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2 September 1952|
Monte Castello di Vibio, Italy
|Known for||Painting, sculpture|
|Movement||Scuola di San Lorenzo or New Rome school|
Ceccobelli was born in Montecastello di Vibio, a small village in Umbria. His family soon moved to Todi. 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.
Ceccobelli's art, which in some ways is similar to the Italian artist Alberto Burri (also from Umbria), and shares characteristics of Arte Povera, is part of a more general "return to painting" typical of the transavanguardia movement.
However, through the study of theosophy, alchemy, and oriental philosophies, Ceccobelli came to a spiritual and sacral symbolism. 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 1975, he first took part in 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. He also participated in two group exhibitions at La Stanza, an independent space self-managed by young artists.
In the early 1980s, Ceccobelli and other artists settled in the former Pastificio Cerere, a large abandoned industrial space located in the San Lorenzo quarter in Rome. The group, known as the New Roman School or San Lorenzo Workshop, 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 the following years he had a number of international exhibitions: in 1979, at the Festival of Italian Culture in Belgrade and, subsequently, group exhibitions in France, Germany, and Croatia. At Yvon Lambert in Paris he exhibited Morpheus, "a work which was divided into different elements, linked together by a symbolic cohesion". In 1980 he was invited to the Biennale des Jeunes in Paris, and, in 1981, he was invited to show his works by Ugo Ferranti (Rome) and Ivon Lambert (Paris). In 1983 he had a solo exhibition at Salvatore Ala in New York. In 1984 Achille Bonito Oliva curated the exhibition Ateliers, in which the artists living in the 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. In 1986 he was invited for the second time to the Venice Biennale, in the Art and Alchemy section curated by the art critic Arturo Schwarz.
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By the end of the 1980s Ceccobelli had several international exhibitions, including in New York in 1985 at the Gian Enzo Sperone Westwater. He had three exhibitions in 1988: in New York at the Jack Shainmann, in Rome at the Centro Culturale Ausoni, and in Madrid at the Mar Estrada Gallery. For these exhibitions the Italian art critic Italo Mussa edited the first systematic catalogue:[clarification needed] Le figure, le case, i pozzi, ovvero La vita delle Ombre nei Recinti Sacri (De Luca Editori d'Arte, Rome, 1988). In 1989 Ceccobelli had showings 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. In 1996 he was invited to La Quadriennale di Roma, and in 1999 to the Arturo Schwarz curated exhibition, Trascorsi d'Asfalto, at the Guastalla Gallery in Livorno. In the same year he won the contest "Project Art Rome", consisting of decorating a Rome metro station: his creation was a large mosaic at the EUR Fermi station. The year 2000 opened up with the creation of, on the occasion of its Jubilee, the bronze doors of the Terni Cathedral. In 2002 he held the exhibition Classico Eclettico at the Archaeological Museum of Villa Adriana in Tivoli, where some of his marble sculptures and other works interacted with artifacts of the classical Roman period. In 2004 he created the mosaic “Eternity is the true healer” in Gibellina.
In 2005 he was appointed Director of the Academy of Fine Arts in Perugia, but left after one year to devote himself entirely to his artistic production. In 2006 he exhibited marble sculptures in Pietrasanta and Verona, and participated in the exhibition San Lorenzo at the Villa Medici in Rome. In 2007 he produced the installation Longa marcia post-temporale at the Volume! Foundation in Rome. In 2008 he created the installation Invasi, which was shown at the Pastificio Cerere, which represented man's spirit encased a mortal vessel.
In 2009 he created the installation Attici Unici at the L'Attico Gallery. Each visitor was invited to enter into large bags hanging from the ceiling, interacting with them by exploring the symbolic meaning of the four elements (water, air, earth and fire). He also took part in Natalis in Urbe, with an installation inside the Basilica S. Maria sopra Minerva in Rome. Also 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 that group. The exhibition catalogue, was published by Silvana Editorale and edited by Daniela Lancioni.
In 2010 he held the exhibition San Lorenzo: Limen, la soglia dell'arte in Rome, curated by Achille Bonito Oliva, and he took part in the XVI Biennial of Contemporary Religious Art organized by the Stauròs Foundation. In the same year R. Rodriguez curated the exhibition In carta sogni. Opere su carta 1980-2010, which, for the first time, gave a systematic presentation of Ceccobelli's main graphic works. In recent years, after a career spent almost entirely in Rome, Ceccobelli has returned to Todi, where he lives in an old watchtower dating to the eleventh century.
Since the beginning of his career, Ceccobelli has accompanied his artistic work with literary writings, which have been 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.
Museums and private collections
- The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) - New York
- Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig (mumok) - Vienna
- Museo d'Arte Contemporanea di Roma (MACRO) - Roma
- Museum of Fine Arts, Boston - Boston
- Groninger Museum - Groningen
- Palazzo della Farnesina - Collezione Farnesina Experimenta - Rome
- Museo di Portofino - Portofino
- Museo dello Splendore
- Collezione Maramotti - Reggio Emilia
- Fabbrica Borroni
- Merano Arte im Haus der Sparkasse
- Collezione Banca Intesa San Paolo
- Collezione Unicredit Group
- Maon - Museo dell'Arte dell'Otto e del Novecento
- Banca di Credito Cooperativo di Calcio e Covo
- La Serpara, Civitella d’Agliano, Italy
- "Biography". Bruno Ceccobelli. Archived from the original on 23 November 2014. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
- 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.
- http://www.artcollection.unicreditgroup.eu/ work: "Feuchter Hirsch, 1985"
- 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.