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Toti Scialoja e il surrealismo: tre momenti

Laura Iamurri


Although indirect, Toti Scialoja’s interest in surrealism emerges in successive phases and with different characters during the artist’s life. The first glimpse probably dates to 1937, when the artist was 23: a fleeting contact, through the reproduction of a painting by Dalí on an issue of «Minotaure» leafed in the premises of a bookstore in Via Veneto, was a cause of immediate fascination. A few years later, in the reviews of exhibitions and in the articles published between 1944 and 1948 in Alba de Céspedes’ magazine «Mercurio», surrealism appears as one of the artist’s main polemical objectives, and the works in some way related to Breton’s movement are constantly the object of radical criticism. Finally, during the fifties, another major change occurred: American artists’ works, and especially Gorky’s, showed the way for a use of surrealism as an operative practice; on that basis Scialoja developed both his own thought on painting, to be found in the Giornale di pittura, and his own practice, to be found in his paintings, in the experimentation of techniques in which a margin is deliberately left out of the rational control of the expert gesture. In my article I intend to present these different moments, focusing in particular on the fifties and on the comparison between the works of those years and some unpublished pages of the Giornale di pittura.