Tano Festa (Rome, 1938 – 1988), younger brother of the artist Francesco Lo Savio, attends the Art Institute in Rome, graduating in Artistic Photography in 1957. Two years later he takes part in his first group show, Franco Angeli – Tano Festa – Giuseppe Uncini at La Salita Gallery in Rome, where he also holds his first solo exhibition in 1959.
In 1960 he makes his first monochrome paintings in red, with lines marked out with pieces of paper soaked in the color. This new approach is deemed anti-representational, aniconic, monochrome painting. Soon after, the surface of his paintings is no longer marked out with paper, but rather with wooden slats arranged vertically at irregular intervals.
Tano Festa’s painting has always been filled with expressive energy contaminated by the need to perceive the object of everyday use as the foundation of art: shutters, doors, windows, and mirrors no longer perform their function as objects but, as they are painted, they become artworks. In 1964 he is invited to the Venice Biennale where the two versions of La Creazione dell’Uomo are displayed. In the early 1970s, the artist starts experimenting with new art techniques relying more on the pictorial matter, gesture, and color. The images are still drawn from art history, projected on the canvas but re-proposed in a more fragmented manner.
Among his solo and group exhibitions, we can mention: 5 pittori – Roma 60: Angeli, Festa, Lo Savio, Schifano e Uncini (La Salita Gallery, Rome, 1960); La materia a Roma (La Tartaruga di Plinio De Martiis, Rome, 1962); Vitalità del negativo nell’arte italiana 1960/70 (Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, 1970); Venice Biennale (Venice, 1964; 1978; 1980; 1984; 1993; 1995; 2013); Miraggi (Studio Soligo, Rome, 1981); The Italian Metamorposhis, 1943-1968 (Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1994); Minimalia: An Italian Vision in 20th Century Art (MoMA – Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1999); Italics. Arte Italiana fra Tradizione e Rivoluzione, 1968-2008 (Palazzo Grassi, Fondazione Francois Pinault, Venice, 2008); Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago, Chicago, 2009.