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Romaaround 1970

25 June - 3 August / 29 August – 21 September 2002


Claudio Abate has documented some of the most significant moments of contemporary art in Italy and in particular performance art.  The focus is primarily on performances that took place at Fabio Sargentini's gallery l¹Attico and at artists studios in Rome including photographs showing Gilbert & George, Joseph Beuys and Pino Pascali.  Gilbert & George's 'Living Sculptures' performance at l'Attico in 1972 was first performed in 1969 in London to the tune of 'Underneath the Arches', while the image of Pascali, frozen as a lead soldier beside his 'Bella Ciao Cannon' has particular poignancy in our war-stricken times. 

Born into a family of artists, Abate got his first camera at the age of twelve. At sixteen he was working for the Press Service Agency and at 18 he was assistant to Eric Lessing, Life Magazine and Magnum photographer. With this remarkable training, Abate began photographing the avant-garde art movements of the 60s and 70s in Rome: Arte Povera, Minimalism, Conceptual Art, Body Art, Narrative Art and theatrical and dance events.
As well as providing a record of these remarkable moments in the history of art, Abate has created a body of work which has its own powerful aesthetic. Images such as Pascali imitating his giant spider, Penone with his glacial mirror stare, De Dominicis' living Zodiac and Kounellis's horses are all seen through Abate's eye, adding the essential subjective dimension that one experiences in a live art performance.

Today Abate continues to collaborate with the artists whose work he has documented over the years, as well as with artists who exhibit in Rome, such as Richard Serra, Joseph Kosuth and Cy Twombly.

A total of 50 photographs will be exhibited at Sprovieri and at Westlondonprojects including Vito Acconci, Joseph Beuys, Gino De Dominicis, Gilbert and George, Joan Jonas, Jannis Kounellis, Mario and Marisa Merz, Luigi Ontani,Pino Pascali,Giuseppe Penone,Robert Smithson and Gilberto Zorio.