31 October 2001
Born in Spoleto in 1915, Leoncillo's artistic career has already started to achieve success from the Forties,when he takes part to the VII Triennale in Milan, invited by Gio Ponti, and when, in 1947, he signed the manifesto of the Nuova Secessione Artistica Italiana (New Italian Artistic Secession), then turned into Fronte Nuovo delle Arti. This was a movement known for the interest in the modernity that was running throughout Italy in the post-war period, and the openness to a dialogue with European styles. Alberto Moravia is the first to notice the "complicate and singular" neocubist-inspired art of Leoncillo, during the first exhibition of the Fronte.From 1948 the artist is soonprotagonist of six editions of the Venice Biennale, but the most memorable of these is the one in 1954, during which an entire exhibition room is dedicated to him and Lucio Fontana together. Two years later, in 1956, Leoncillo is commissioned to realize the Monumento ai Caduti di tutte le guerre (Monument to the Fallen of all wars) in Albissola Marina, a silent testament composed by statues, wandering around like ghosts on an empty basement. Galleria d'Arte Maggiore shows in this exhibition a fine study for this monument. In these years Leoncillo is experiencing a period of existential, ideological and artistic crisis, a crisis that turns out to be a fundamental turning point for his maturation, causing his abandonment of the post-cubism and his approach to the informal language, and inspiring the creation of works that recall emotion and sense of nature. Sculptureslike Taglio rosso (Red cut) from 1963, suspended between metaphor and memory, and the selection of works on paper here exhibited, show how the artist has been able to find in this language the perfect tool to express the deep and constant conflict that move his soul, and to reach international success in the early Sixties with exhibitions in Paris, New York, Lubiana, Naples and Montreal.