curated by Paola Ballesi

To commemorate forty years since the death of Luigi Sarro, the Istituto Italiano di Cultura in Pretoria in collaboration with the Luigi Di Sarro’s Centre of Documentation for Contemporary Artistic Research, active in Rome since 1981 and dedicated to the artist, and the University of Pretoria Museums presents the exhibition ‘Luigi Di Sarro – World Disclosure’ at the Edoardo Villa Museum, University of Pretoria, Lynwood Rd, Hatfield, from 1 March to 18 May 2018, with the intention to make his multiform artistic production, still considered very topical, better known internationally.
The public exhibition titled World Disclosure features the works of Luigi Di Sarro, is curated by Prof. Paola Ballesi Professor of Aesthetics, former Director of the Academy of Fine Arts of Macerata in Italy. The curator personally met Luigi Di Sarro and wrote about his work. As an artist he focused on the cultural revolution that ripened in the Sixties, thanks to the fertile soil that was tilled by the neo avant-garde, where the radicalism of new artistic trends, from music to theater, to dance and cinema to the figurative arts, made the revolution of scientific and aesthetic paradigms, that opened a new and different vision of the world and things, tangible on a global level. An unexplored horizon in which the figure of Luigi Di Sarro stands out as an excellent interpreter of an era that entrusted the project of a radical change of meaning through the language of art and the distortion of traditional visual codes to the experimentation of “utopian artists” aimed at a renewed close connection between art and life both from a social and individual point of view, with political and existential reflections.

At the base of the concept of the World Disclosure exhibition, that will open on 1 March at 18:00, is the dialogue that flows between the works, mostly sculptural, of two Italian artists of the last century: Luigi Di Sarro and Edoardo Villa. The exhibition is comprised of eight sculptures and twelve enlargements, reproduced from original drawings by Di Sarro in 1972, which are placed side by side with eight sculptures by Villa. Two artistic poetics compared, that enter into direct dialogue with each other, in this way. As such they make people reflect, discuss and reason.

The following day 2 March at 10:00 the curator Paola Ballesi will hold a talk, also titled World Disclosure, at the Merensky Library Auditorium, Hatfield Campus Library of the same University, where she will elaborate on the main topics of the exhibition. In addition to this, to further promote the knowledge of this extraordinary Italian artist, two original prints by Luigi Di Sarro will be donated to the University of Pretoria Museums.

Luigi Di Sarro, born in 1941, showed a marked artistic inclination from a young age. In 1956, while still at high school in Rome, he started attending the copperplate engraving workshop of Carlo Alberto Petrucci and the National Chalcography. In 1958 he attended Accademia Libera del Nudo and in 1959 the Drawing Course at Accademia di Francia. After his classical studies, he cultivated a parallel interest in art and science. In 1967 he obtained a degree in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Rome, where he obtained his diploma in 1972. In 1973 he enrolled in the third year of the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics at the University of Rome, attending various courses including Abstract Algebra held by Lucio Lombardo Radice. He took a teacher’s diploma in Artistic Anatomy and later in Pictorial Disciplines and began teaching at the second Arts High School in Rome. In 1974 he started teaching at Accademia di Belle Arti in Macerata, and 1978 obtained a post teaching Artistic Anatomy at Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome.
In 1978 he dedicated his time to adding to the equipment of his art studio in his house at Lago di Vico (where he decided to establish a school of experimental art), and opened his studio at Via Paolo Emilio 28, Rome, to the public. He called it “MICRON/Studio d’Arte Sperimentale/Foto-Sign-Movement-Sound” (as it states on the plaque which highlights the studio’s aims).
His travels contributed greatly to his education. An excellent knowledge of the German language and literature led him to choose Germany for his first trip in 1960. He perfected his English at the American Academy of Rome and after numerous trips to Germany, Austria, France, England, Tunisia and Egypt, he travelled to the United States in 1971 and in New York attended the Art Students League of Manhattan, perfecting his lithographic technique. In 1975 he went to Japan for a study-trip to Tokyo. Here he carried out a number of silk-screen prints with the technical collaboration of Shigheo Yamaguchi and, on the medical side, deepened his knowledge of acupuncture. He held his first personal exhibition in Rome in 1968, but began to take part in important exhibitions in 1956.
His informed and solitary research became more intense during the 1960s and 1970s. He was a keen experimenter, and in addition to drawing (which he did every day), painting, engraving, sculpture and photography, he also explored the world of sound, performance and more. He died tragically in Rome on 24 February 1979 – due to a fatal mistake in the climate of Italy’s wave of terrorism and the enactment of the Reale Law – leaving a vast artistic production, some works already in museum collections both in Italy and abroad, as well as projects, notes, aphorisms and poetry. In 1981 the “Luigi Di Sarro Documentation Centre for Contemporary Artistic Research” was opened in Rome.

Edoardo Villa (1915–2011) was one of South Africa’s foremost sculptors. He was born in Bergamo, Italy, where he formally studied sculpture at the “Scuola d’Arte Andrea Fantoni” (Andrea Fantoni Art School). While studying sculpture in Milan, Villa was conscripted into the army at the outbreak of World War II. His first experience of South Africa was as a prisoner of war in 1942, where he was interned at the Zonderwater Prisoner of War (POW) Camp outside of Pretoria. After his release, he voluntarily chose to be a naturalised South African and remained to pursue a career as a sculptor practising his abstract sculptural works from his studio in Johannesburg. Villa passed away in Johannesburg at the age of 96 on the 1 May 2011. From his conventional heads and figures of the 1940s, Villa moved progressively through stylized figuration to structural abstraction. The universality of humankind is a theme that dominates his work. His sculptural works of abstract forms, figures and panels form part of many private collections throughout South Africa, and he has held over more than 35 solo exhibitions and participated in 75 group exhibitions. Villa collections are held and curated at several universities such as the University of Pretoria, University of Witwatersrand, and many private collections and art galleries amongst others.

Please contact the Curator, Daniel Mosako, email:
Edoardo Villa Museum, Old Merensky Building, Hatfield, Pretoria
University of Pretoria.
By appointment onto campus please email:
Tel: 012 420 6419/2178/5450