Ugo Nespolo

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Ugo Nespolo
Nespolo urbano.JPG
Urbano (40 x 30, acrylic colours on wood) is the painting created and chosen by Ugo Nespolo for the exhibition Homage to Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Torino, Italy, 2010
Born (1941-08-29) 29 August 1941 (age 77)
EducationAccademia Albertina di Belle Arti, Turin
Known forPainting, Sculpture

Ugo Nespolo (born 29 August 1941 in Mosso, Biella) is an Italian painter and sculptor, particularly known for his experimental films, his applied arts works and his artistic collaborations in advertising, theatre and literature.

Life and works[edit]

Nespolo graduated at the Accademia Albertina di Belle Arti of Turin with Enrico Paulucci and obtained a degree in Modern Literature at the University of Turin, with a thesis on Semiology.[1]

His career as an artist started in the 1960s and his work was influenced by Pop Art, which was becoming popular in Italy in those years, conceptual art, Arte Povera and Fluxus. he met and appreciated these movements during his frequent trips to the United States. After the first trip in 1967, he regularly visited the States, where he spent long periods especially during the 1980s.[2][3] Since then, irony and transgression are part of his art and characterise Nespolo's work in the years to come.[4] Since 2010 he has been member of the Honour Committee of Immagine & Poesia, an artistic literary movement founded in Turin, with the patronage of Aeronwy Thomas (Dylan Thomas's daughter).[5] In 2016 he signed the pptArt Manifesto[6][7], an international art movement that promote many notable initiatives like the Corporate Art Awards.


In mid 1960s Nespolo started to work for artistic and experimental cinema. His first movie is Grazie, mamma Kodak in 1966. His friends and artists, such as Lucio Fontana, Enrico Baj, Michelangelo Pistoletto and others, appeared in his films. The film A.G. (1968) documents the visit in Turin of Allen Ginsberg.[3] In 2001 he directed Film/a/TO, interpreted by Edoardo Sanguineti. Nespolo's films have been exhibited in institutions like the Beaubourg in Paris, the Philadelphia Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw's Filmoteka Polska and Ferrara's Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna[citation needed]. The activity in this field has been particularly intense during the 1970s and the 2000s (decade). He has done about twenty films over forty years.[3]

Applied arts[edit]

Example of a special packaging created by Nespolo for the 150th anniversary of Gianduiotto

In the 1980s, Nespolo made ceramics and blown glass objects, created over fifty posters for exhibitions and other events, did advertising campaigns – the ones for Campari and Azzurra are the most famous[2] – and realised title sequences for shows on the Italian television RAI. In 2002, Nespolo was appointed artistic coordinator for the Metropolitana di Torino, with the aim of realising the first "underground museum of modern art". Several underground stations are decorated with his glass etchings and images.[8]


In 1986 Nespolo had the possibility of designing the stage sets for Ferruccio Busoni’s opera Turandot at Connecticut Grand Opera, Stamford, the first of several theatre works he made in the following years, such as the sets and costumes for Paisiello's Don Chisciotte at the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma in 1990[9] and for Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore, a production for the Rome Opera, the Paris Opera and the Lausanne Opera, Liège and Metz in 1995.[10] In 2007, he designed stage and costumes for Puccini's Madama Butterfly at the Festival Puccini 2007 in Torre del Lago.[11]

Palio and traditions[edit]

Nespolo was appreciated also for his work with Palios. In 1998, he was committed the Palio for the Giostra della Quintana, Ascoli Piceno.[12] In 2000, he was awarded for his work for Palio di Asti[13] and in 1991 and 2009 for the Palio of the Giostra della Quintana in Foligno.[14] He was chosen to design the Palio (Drappellone or banner) at the Palio dell'Assunta in August 2007.[15]

Selected exhibitions[edit]

Nespolo's works covering his whole production have been presented or hosted in major national and international exhibitions, .

A selected list of exhibitions and venues is the following:

  • Ugo Nespolo, Palazzo Reale Arengario, Milan, 1990
  • International Biennale of Ceramics and Antiques, Faenza Exhibition Center, 1990
  • International Ceramics Festival, Shigaraki Ceramic World, Japan, 1991
  • A Fine Intolerance (Nespolo's paintings and ceramics), Borghi and Co. Gallery, New York, 1992
  • Casa d'Arte Nespolo, Palazzo della Permanenente, Milan, 1995
  • Romanian Ministry of Culture, Bucharest, 1995
  • Le Stanze dell'Arte, Promotrice delle Belle Arti, Turin, 1996
  • National Museum of Fine Arts in Valletta, Malta, 1997
  • Itinerant exhibition, 1997:
  • Rocca Paolina/Spello Villa Fidelia, Perugia, 1999
  • Palazzo Reale, Naples, 2000
  • Turin, berceau du cinéma italien, Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2001
  • 2001 Italy in Japan, Fukui, Japan, 2001
  • International Sculpture at La Mandria, Villa dei Laghi, Venaria Reale (Turin), 2002
  • Itinerant exhibition in Eastern Europe, 2003:
  • Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Paris, 2003
  • International Film Festival of Locarno, Switzerland, 2003
  • Chinese National Museum of Peking, 2003
  • Ciurlionis National Museum of Art, Vilnius, Lithuania, 2004
  • Guang Dong Museum of Art of Guangzhou, Canton, China, 2004
  • Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Moscow, 2004
  • Fine Arts Russian Academy, St. Petersburg, 2004
  • Poldi Pezzoli Museum, Milan, 2005
  • Hong Kong Cultural Centre, Hong Kong, 2005
  • Dentro e Fuori, Museo Nazionale del Cinema of Turin, 2005
  • Museo del Cinema of Turin, 2008
  • Italics, organized with the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 2008
  • 48th Ceramics Exhibition of Castellamonte, 2008
  • Nespolo. Ritorno a casa. Un percorso antologico, Biella, Italy, 2009


Nespolo's filmography includes:[3]

Year Title Note
1966 Grazie, mamma Kodak
1967 Le gote in fiamme
La galante avventura del cavaliere dal lieto volto
1968 Tucci-ucci
Buongiorno, Michelangelo
1973 Con-certo rituale
1975 Un supermaschio
1976 Andare a Roma
1978 Il faticoso tempo della sicurezza (Lo spaccone)
1982 Le porte girevoli
1984 Fontane a Torino ovvero: alla ricerca dello zampillo perduto as actor; director: Luciana Ros
1994 Time after time
2001 Film/a/TO exhibited at Turin, berceau du cinéma italien, Centre Pompidou, Paris
2005 Italiana
Ativa. Un ritratto
Glance. As far as the eye can see
Dentro e fuori. Angelo Pezzana. Un ritratto
2006 La metro a Torino
2007 Superglance
Stefania Belmondo "Più veloce dell’aquila"
Peopling The Palaces at Venaria Reale as actor; director: Peter Greenaway


  1. ^ "Ugo Nespolo, opere recenti e arte in musica". Archived from the original on 13 January 2010.
  2. ^ a b "Special Report - Contemporary Art - Back to the Futurists - Nespolo's World". The New York Times. 28 November 2009. Retrieved 30 January 2011.
  3. ^ a b c d "Ugo Nespolo – Enciclopedia del cinema in Piemonte" (in Italian). Retrieved 30 January 2011.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "L'Obelisco di Nespolo –". Archived from the original on 22 March 2012. Retrieved 30 January 2011.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Nastro, Santa (21 November 2016). "Arte e aziende. Nasce il Manifesto della Corporate Art: lo firmano Ugo Nespolo, Alexander Ponomarev e Fernando De Filippi". Artribune. Rome.
  7. ^ "The pptArt Manifesto".
  8. ^ "" (PDF) (in Italian). Archived from the original (pdf) on 5 June 2006.
  9. ^ Pugliaro, G. (1990). Opera '90. Annuario dell'opera lirica in Italia. EDT srl. p. 254. ISBN 88-7063-088-9.
  10. ^ Pugliaro, G. (1995). Opera '95. Annuario dell'opera lirica in Italia. EDT srl. p. 203. ISBN 88-7063-266-0.
  12. ^ "I Palii e gli artisti" (in Italian). Archived from the original on 22 July 2011.
  13. ^ "2000: Ugo Nespolo" (in Italian). Archived from the original on 18 July 2011.
  14. ^ "Rivincita 2009, il palio di Ugo Nespolo" (in Italian). Archived from the original on 22 July 2011. Retrieved 31 January 2011.
  15. ^ "Il Palio di Siena – Applausi per il Drappellone di Ugo Nespolo" (in Italian). Archived from the original on 22 July 2011.

External links[edit]