Albums 9-68. 2-71. Fabio Sargentini and the l'Attico gallery during the Via Beccaria years, with testimonials and period photographs

"Life runs parallel to art sometimes it happens that they intersect and then resume tracing side by side. not being an artist myself but also dealing with art and those who have a creative problem I had a wonderful opportunity to follow at one time parallel tracks without opting for one."
With these words, Fabio Sargentini (Rome, 1939), animator as well as owner of L'attico Gallery in Rome, opens the volume we are going to take a closer look at today Album 9-68. 2-71. The number series in the title refers to the historical period that the text addresses, with photographic and literary accounts of the artists who participated in the life of the gallery, during the years in question.

The historical parabola of L'Attico, is characterized by extraordinary longevity but even more extraordinary vitality. It was born way back in 1957 in Piazza di Spagna at the behest of Bruno Sargentini, who, accompanied by his son Fabio, offered to the capital's collectors works by Lucio Fontana, Victor Brauner, Giuseppe Capogrossi, Jean Fautrier and many other artists of that generation, who, having crossed the two wars, rediscovered public luster.

1968 is a year of no return for Western history and also for the L'Attico gallery, which, by Fabio's will, leaves the monumental and passatist Piazza di Spagna and moves into a garage on Via Beccaria. The space is huge and can finally gather the bursting newcomers of contemporary art, who in the meantime have closed with the museum, the pedestal and the easel. The public, the artist and the exhibition place change connotations, and so here in Sargentini's shed enter the twelve horses of Jannis Kounellis and the turtles of Vettor Pisani. The latter among others, featured in the book, in a photo by Claudio Abate, a friend and faithful photographer of the gallery's activities but also of the Sargentini family itself.

The three-year period that Album 9-68. 2-71 addresses is particularly fruitful for L'Attico, which manages to involve national and international artists, abstractionists, Arte Povera "militants" and performers. The latter will be presented in the gallery by Simone Forti, the undisputed protagonist of the book's first pages. Forti is an American artist, a cornerstone of postmodern dance, who in 1969 with Sargentini organized the festival Danza Volo Musica Dinamite and brought La Monte Young, Steve Paxton, Deborah Hay, and Trisha Brown to Rome. For many of them it is the first appearance in Europe.

What one must therefore imagine when one thinks of L'Attico in those years is undoubtedly a swarming of people and ideas, a coming and going of artists and alleged artists, and an effervescent and pressing exchange of different thoughts and points of view. There is no shortage of controversy against institutions and their constraints, but art continues to be made, thought and lived under a new star of freedom. In Saussure's words, the signifiers and meanings of the seeds art and work are distorted, but not for that reason disappeared.

Fabio Sargentini is undoubtedly a protagonist of the cultural and artistic intemperance of these years, and among his closest friends is Pino Pascali, who tragically passed away on September 11, 1968. Although Pascali did not take part in the gallery's activities during the years reported in the title, he is nonetheless an undisputed protagonist of the book. The artist is mentioned in the introduction, and the first photo of Mario Cresci that we see while leafing through this is album is precisely Pascali's coffin carried on the shoulders of friends. 


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