The death of Italian artist Saverio Lucariello


Self-portrait by Saverio Lucariello from the series “Les Choses en soi.  Affections” (1996).

Exhibited in 1995 by Jean-Yves Jouannais, who presented a “History of infamy” in parallel with the Venice Biennale, chosen again by the legendary exhibition curator Harald Szeemann (1933-2005) to participate in the Italian Biennale of 1999, shown the same year by the curator Christine Macel at the Printemps de Cahors, then in the “Micropolitiques” exhibition in Grenoble, in 2000, Saverio Lucariello was one of the most prolific, but above all the most Rabelaisian of Italian artists. He died on Monday March 13 at the hospital in Sens (Yonne), following cancer. He was 64 years old.

Born April 29, 1958 in Naples, it was there, on leaving the School of Fine Arts, that he was very early noticed by another exceptional art critic, Achille Bonito Oliva, who then organized the the most attended exhibitions of the Peninsula. He showed it in 1985, with nine other artists, in a collective exhibition mischievously titled “Evacuare Napoli: l’ultima generazione”. Saverio Lucariello follows his advice, evacuates Naples and then chooses to settle in France, first in Paris, then in a small village in northern Burgundy.

Mix of genres

The artist develops there an original practice of sculpture, pouring, for example, concrete into large fabric bags, which find their shape when the material they contain hardens: he is there in an approach that continues that of his elders of arte povera, but that he parasitizes by placing over these bags a kind of square-section tables, in polished steel, clearly inspired by American minimalism. A tasty mix of genres, coupled with a pirouette, since he thus seems to put his sculptures under their base! Shown in 1991 in the courtyard of the Carnavalet Museum in Paris, they aroused the interest of another great critic of the time, Bernard Lamarche-Vadel (1949-2000).

His painting was in his image, earthy, generous, overflowing. This man had few limits, all the talents and a flair of another age

At the same time, Saverio Lucariello painted, moreover in oil. He was crazy about painting and liked to say that the smell of turpentine had scared away two curators from contemporary art museums who had come to visit the studio of the man they believed to be a conceptual artist. He was, of course, but not only, which sometimes frightened the most stubborn. His painting was in his image, earthy, generous, overflowing. This man had few limits, all the talents and an eloquence of another age.

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