together since the early 1960s, and in 1965 they participated in the exhibition New Tendency 3, at the Gallery of Contemporary Art in Zagreb. On that occasion, Lucia Di Luciano showed her work ‘Operative Structure N – 15’, from 1965, while Giovanni Pizzo showcased his work ‘Sign – gestalt No 11’ created in 1964. “It is precisely terms such as “objectivity”, “science”, “technical elaboration”, “system” and “method” that directly refer to the approach and concept of art created by the couple Di Luciano – Pizzo within a typically Italian phenomenon called arte programmata. – writes Ješa Denegri in the foreword to the exhibition catalogue.

Lucia Di Luciano (b. 1933, Syracuse) attended the Academy of Fine Arts and was a member of L'Associazione Artistica Internazionale in Rome. She had her first solo exhibition in 1965 at the Numero Gallery in Rome. Giovanni Pizzo (b. 1934, Veroli) attended the Academy of Fine Arts and the French Academy in Rome. He had his first solo exhibition in 1958 at La Fontanina Gallery in Syracuse. Di Luciano and Pizzo met in 1956 at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome and were married in 1959. Together they founded the Gruppo 63 (1963), which included another artist couple – Lia Drei and Francesco Guarnerri. The group was characterized by artistic research based on logical-mathematical principles that ultimately endeavoured to unite art, architecture and industrial design. The group exhibited together in Rome, Florence and Livorno, and it disbanded in September 1963. Immediately thereafter Di Luciano and Pizzo founded the group Operativo R (1963 – 1968), which included Franco di Vito and Carlo Carchietti. Creating works with pronounced rigidity, the group followed the precise theoretical principles of the scientific-logical field. Lucia Di Luciano and Giovanni Pizzo were part of the Programmed Art (arte programmata) movement, and some of the most prominent art critics of the time, such as Giulio Carlo Argan, Umbro Appolonio, Lea Vergine, Palma Bucarelli, Giancarlo Politi and others, wrote about their work.
Giovanni Pizzo also co-founded the Spazio Documento cultural association, which has been active since 1981. 
In 1965, Lucia Di Luciano and Giovanni Pizzo participated in the New Tendencies 3 exhibition in Zagreb.

It is precisely terms such as “objectivity”, “science”, “technical elaboration”, “system” and “method” that directly refer to the approach and concept of art created by the couple Di Luciano – Pizzo within a typically Italian phenomenon called arte programmata. We owe the concept and meaning of the term “Programmed Art” (arte programmata) to Umberto Eco who first introduced it into theoretical terminology in the foreword to the eponymous exhibition organized by the Olivetti company in Rome in 1962. Eco interprets the term “Programmed Art” as “a dialectic between chance and programme, between mathematics and hazard, between planned composition and free acceptance of what is yet to happen… Contemporary art has already accustomed us to distinguish between two categories of artists: on the one hand are those who devote themselves to the search for new forms, faithful to an almost Pythagorean ideal of mathematical harmony, who invent forms connected by hidden relations, in order to arrive at poetry through Euclidean or non-Euclidean geometry; on the opposite side are artists who acknowledge the fruitfulness of chance and disorder, certainly not unaware of re-evaluation – made by scientific disciplines – of random and statistical processes, in order to accept any suggestion that would flow freely from the matter itself”. It is noteworthy that the title of the third Zagreb exhibition, which the couple Di Luciano – Pizzo participates in, is New Tendency (singular) instead of New Tendencies (plural) as was the case with the first two exhibitions in 1961 and 1963. The reasons for this can probably be found in the aspiration of the organizers of this exhibition to incorporate only one but therefore strict theoretical orientation into its conceptual foundation (such as Divulgation of the Specimens Examined), as opposed to the theoretically unstable version of American Op-art promoted at The Responsive Eye exhibition in the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1965. But it may also be hidden in the realization of the organizers of the third Zagreb exhibition that after the offensive exhibition of the American phenomena of Neo-Dadaism, Pop Art and New Abstraction at the Venice Biennale in 1964, as well as numerous exhibitions of European phenomena of New Realism, and New and Narrative Figuration, New Tendencies were no longer the only but only one in a series of “new tendencies” on the international art scene in the mid-1960s. ... (Ješa Denegri, excerpt from the exhibition catalogue)

Translation: Robertina Tomić
From the exhibition of Lucia Di Luciano & Giovanni Pizzo “Programmed Art”exhibition set-up. Photo: Goran Vranić © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb

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