by Vanna Villa

Mario Ceroli is an Italian sculptor, educated at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome. He began his career realising ceramic sculptures, but his interest soon migrated towards Pop Art. During a trip to Assisi in 1957, he discovered the art of Giotto, which inspired the creation of his first wooden silhouettes. He quickly achieved great recognition as the recipient of the 1958 Prize for Young Sculpture from the National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome.


In the 1960s, he was already considered one of the great masters of Italian Pop Art and Arte Povera. Indeed, he has been a very prominent contributor to the reformulation of the artistic language of that time and to the development of installations. Ceroli’s production features natural and humble materials, particularly untreated wood, but also fabric, plastic or aluminum. His creations, which are sometimes polychrome and serialized, represent common objects, such as numbers, letters of the alphabet, human figures, and allusions to Leonardo da Vinci and other masters of the Italian Renaissance.


In 1966 he achieved international recognition with a prize at the Venice Biennale for the Cassa Sistina, an architectonic work conceived as an open relationship with the public and marking a transition into art that engaged with the environment.


In 1967-1968 he exhibited alongside other artists adhering to the Arte Povera and Italian Pop Art poetics. Throughout the years, Ceroli undertook the decoration of many public spaces, such as the Churches of Santa Maria Madre del Redentore di Tor Bella Monaca in Rome (1987) and San Carlo Borromeo in Naples (1990). He also works as a theatre scenographer, cooperating with the likes of Teatro Stabile in Turin (1968) and La Scala in Milan (1971).


In the 1970s and 1980s, he experimented with polychrome marble, glass, powder, and bronze, revisiting artworks from the Renaissance to the present day. Ceroli’s interest in various disciplines led him to transcend the boundaries of the mere work of art and to explore how it interacts with other fields, such as architecture or theatre. Creating his own working and living environment, he gathered more than 500 works in a museum-like space, meant to be always improving and growing, is aimed to open, in order to inspire positively the new generations of artists. Part of his works are also displayed at the National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rome. Ceroli lives and works in Rome, where he also continues to work as a set designer.


Text via Carla Accardi, by SIAE 2016

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