Impossible to put in a movement, was Pascali an exponent of Pop Art or of Arte Povera? Perhaps only a free batsman
Pino Pascali was born in Polignano a Mare and begins to form artistically between Bari and Naples before going to Rome in the early fifties, where he is immediately engulfed in the world of graphic design. He creates numerous advertising and collaborates even to some scenery spots for RAI. This first approach to the world of art creates in Pascali's modus operandi one of his main features: the ability and desire to stylize images, to make them immediate and recognizable, though played on the edge of ambiguity.
From this interpretation of art, however, Pino Pascali differs as regards the two-dimensionality: not only for the simple fact that most of his work are linked to sculpture, but also and especially for the ability to make of an icon an object of thickness and physicality. But not of heaviness. Pascali leaves the flatness and points to gigantism but always using materials and means of a certain lightness.
Among the techniques that Pascali prefers, there is that of the shaped canvas, used in those same years by many other Italian artists, with which the artist seems to be able to win the open space: facilities, cages, skeletons of massive proportions are covered with canvas and from time to time transformed into objects or fabulous animals, such as the spine of a prehistoric dinosaur, the tail of a whale or the skinny neck of a giraffe.
But the means that the artist uses to create his works are extremely various, and even the elements that inspires him come from different worlds, in addition to the above mentioned animals there are in fact man-made objects, the "weapons", and even natural elements. In the famous work entitled "Sea (about 32 square meters of sea)" Pascali evokes the sea through the installation of square metal tanks enamelled in blue and filled with water: a reconstructed sea that is always at hand of the viewer, who is almost incorporated into the environment.
In the works of Pino Pascali, where the shape is always of the utmost importance, you have almost the impression of getting into a new iconography, through the evocation of common elements. Primitive and simplistic, but at the same time artificially constructed. Childish, in the philosophical sense of the term.
However, another element comes into play in the artist's poetics: the sound-language factor. In "Bristle worms" it is hard to understand if the title is more related to the material effect of the work or rather to the wordplay and assonance that it conceals.