Giuseppe Sciola, known as Pinuccio, is an authentic son of Sardinia, of its megalithic culture and its history. Coming from a peasant family, he was born on March 15, 1942 in San Sperate, a small village with an agricultural tradition a few kilometers from Cagliari.
He has never denied his peasant culture and love for Mother Earth, from which he found the inspiration for each of his works. He began sculpting from an early age and in 1959 he participated in the 1st Exhibition of figurative arts for students of all levels in the La Rinascente club in Cagliari, winning a scholarship that allowed him to attend the Art School of the city, thanks to the Opera Prima, sandstone sculpture depicting a young boy in an upright pose, later called Pietrino.
Defined by the magazine “Orizzonti” as the sculptor of tomorrow, the young Sciola graduated from artistic high school, participated in numerous exhibitions and attended the famous Magisterium of Art of Porta Romana in Florence, an important training center for the exercise of sculpture, and the Sommerakademie- the International Academy – of Salzburg where he follows the courses of Luciano Minguzzi, Oskar Kokoschka, Fritz Wotruba, Emilio Vedova and Herbert Marcuse. During his numerous study trips to Europe, useful to feed his thirst for knowledge and to seek his artistic self-determination, he comes into contact with the likes of Giacomo Manzù, Aligi Sassu and Henry Moore.
The formal experience that he most counts in the precision of a style and a theme is that lived in the Iberian peninsula in 1967, when he attended the University of Moncloa in Madrid; the following year Sciola is in Paris, coinciding with the French May shortly before his return to the island, where he witnesses the youth protest movements of ’68, so much so that he has absorbed the right charge to be used in his native land. He transforms his village, San Sperate, into an authentic Museum Country, during the so-called Years of the Lime, thanks to the artistic and social experience of muralism and the enthusiasm of the population who was involved in one of the rst forms of Environmental and Public Art in the island and national context.
In 1973, after an invitation from Unesco, he went to Mexico City to meet and collaborate with one of the founding fathers of Mexican muralism, David Alfaro Siqueiros, giving life, in 1975, to an artistic twinning between the country of San Sperate and Tepito, a popular neighborhood of Mexico City.
In the early seventies Sciola met the favor of international critics thanks to his direct involvement in his native country. He participates, together with the activities of the Museum Country, in the Venice Biennale in 1976, within the Italian section on the theme The environment as social, curated by Enrico Crispolti and Ra aele De Grada. In 1979 a large monolithic sculpture by Sciola was placed in the historic center of the German city of Kirchheimunter Teck, near Stuttgart, as the rst stone of the European Parliament to symbolize the union between European countries.
In 1984 he established an International Center for stone processing in San Sperate, with the desire to relaunch the stonemason’s profession and the artisan art by teaching the techniques to young students.
In the same year the exhibition Stones and Cities is held in the spaces of the Rotonda della Besana in Milan, where the artist proposes, alongside his works, the fruit of the work of the young artists of the International Center.
Since the mid-eighties, the works of Pinuccio Sciola have been exhibited in large spaces that are easily accessible to a large public, as is the case of the Tre Pietre mural in Piazza Repubblica in Cagliari and the Stone Nativity Scene displayed in Piazza degli A ari in Milan, masterful example of collective fruition.
In 1986 he exhibited at the National Quadrennial of Art in Rome and, from July of the same year until 1987, he began a traveling exhibition in the Federal Republic of Germany which saw the participation of seven of the main cities of Germany – Leverkusen, Duisburg, Heidelberg, Munich. Bavaria, Köngen, Saarbrucken and Hamburg. The Year of Sardinian Sculpture in Germany project is the rst proposal in a series of long cultural exchanges between Sardinia and the rest of the world, therefore the exhibition was not accepted as the presentation of a single artist, but as the proposal of a whole Country created through its artistic representative.
From 1990 to 1996 he taught at the Academy of Sassari and in the same years he stayed in Peru and Chile. In 1994 Sciola con rmed his poetics of an intimate and close relationship between Art and Nature, exhibiting eighteen sculptural works in the park of the castle of Ooidonk in Belgium for the Ooidonk 94 art exhibition and in 1995 participates in the III Biennial of Art Nature in Niederlausitz near Berlin with the artistic performance La semina della pietra. In the same year the personal Coeur de pierre is held in the park of the Trianon Palace in Versailles and the same works are exhibited a few months later in the park of the Kunst Project of Barendorf in Vienna.
From the nineties onwards, his constantly evolving artistic research reveals to the world of art the magic of the sound of stone, a hard and static material, no longer bound to a single visual and tactile functionality as it is capable of being observed through a third sense: hearing.
This is how the Pietre Sonore were born, played for the rst time in 1996 at the Time in Jazz Festival in Berchidda, Sardinia, by the Swiss percussionist Pierre Favre. The deeper meaning of these works is to derive from the most inanimate form that exists on Earth, the stone, one of the most vital essences, that is the voice and the sound, allowing already existing voices, “trapped” for millions of years, to be heard. In the same year, the newborn Pietre Sonore were used in an electronic music concert at the Teatro della Scala in Milan on the occasion of the rst performance of an unpublished work by the Sassari composer Antonio Doro.
In 2000 some of his works are exhibited at the International Expo in Hanover and at the Book Fair in Havana in Cuba where a sculpture of him is still present. The following year a path dedicated to works in basalt and their sounds was inaugurated in the park of Villa Olmo in Como. In 2002 the collaboration with the famous architect Renzo Piano begins and a large basalt sound monolith is placed in the space of the Auditorium della Musica in Rome; Thanks to this acquisition, Sciola’s work o cially enters the history of Italian sculpture, music and architecture. In the same month, the MüvészetMalom Szentendre in Budapest dedicates a large anthological exhibition to the artist entitled Zenélő Kövek (Sound Stones). In 2003 he returned to the ftieth edition of the Venice Biennale with an exhibition in the Italian Factory section, curated by Alessandro Riva, entitled Solo Pietre, inaugurated in the Thetis space of the Arsenale. A few months later he exhibited a new series of monumental sculptures on the square of the Lower Basilica of Assisi with an installation entitled “Il Cantico delle Pietre”, a margin note of the Canticle of the Creatures in which St. Francis mentions all living beings forgetting one of them, the stone.
In 2004 two hundred fragments of basalt sculpted in the form of leaves are scattered on the lawns of the majestic Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris and make up Sciola’s installation Les feuilles mortes – hommage a Prèvert (Dead leaves-homage to Prèvert) dedicated to the French poet, within the event “Elogio alla natura”, organized under the patronage of the Senate of the French Republic, calling for twenty- ve sculptors. A few months later he inaugurates a large solo exhibition in Luxembourg, entitled Pierres Sonores.
In 2006 he created a Sculpted Sound System at Villa delle Rose in Bologna, a path that proposes the art and sound of the Sonorous Stones in the form of an interactive installation. In 2008 he exhibited again in the square in front of the Lower Basilica of Assisi the work entitled I Seeds of Peace, the highest conceptual synthesis of his artistic production.
Between 2008 and 2009 he permanently exhibited a dozen works in the gardens of the Monte Claro Park in Cagliari and gave rise to one of his largest donations, about three hundred works, both sculptural and pictorial, to the Study Center and Archive of Communication (CSAC ), a research center of the University of Parma founded by his friend and professor Arturo Carlo Quintavalle.
From 2010 onwards he experimented with a new type of stone, the granite of Gallura, one of the most precious stones in Sardinia, with which Sciola is projected towards a new artistic research and experimentation relating to light. In the same year he was appointed President of the Regional Commission for Landscape and Architectural Quality and donated one of his limestone sound stones to the Milan Triennale on the occasion of his friend Gillo Dor es’ 100th birthday.
During the summer of 2010 in the Museo Paese, which now has about 400 murals, installations, sculptures and blow-ups, Sciola starts the Colore Identità project with the idea of giving new light to the streets: the gray of the bitumen is replaced by the red colors, yellow, green and blue, a “river of color” is born that winds through the historic districts of San Sperate. In 2011 he exhibited in Madrid at the Italian Cultural Institute of Calle Mayor an innovative installation that combines sculpture, music and architecture, entitled La città sonora. On 20 February 2012, on the occasion of the visit to Cagliari by the President of the Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, three monoliths were inaugurated, respectively in granite, limestone and basalt, symbols of Sardinia and the Italian ag, still today located in front of the Maritime Station.
On June 12 Napolitano, appoints Pinuccio Sciola “Commander of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic”, in consideration of his prestigious and multi-year artistic activity also in the international eld. A few months later he pays homage to the architect Antoni Gaudì with works in iron, Colonne In nite, inside the Basilica of San Saturnino in Cagliari. In April 2013 the sculptor’s works are exhibited at the Italian Center in Shanghai, China, as part of the exhibition La verità dei materiali (The Truth of Materials) signed by the Triennale Foundation of Milan. From 4 May to 30 June 2013 he is in Padua with an exhibition entitled
Ascoltare la pietra, thanks to the organization of the Fasi (Federation of Sardinian Associations in Italy) and the Eleonora d’Arborea club; his Seeds of Peace are placed in the space of the Scrovegni Chapel to dialogue once again, after the exhibition in Assisi in 2008, with the frescoes relating to the Stories of San Francesco by Giotto. A dialogue that continues in Florence, in the Basilica of Santa Croce with an exhibition entitled Semi di pace/Suoni di pietra/ Città Sonore (Seeds of Peace / Sounds of Stone / City of Sound). A year later he returned to Florence to receive the prestigious “Medal of Beato Angelico”, universal patron saint of artists, in the year of the 450th anniversary of the death of Michelangelo Buonarotti, in front of whose tomb he played one of his sound stones the previous October. in limestone. A new challenge for Sciola is that which sees him as the set designer of Giacomo Puccini’s Turandot, within the new opera season of the Teatro Lirico di Cagliari, meeting great critical and public success.
In July 2015 Sciola is a guest in the Art and Poetry exhibition in Selinunte, in the archaeological park of Selinunte, in the province of Trapani, where four internationally renowned artists present their works inspired by the four elements, air, water, earth and re, inside the site used as a real atelier, under the artistic direction of the Orestiadi Foundation. During the ftieth edition of the Marmomacc fair in Verona, the National Association “Le Donne del Marmo” awarded him the “Woman of Marble Award 2015” for his important contribution to the history of sculpture.
The last months for Pinuccio Sciola have been intense and full of great satisfactions. Between January and February he exhibits his Tombe di Pietra at the Exmà in Cagliari with the exhibition La memoria persistente, on the occasion of the “Day of Remembrance”; he starts an artistic project with the Monastir Music Band, whose sounds blend with the sound and magic of his sonorous stones in The Memory of the Stones, a musical composition written by the Dutch master Hardy Mertens. In March he is in Maranello, for an Art, Shape, Sound master class at the Ferrari Design Center, while from 14 to 19 April 2016 he is in Milan at the Pasquinelli Foundation with a personal exhibition of his sound stones on the occasion of the II Master Sound Art , organized by the ARD & NT consortium of the Brera Academy of Fine Arts and the Milan Polytechnic. On 27 April 2016, two weeks before his untimely death, his last public event, one of the most signi cant, takes place within the Stone Tales exhibition in the Basilica of San Pietro in Vincoli in Rome.
The meeting, entitled La Voce della Pietra- il Museo di Michelangelo e le Pietre Sonore di Sciola, continues that dialogue with Moses, begun three years earlier in the Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence, in front of the artist’s tomb, where Sciola revealed the answer to the famous question «Why don’t you talk?»
Pinuccio Sciola died on May 13, 2016. He is present today with his works in numerous public and private collections in Italy and abroad. His incessant work continues through the Pinuccio Sciola Foundation, established on July 22 of the same year.
Part of his works are currently exhibited at the Sound Garden in his native town in San Sperate; an open air museum entirely dedicated to his production, built and designed by the artist as an ideal meeting place between nature and culture.
Pinuccio Sciola earned international success by staying in his beloved island, in a land that preserves the harshness and impenetrability of the material on which he practiced his art.
I started sculpting thousands of years ago. Many are amazed at the large number of works I have produced, one a er the other, over the course of many years. Why should I limit myself?I have something to say and through
the stone I can say it.