Giuseppe Uncini
Cementoarmato e (moduli), 1960
Concrete and iron
61,5 x 61,5 cm
About Strongly attracted by the process of construction Giuseppe Uncini has conducted a complex and original research and has paid a special attention to the use of reinforced concrete and iron. Such materials have led him to blend skilfully together shape, design, project and space.

Giuseppe Uncini was born in Fabriano in 1929. After his debut in his hometown, in 1953 he moved to Rome, where he met a number of Italian and international artists resident in the capital (Edgardo Mannucci, Giuseppe Capogrossi, Afro and Mirko Basaldella, Alberto Burri, Corrado Cagli). In 1955 he took part in the VII Rome Quadrennial at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni, and two years later exhibited for the first time in Frankfurt, Germany, in the Abstrakte Italienische Kunst group exhibition.
In 1956/57 he began the Earths cycle: works on board using tuff, sand, ash and coloured pigments.
But the turning point in Uncini's artistic evolution came between 1957 and 1958 with the creation of the first Cementarmati: reinforced concrete works made from iron, cement and wire mesh, in which part of the supporting structure was left visible, in contrast to the rough, compact cement surfaces.

Through the influence of Emilio Villa and later Pierre Restany, a number of exhibitions followed that reunited the so-called Scuola di Piazza del Popolo artists: Giuseppe Uncini, Tano Festa, Francesco Lo Savio, Franco Angeli and Mario Schifano. However Uncini’s first important solo show was in 1961, when he presented the Cementarmati at Galleria L’Attico in Rome.
In 1963 Gruppo Uno was officially founded, comprising Giuseppe Uncini, Gastone Biggi, Nicola Carrino, Nato Frascà, Achille Pace and Pasquale Santoro. The group had a series of exhibitions and published a manifesto outlining their artistic philosophy. Giulio Carlo Argan was one of the most staunch supporters of Gruppo Uno, which disbanded in 1967. The group challenged the Arte Informale movement by putting forward the idea of art linked to the theory of perception and proposing an alternative function for the artist in society.

Between 1962 and 1965 Uncini’s work included the Ferrocementi, namely iron and cement works in which the real protagonist was the iron rod embedded in the highly polished cement, and the continuity of line between the external boundary and internal parts of the work.
These were followed by the Space Structures cycle of works, presented at the 33rd Venice Biennial in 1966. In 1967 Uncini’s interest in the importance of the entity and function of the shadow began to progressively develop, becoming a fundamental aspect of his work for years to come.
In 1968 Palma Bucarelli commissioned Open Door with Shadow, which was displayed between two rooms in the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna di Roma.

The solo shows held in Turin at Galleria Christian Stein in 1968, 1971 and 1975, and at Studio Marconi in Milan in 1973, 1976, 1980 and 1995, mark important stages in Uncini’s career. The Bricks series date from 1969 to 1972, and between 1972 and 1978 Uncini created the Shadows series, in which each structure engages with and confronts its own shadow, also constructed as an autonomous volume.
The Eighties were represented by the Dwellings: surfaces which suggest architectural landscapes, such as buildings, doors, windows and thresholds, each complete with its own shadow. In 1984 Uncini was once again invited to the Venice Biennial, where he occupied a solo exhibition room. In 1990 he showed his new series Iron Spaces in a number of group exhibitions titled L’altra scultura, held in Madrid, Barcelona and Darmstadt.

In 1994, he began a collaboration with Galleria Fumagalli in Bergamo, presenting Cement Spaces and continuing his Concrete Walls series.
In 1999 he took part in the Minimalia show at P.S.1 in New York, and in 2001 an important retrospective of his work was held at the Städtische Kunsthalle in Mannheim. In September 2002 he held two important solo shows in Milan, at Galleria Christian Stein and at Galleria Giò Marconi; subsequently in 2002/2003 the Fumagalli Gallery in Bergamo showed a number of his historical pieces alongside a series of jewellery created using the lost wax casting technique. In 2004 he began work on his Architectures.
Three different solo exhibitions were held in 2007: in Milan at the Marconi Foundation and at Galleria Christian Stein, and in Bergamo at Galleria Fumagalli. On the occasion of the Bologna Fair in 2008 the Catalogue raisonné of Giuseppe Uncini's work, edited by Bruno Corà, was presented to the public. 2008 also marked the start of a new cycle titled Artifices and also saw the commission of an important work for the Sculpture Park at the MART in Rovereto.
Concurrently, Uncini began working on a project for a travelling anthological exhibition to be held during 2008/2009 at the ZKM in Karlsruhe, the MART in Rovereto and the Landesmuseum Johanneum in Graz.
On the night of 31 March 2008, aged 79, Uncini died suddenly at his home-studio in Trevi, Umbria.

A  series of important solo exhibitions held in Foligno, Lucca, and Milan celebrated his work. In 2019 the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna in Rome has presented a retrospective of Uncini’s work, curated by Giuseppe Appella, while other shows have followed at Fondazione Marconi, at the MART in Rovereto and the GAM in Turin.