Dates:1942 — 2016, Cagliari
Giuseppe “Pinuccio” Sciola was born in San Sperate, a few kilometres from Cagliari, in 1942. At the end of his studies at the Liceo Artistico in the Sardinian capital, he attends the Magistero d’arte in Florence. From 1965 he undertakes courses by Kokoschka, Vedova, Marcuse and Wotruba at the International Academy in Salzburg. He goes on study trips to various European cities, primarily Madrid and Paris, and has the opportunity to meet the great masters of twentieth century art, from Manzù to Moore.
Inspired by the youth protest movement of 1968, on his return to his home town in Sardinia he launches an extraordinary artistic and social experience of murals: following Sciola’s example, the inhabitants of San Sperate start to paint the external walls of their own homes, quickly transforming the town into a genuine “museum town”. The initiative draws the attention of UNESCO, and in 1973 he is invited to Mexico City to meet the muralist Alfaro Siqueiros. And so San Sperate becomes well-known to the biggest Latin-American muralists and begins to host artists from all over the world. Thanks to his activities as a sculptor, cultural and art promotor as well as his social connections in his country, Sciola begins to become very well-known outside Sardinia. In 1976 he is invited to the Venice Biennale, dedicated to “Ambiente come sociale” (“Social Environment”). It is the opportunity to draw attention to the wooden corpses and crucifixes, pieces that due to their strong emotive impact could induce objection: in dispute over the space given to him, he moves them and exhibits them in Saint Mark’s Square, provoking great uproar.
In the early 1980s he establishes an International Centre for stone works in San Sperate. In 1985 he takes part in the Rome Quadriennale and the following year he exhibits in the big German cities in a touring exhibition.
Lecturer at the Academy of Sassari, from 1990 to 1996, he doesn’t stop travelling or exhibiting, both in Italy and abroad: in the Castle Park in Ooidonk in Belgium, at the Trianon Palace in Versailles, in the Park of the Kunst Centre in Barndorf Bei Baden, near Vienna. Already an internationally affirmed artist, it is only at the beginning of the 1990s that a clever intuition marks the turning point of his career: he discovers that stone, if worked properly and caressed by a hand or a bow, can produce sounds, that change depending on the depth and distance of the cuts made by the steel blades, as well as the material (the duller basalt, and the more melodical limestone). Stone, a material until then considered inert, becomes elastic, to the amazement of musicologists all over the world. Sciola’s success becomes huge: since 2000 his sculptures have been exhibited in Hanover, Havana, Budapest, Luxembourg, Madrid and London.
In 2001 Renzo Piano has one of his pieces placed in the garden overlooking the new Auditorium of Music in Rome. He follows this in 2003 by taking part in the “Italian Factory”, at the Thetis dell’Arsenale space in Venice, a collateral exhibition to the Venice Biennale curated by Alessandro Riva. A few months later Sciola exhibits a new series of large sculptures in Assisi in the square of the Basilica Inferiore, where he will return in 2008 with “The Seeds of Peace”.
In 2012 in recognition of his genius and his artistic career, the President of the Republic, Napoletano, awards him the honour of “Commendatore dell’ordine al merito della Repubblica Italiana” (Commander of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic); two years later, during the 450th anniversary of the death of Michelangelo, he is awarded the Beato Angelico medal. His final works include the scenery of Giacomo Puccini’s Turnandot, during the new opera season at the Lyric Theatre in Cagliari, and the collection of Stone Tales in the Basilica of Saint Peter in Vincoli in Rome, on which occasion his sculptures are placed in front of Michelangelo’s Moses.
Pinuccio Sciola dies suddenly on 13th May 2016. A few months later his three children create the Pinuccio Sciola Foundation, which has its headquarters in his home-studio and manages the Sound Garden, the artist’s open-air museum.