Claudio Costa (artist)

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Claudio Costa (Tirana 1942 – Genova 1995) was one of the most important European Contemporary Artists of the 1970s avant-garde.

Personal life[edit]

Costa was born to Italian parents in Tirana. His family returned to Italy the same year. The artist's first main residence in Italy was at his parent's house in Monleone of Cicagna in Liguria. In 1961, he enrolled in the faculty of Architecture at Milan Polytechnic. His interests in the early 1960s were drawing and informal painting. In 1964, Claudio Costa obtained a grant awarded by the French government to go to Paris and study engraving. In 1965, he married Anita Zerio and in the same year their daughter, Marisol, was born.[1] In the same year he met Marcel Duchamp at the rue Daguerre workshop. He also took part in the May protests in France together with a group of artists, including Pierre Alechinsky, Jorn, Matta, Segui, Silvia Cortazar, and others. In the autumn of the same year, he returned to Italy and began living in Rapallo with his family.

He died suddenly in Genoa on 2 July 1995.


In Costa's artistic production it is possible to distinguish several different periods. He explored "arte povera", poverism in the original Italian movement of Conceptual Art; "paleontologist" and "anthropological art"; "alchemic" art; and activity in the Mental Day Center as an art therapist.

As a member of the Arte Povera movement, Costa's first exhibition took place at the La Bertesca Gallery in Genova, whose Director Francesco Masnata helped introduce Costa in the contemporary art scene. As a poverist artist he produced the famous and rare series of "tele acide", or acid canvases.[2] In this production (1970–1971) he used a new pictorial language of symbolical and magic value of elements and their mixture of materials and acids (glue-earth-bone-blood-acids). Claudio explained the acid canvases writing, "I used three acids and a sulfate; nitric acid, which corroded the support almost immediately, iron chloride which gave a brownish colour, and cupper sulphate, which reminded me of the wonderful color of vine leaves when they are sprayed and which I needed to obtain a light blue base".[citation needed] Beginning in 1971, Claudio Costa investigated the confines between science and art as a paleontologist and anthropologist. He returned to the remote prehistoric past in search of the roots of contemporary man. The work entitled "Museo dell'Uomo" (Museum of Man) began as a summary and condensation of the anthropological study and production of the artist.[3] "Alchemic Art" was represented in his important Exhibition of the Biennale of Venice in 1985, directed by Arturo Schwartz. The idea of the artist was to create a Museum of Alchemy, because art itself is alchemy [4] In 1988, he started working in Psychiatric Hospital in Genoa as an art-therapist. Costa had a large workshop inside the hospital. It was the period of the so-called "Institute for unconscious matter and forms", which exhibited works of patients as well as artists.

Claudio Costa expositions[5][6] were all over the world, here we remember: "La Bertesca" Gallery in Genoa in 1969, 1971 and 1972, Diter Hacher's Avant-Gard Gallery of Berlin in 1971, Biennale of Venice 1972, Biennale of Paris in 1973, Ludwing Galerie of Aachen in 1974, "Project '74" in Cologne, Palazzo Reale of Milan in 1974, Monteghirfo Museum of Active anthropology in 1975, Documenta 6 Museum Fridericianum of Kassel in 1977, Museo Vostell in Càceres of Extremadura in 1978, "Mithos and Ritual" exhibition of Zurig in 1981, Biennale of Venice in 1986, etc.


  1. ^ Angela Madesani. in "Claudio Costa" Museo d'Arte Contemporanea di Genova.Ed. Sandra Solimano. SKIRA, 2000
  2. ^ Sandra Solimano."Claudio Costa" Museo d'Arte Contemporanea di Genova.Ed. SKIRA, 2000
  3. ^ Gualdoni f, Pedrini E. "Prehistoire et Antropologie, GalerieParis, 2000
  4. ^ Schwarz. "Arte e Alchimia. La Biennale" Electa, Milan, 1986.
  5. ^ Ragazzi F. "Delle Magie e dei Miti"Ed. Erga, Genova 1999
  6. ^ Sandra Solimano."Claudio Costa" Museo d'Arte Contemporanea di Genova.Ed. SKIRA, 2000