Fausto Melotti (Rovereto, 1901 - Milan, 1986) is an Italian sculptor ascribable to abstractionism. His work, characterized by a perceptible change over the years, develops according to a personal search for a space defined as "musical", articulated in use of various materials including plaster, marble, steel and bronze, but also metal and ceramic wires.
Trained in Rovereto, Melotti attends the literary and intellectual circles which also includes the futurist Fortunato Depero, founder in 1919 of the Casa d'Arte Futurista, propulsive of a modus operandi that included in the creative practice materials until then considered anti-artistic .
Moving first to Turin and then to Milan, Melotti began his career as a sculptor around 1922, enrolling in the Accademia di Brera in 1928 and becoming a pupil of Adolfo Wildt and Lucio Fontana, with whom he made a strong bond of friendship. The numerous classical busts that portray friends and relatives date back to this period (Portrait of Fortunato Depero, 1929; Portrait of the mother Albina Fait, 1929-30).
The meeting with the architect Gio Ponti in 1930 determines an ever closer approach to the potential of ceramics (San Cristoforo, c.1930; Le tre Grazie al bagno, c.1930) thanks to the employment at the prestigious Richard porcelain factory Ginori, where the latter works. Collaborating with important exponents of Italian rationalist architecture, Fausto Melotti participates in the 1930, 1933 and 1936 editions of the Triennale di Milano. On the occasion of the VI Triennale of 1936, he will create Costante-uomo, a key work made up of twelve sculptures that rhythmically mark the space, defining a successful environmental installation.
Melotti quickly became interested in a more modern style, joining the Parisian movement "Abstraction-Création" and hanging out with the artists who revolved around the Il Milione gallery, among which names included Lucio Fontana, Josef Albers and Vasily Kandinsky. It is precisely at Milione that Melotti in 1935 had his first personal exhibition. In the same year, he also exhibited in the first collective of abstract art, held in Turin in the studio of Felice Casorati and Enrico Paolucci, signing the Declaration of the 10 exhibiting artists together with Lucio Fontana.
Melotti's research led him, in works such as I sette savi (1936), to explore the Metaphysics of Giorgio De Chirico, who admires to the point of buying three works by the artist.
During the Second World War he lived in Rome, where he still collaborated with Giò Ponti, Figini and Pollini and also dedicated himself to poetry, publishing the collection The sad Minotaur in 1944, a year after the destruction in the bombing of his studio in Milan.
The fifties and sixties, after the silence and the decline in commissions in the decade of the Second World War, represent a period of new inspirations (Teatrino, c. 1950; The warehouse of ideas, 1960) which see prizes and awards coming from abroad (Rembrandt Prize, 1973; Biancamano Prize, 1977) and, finally, also from Italy: in 1951 Melotti won the Triennale Grand Prix and from 1967 a series of exhibitions began in Italy and abroad, which will culminate in the great anthological exhibitions hosted in 1979 in Milan at Palazzo Reale and in 1981 in Florence at Forte Belvedere - the latter sees the writer Italo Calvino dedicating the writing Gli effimeri to the homonymous work exhibited. In 1975, the collection of drawings and poems Lines, published by Adelphi the previous year, won the Diano Marina award.
Shortly after the sculptor's death in 1986, the 42nd Biennale di Venezia of Visual Arts awarded him the Leone d’Oro in memory.
Important exhibitions have been dedicated to Melotti since his death: Palazzo Fortuny, Venice (1990), Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, Nagoya (1999), Leo Castelli Gallery, New York (2002), Ankamall Shopping Center, Ankara (2009), MADRE Museum of Contemporary Art Donnaregina, Naples (2011), MART - Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto (Angelico geometrico, 2012). Fausto Melotti's works can be admired largely at the MART - Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto, the Museo del Novecento in Milan and the Museum of Contemporary Art of the Castello di Rivoli.
The Galleria d'Arte Maggiore g.a.m. in 1999 it hosted an anthological exhibition at its historical site in Bologna, with a catalog curated by Flaminio Gualdoni.