Paolo Scheggi. Sheet metal "on the road," 1958-1960 for GDC18

On the occasion of the Eighteenth Day of the Contemporary, Saturday, October 8, 2022, organized by AMACI and dedicated to the theme of ecology, connected to that of sustainability: "global urgencies that confront us with the need to rethink the contemporary art system through a renewed awareness and a more widespread sensitivity," the Paolo Scheggi Association, through its social pages (Facebook and Instagram) and dedicated website, proposes a focus on Paolo Scheggi's early works, the Lamiere (1958-1960).
Perhaps not everyone knows, in fact, that these works, destined to open up and later translate into the deeply excavated forms of the artist's best-known Reflected Zone Intersuperfici and Curved Intersuperfici, were born from discarded materials that Scheggi, since the late 1950s, salvaged from the streets, workshops and among household objects: sheets of metal marked by time that, instead of being thrown away, are bent, overlapped, welded to form sheets charged with perspective.
Scheggi himself calls this working technique "saldage"; these are the years of existentialism and Informalism, marked by his readings of Albert Camus and Jean Paul Sartre, whom the artist knows personally in Rome: the French philosopher will also write an essay for the magazine "Il Malinteso," founded by Scheggi with Florentine friends and comrades in early 1960.

Two exceptional witnesses - Germano Celant and Fernanda Pivano - thus describe Paolo Scheggi's Lamiere:

"[...] He lived there in Settignano, they told me; he was serious and silent, [...] surprised and greedy, impressionable like wax, or to put it more modernly like a 27 Din or 500 Asa film or whatever. [...] then appeared montages of sheets of different colors, different grains, different undulations, different thicknesses. The paintings were many, large and small, and soon they invaded the room, which was increasingly dark, lit by a lamp protected by a metal plate."
(Fernanda Pivano, typewritten text, April 8, 1963)

"1959. Fontana's discovery, the instance of overcoming, the first "open" paintings and the first overlapping sheets.
Fontana's "choice" is accompanied by constructivist influences that lead him immediately to operational control, and from which derive the first juxtapositions of horizontal, formally homogeneous elements to accidental and random elements, often present in the material factor. The composition is already constructed and verified a priori. At the end of the year, a large rectangular composition, in sheet metal of different shades of gray and black. Scheggi, in search of "his" language, feels the need to excavate and open the steel plate: his imagination thus leads him to uncover the space suggested by Fontana's canvas; the lips of the cut open outward and reveal another space, another sheet of metal.
The light, acting on the concavity and convexity of the borders, creates plastic effects, no longer contingent on the space, but participating in it, essential factors in the construction. Light randomness thus becomes an element of "opening" and not closing the work. This object exhibited at the Numero gallery in November 1959, still presents in the lower left part a search for optical contrasts that is related to the first experiences, as if to reiterate the need to open not only spatially but also optically the surface.
1960. Black sheet metal objects: monochrome, with the knowledge of Klein and Manzoni, becomes a fundamental factor in Scheggi's work. The testing of simple forms begins: the theme is dictated by the inferences of the circle with the parabola, or by the serial structuring of equal images. The edging is always present, indeed it dilates, allowing the background to shine through more, which from this year becomes the protagonist of his research."
(Germano Celant, Casabella No. 312, 1967)

Find out more