Tino Stefanoni: The Search for Things

M77 presents, from Tuesday 9 April to Saturday 8 June 2024, the new exhibition project dedicated to the artist Tino Stefanoni (Lecco, 1937-2017), which builds a valuable focus on the artist’s rich and varied production.

The exhibition Tino Stefanoni: The Search for Things traces the artist’s fascinating career throughout the two floors of the gallery. Covering his varied production from the 1960s to the 21st century, the exhibition begins to unfold on the ground floor with strongly graphic historical works that reveal Tino Stefanoni’s meticulous exploration of the everyday objects. The exhibition path continues to the first floor, following the artist’s life-long research into the representation of vegetal and built landscapes, including an immersive, painted installation, Stanza della pittura, which has rarely been exhibited since it was created in 1991. The exhibition is curated by Elizabeth Mangini, Professor of History of Art and Visual Culture at California College of the Arts in San Francisco.

Tino Stefanoni’s early works bear strong connections with avant-garde practices of the 60s and 70s –  Conceptualism, Pop, and Minimalism – but the artist did not adhere to any one movement exclusively. Pursuing his own graphic aesthetic and devotion to material experimentation, Stefanoni created objects that examine our relationships with the things that define our everyday experience. Teacups, funnels, glasses, ladles, and hot water bottles, as well as drafting tools like pens, pencils, and compasses, dominate the artist’s visual language for more than a decade. He also experimented with a wide variety of materials and processes – such as panel, canvas, iron, and plastics. Series such as Tables, Raw Canvases, or Lists of Things reveal the artist’s creative process, which invests even the most banal objects and images with an atmosphere that is sometimes playful, and at other times is rigorous and austere.

Stefanoni incorporated fragmented and miniature landscapes into his earliest works of the 1960s, the Reflections series championed by French critic/curator Pierre Restany. It was not, however, until the 1980s that the artist came to focus exclusively on painted landscapes. These works, which continued to occupy the artist for more than three decades, recall the metaphysical compositions of Carrà and De Chirico, with unreal atmospheres. Stefanoni emphasized few elements in these landscapes, reducing the lived environment to simple geometric shapes and silhouettes. Whether through the quotidian objects that entangle the body or the landscapes in which humans move, Tino Stefanoni explored the appearance of the everyday in search of its essence, with intelligence, rigor and a touch of humor.

The exhibition Tino Stefanoni: The Search for Things marks the beginning of M77’s representation of the Tino Stefanoni Archive and Estate. This collaboration is part of the research project that the gallery has been cultivating since 2018, focused on the enhancement of historicized Italian artists less known to the general public who have actively and substantially contributed to the contemporary art scene. From Maria Lai to Emilio Isgrò, from Alberto Biasi to Grazia Varisco, to name but a few, the gallery continues to trace a cultural path characterized by retracing, with a new and at times experimental approach, the fundamental stages in the history of post-war Italian art and beyond.

The exhibition project is enriched by a catalogue published by M77 for the occasion, which combines photographic documentation of the exhibition with an introduction by Elizabeth Mangini and a dedicated essay by Luca Beatrice, curator and art critic.


Elizabeth Mangini


08/04/2024 -