This autumn Waddington Custot Galleries will devote a comprehensive solo show to the Italian artist Fausto Melotti (1901-1986). Featuring almost 30 works, the exhibition spans 40 years of artistic production, from his early terracotta figures, such as Diavolo (Devil), c.1945, to his later works in brass, including Carro delle illusioni (Wagon of illusions), 1984.
Fausto Melotti is known for his ceramic works and his lyrical and intricate brass sculptures, which he often combined with pieces of fabric, paper and cardboard. His early education in Florence introduced him to the art of the Renaissance which had a profound effect on him throughout his life. He was also greatly influenced by music and his studies in engineering. Melotti was a leading member of the group of Milanese abstract artists which included his lifelong friend Lucio Fontana (1899-1968).
In response to the Second World War, and like many of his contemporaries, Melotti began working in a more figurative and humanist style. Works produced at this time - such as the small ceramic stage sets like Teatrino (Little theatre), c.1950 - display a greater sense of narrative compared to his earlier output; their fatalistic melancholy would endure in Melotti's later work. Like the city squares of Giorgio de Chirico's 'metaphysical paintings', Melotti's little theatres urge the viewer to bring narrative fragments to life and form a coherent performance.