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2 September 1952|
Montecastello di Vibio, Todi, Italy
|Known for||Painting, Sculpture|
|Movement||Scuola di San Lorenzo – New Rome School|
Bruno Ceccobelli was born in Montecastello di Vibio, a small village in Umbria. His family soon moved to Todi and the town became his genius loci. After completing part of his school career, he moved to Rome, where he attended the Academy of Fine Arts under Toti Scialoja’s guidance, from whom he learned the theory and practice of abstraction. His art, which in some ways can be considered an inheritance from the Italian artist Alberto Burri, also from Umbria, and sharing some of Arte Povera characters, is part of a more general return to painting typical of his artistic generation (for example the Transavanguardia movement). However, through the study of theosophy, alchemy and oriental philosophies, Bruno Ceccobelli came to a spiritual and sacral symbolism, that differentiates him from the currents mentioned above. In this regard, he wrote: "I do not want to be a market-fan artist, but to belong to all times, and this is why I believe in a foreseeing art, not just historical or literary or sociological or stylistic. I believe in a symbolic art, capable to offer a message and to pacify the world". In the early 1980s, along with other artists, he settled in the former Pastificio Cerere, a large abandoned industrial space located in the San Lorenzo quarter (Rome). The group, known as New Roman School or San Lorenzo Workshop, also included Piero Pizzi Cannella, Marco Tirelli, Giuseppe Gallo, Gianni Dessì, Nunzio Di Stefano and Domenico Bianchi. The Italian art critic Achille Bonito Oliva wrote that these artists were "all bearers of individual poetics and all streams towards a common aesthetic mentality and a moral vision of art". In 1975 he took part for the first time to a group exhibition in the Town Hall of Albach (Austria) and, two years later, he had his first solo exhibition at the “Alternative Space” Gallery in Rome, where he exhibited works of conceptual art and participated in two group exhibitions at “La Stanza”, an independent space self-managed by young artists.
In the following years he had a number of international exhibitions: in 1979 at the Festival of Italian Culture in Belgrade and, subsequently, some group exhibitions in France, Germany and Croatia. In particular, at Yvon Lambert in Paris he exposed Morpheus, "a work divided into different elements, which are linked together by a symbolic cohesion".
In 1980 he was invited to the Biennale des Jeunes in Paris, and later on he was invited by Ugo Ferranti (Rome) and Ivon Lambert (Paris) (1981). In 1983 he had his solo exhibition at Salvatore Ala in New York.
In 1984 Achille Bonito Oliva curated the exhibition Ateliers, in which the artists living in “Pastificio Cerere” opened their ateliers to the public. It was the consolidation of the San Lorenzo Group on the international art scene. In the same year, Ceccobelli was invited to the Venice Biennale, joining the Aperto '84 section.
The 1980s end up with many international exhibitions: in 1985 in New York, at Gian Enzo Sperone Westwater and in 1988 with a triple exhibition: in New York at Jack Shainmann, in Rome at Centro Culturale Ausoni, and in Madrid at Mar Estrada Gallery. For these exhibitions the Italian art critic Italo Mussa edited the first systematic catalogue: Le figure, le case, i pozzi, ovvero La vita delle Ombre nei Recinti Sacri (De Luca Editori d'Arte, Rome 1988). In 1989 Bruno Ceccobelli was in Paris (Yvon Lambert), London (Mayor Rowan) and Barcelona (Thomas Carstens). The 1990s started with exhibitions in Germany, Austria, Canada and Italy. In 1994 he was invited to give a training course at the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Artes in Senegal, an experience that would leave a deep influence in his life, showing him once again the value of simple life and the exasperations of modern civilization. In 1996 he was invited to La Quadriennale di Roma, and in 1999 Arturo Schwarz curates the exhibition Trascorsi d'Asfalto at the Guastalla Gallery in Livorno. In the same year he wins the contest "Project Art Rome", consisting in decorating Rome metro station: he realized a large mosaic at EUR Fermi station. The year 2000 opens up with the creation, on the occasion of the Jubilee, of the bronze doors of the Terni Cathedral. In 2002 he held the important exhibition Classico Eclettico at the Archaeological Museum of Villa Adriana in Tivoli, where some of his marble sculptures and other works interact with artifacts of the classical Roman period. In 2004 he created in Gibellina the mosaic “Eternity is the true healer”, side by side with the tormented Sicilian land, with works of numerous protagonists of contemporary art.
In 2005 he was appointed Director of the Academy of Fine Arts in Perugia, but after one year he left the charge in order to devote himself entirely to the artistic production. In 2006 he exhibited sculptures in marble in Pietrasanta and Verona, and he participated in the exhibition San Lorenzo at Villa Medici in Rome. In 2007 he produced the installation Longa marcia post-temporale at Volume! Foundation in Rome. In 2008 he created the installation Invasi, which was exposed at Pastificio Cerere, in which he reminds us that man is a spirit encased in a body vessel and, therefore, inveselled since his origins by the divine. In 2005 he was appointed Director of the Academy of Fine Arts in Perugia, but after one year he left the task in order to devote himself entirely to the artistic production. In 2006 he exhibited marble sculptures in Pietrasanta and Verona, and he participated in the exhibition San Lorenzo at Villa Medici in Rome. In 2007 he produced the installation “Longa marcia post-temporale" at Volume! Foundation in Rome. In 2008 he created the installation “Invasi”, which was exposed at Pastificio Cerere, in which he reminds us that man is a spirit encased in a body vessel and, therefore, “inveselled” since his origins by the divine.
In 2009 he proposed the installation Attici Unici at L'Attico Gallery held by Fabio Sargentini. Each visitor was invited to enter into large bags hanging from the ceiling, interacting with them on a path that led them to explore the symbolic meaning of the four elements (water, air, earth and fire), that led them to human wholeness. He also took part to Natalis in Urbe with an installation inside the Basilica S. Maria sopra Minerva (Rome). In 2009 the Museum of Contemporary Art MaRT of Rovereto presented the first retrospective exhibition dedicated to the Officina San Lorenzo, which traced the history of one of the most vital artistic groups of the last part of the twentieth century. The exhibition catalogue, accompanied by texts and a large critical apparatus, was published by Silvana Editorale and edited by Daniela Lancioni.
In 2010 he held in Rome the exhibition San Lorenzo: Limen, la soglia dell'arte, curated by Achille Bonito Oliva, and he takes part to the XVI Biennial of Contemporary Religious Art organized by the Stauròs Foundation. In the same year R. Rodriguez curated the significant exhibition In carta sogni. Opere su carta 1980-2010, which for the first time gave a systematic presentation of Bruno Ceccobelli's main graphic works. In recent years, after a career spent almost entirely in Rome, Bruno Ceccobelli has decided to return to Montemolino (Todi), where he lives in an old watchtower dating back to the eleventh Century.
Since the beginning of his career Bruno Ceccobelli has accompanied his artistic work with literary writings, that now are collected into four books:
- L'arte del possibile reale, ed. by L. Marucci, Stamperia dell'Arancio, Grottammare-Ascoli Piceno 1994;
- Color Bellezza, ed. by N. Micieli, Il Grandevetro-Jaca Book, Pisa 2002;
- Tempo senza tempo della pittura, De Luca Editori d'Arte, Roma 2005;
- Gratiaplena. Economia della grazia, ed. by M. Bastianelli, Effe Fabrizio Fabbri Editore, Perugia 2008, 2011.
His ideas bring vital lymph towards his artistic works and, at the same time, substance them. They are all focused on the rescue of a full spirituality, according to which each man is seen both as a part and the synthesis of a natural universe crossed by cycling and re-cycling energies. Recently such concept has gained accuracy thanks to the influence of the Christian doctrine of Grace, considered from the point of view of a particular naturalism that feeds the idea of a possible appearance of a new economy based on the gift. Under this perspective, the artist has the chance to bring a message, which is in some ways prophetic, and, thanks to his spiritual vision, he allows us to imagine and to draw a new society formed by “uomini minimi” linked together by symbols (an idea that he takes from father Jacopone da Todi’s “nichilitate”). "In the State of Grace", Bruno Ceccobelli writes in Gratiaplena, "there will be no more economy, it will be replaced by abundance: in the art of subsistence, in which the true richness and power are generosity and virtue, there is the gift, abundance for everybody"
Bruno Ceccobelli in museums and private collections
- The Museum of Modern Art (New York) MOMA di New York http://www.moma.org/
- Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig (Vienna) MUMOK di Vienna http://www.mumok.at/
- Museo di arte contemporanea (Roma) MACRO http://museomacro.org/it/piedi-sul-cielo-1998
- Museum of Fine Arts Boston http://www.mfa.org/collections/object/paralleli-314398
- Groninger Museum - Groninger http://collectie.groningermuseum.nl/detail.aspx#245
- Collezione Farnesina http://www.1stmuse.com/collezione.php
- Museo di Portofino http://www.museodiportofino.it/opere/Ceccobelli.htm
- Museo dello Splendore http://www.museodellosplendore.it/index.php?filename=ceccobelli.htm
- Collezione Maramotti http://www.collezionemaramotti.org/it/Gli-Artisti
- Fabbrica Borroni http://www.fabbricaborroni.it/elenco-artisti.html
- Merano Arte im Haus der Sparkasse http://www.kunstmeranoarte.org/uploads/media/03BrunoCeccobelli_03.jpg
- Collezione Banca Intesa San Paolo http://www.bancaintesaarteecultura.com/template5_new.asp
- Collezione Unicredit Group http://www.artcollection.unicreditgroup.eu/ work: "Feuchter Hirsch, 1985"
- Maon - Museo dell'Arte dell'Otto e del Novecento http://www.maon.it
- Banca di Credito Cooperativo di Calcio e Covo http://www.bcccalciocovo.it/template/default.asp?i_menuID=19792
- Gramiccia, Roberto (2005). La nuova scuola romana. I sei di via degli Ausoni. Rome: Editori Riuniti. pp. 67–68.
- Lottini, Otello (2003). Classico eclettico. Rome: Il Cigno. p. 54.
- Gigliotti, Guglielmo (2011). Sei storie romane. Rome: Edizioni Carte Segrete. p. 19.
- Bonito Oliva, Achille (2009). Stati di grazia nella Scuola di San Lorenzo. Milan: Silvana Editoriale. p. 13.
- Lancioni, Daniela (2009). Gli artisti di San Lorenzo. Milan: Silvana Editoriale. p. 33.
- Lancioni, Daniela (2009). Italia Contemporanea. Officina San Lorenzo. Milan: Silvana Editoriale.
- B. Ceccobelli, Gratiaplena. Economia della Grazia, ed. by M. Bastianelli, Effe Fabrizio Fabbri Editore, Perugia 2011, p. 56
- R. Gramiccia, La Nuova Scuola Romana. I sei artisti di via degli Ausoni, Editori Riuniti, Rome 2005.
- O. Celestino, 11 Storie. Pastificio Cerere andata e ritorno, Carlo Cambi Editore, Poggibonsi 2007.
- D. Lancioni (a cura), Italia Contemporanea. Officina San Lorenzo, texts by G. Belli, A. Bonito Oliva, D. Lancioni, F. Bacci, N. De Pisapia and M. De Pilati. With a bibliographical apparatus by P. Bonani; catalogue of the exhibition at the Museum Mart in Rovereto, from 16 May to 27 September 2009; Silvana Editoriale, Milan 2009.
- D. Guzzi, Sul filo della memoria, ENPALS-Editori Laterza, Bari 2010.
- G. Gigliotti, Sei storie. Tirelli, Pizzi Cannella, Ceccobelli, Nunzio, Gallo, Dessì, Edizioni Carte Segrete, Rome 2011.
- Fondazione Pastificio Cerere
- Bruno Ceccobelli Home Page
- Fulvio Abbate on Bruno Ceccobelli
- Le Alchimie di Bruno Ceccobelli – interview in the Artist’s atelier
- Conversation between L. Lo Pinto and Mario Diacono
- Arturo Carlo Quintavalle in “Corriere della Sera”, 2007
- Ceccobelli photographed by Chris Felver
- Ceccobelli photographed by Aurelio Amendola
- Ceccobelli photographed by Ottavio Celestino
- Ceccobelli photographed by Stefano Fontebasso de Martino