Nembro rosato – Giallo mori

Author: Pietro Consagra
Title: Nembro rosato – Giallo mori
Date: 1977
Location: via dei Mercanti, Milan

Above: Pietro Consagra, Nembro rosato – Giallo mori, 1977, via dei Mercanti, Milan, photo by Bruno Bani, courtesy Archivio Pietro Consagra.

Above two bases made up of partially rough stone blocks stand two abstract sculptures, with a reduced thickness and presented to the spectator in a full frontal view and a curvilinear profile. Designed on the basis of a precise color drawing, they are made of two different marbles, that give them their title. Consagra carefully chose marbles that, due to the variety of their color and veins, could enhance the beauty of protruding shapes, composed on two opposite sides.

Made on the occasion of a solo exhibition curated by Giovanni Carandente and Licisco Magagnato at Castelvecchio Museum in Verona in 1977, these two sculptures form a single group, donated by Consagra to the City of Milan in 1990 and that initially found its place in Piazza San Babila. When in 1996 the Municipality and the Ente Fiera (City Fair Authority) decided to renovate the square with the monumental fountain designed by Luigi Caccia Dominioni, the sculptures moved to a new location, fact that caused some friction between the artist and the Administration. However, these troubles were happily resolved, thanks to the intervention of architect Marco Zanuso, and the sculptures have been placed at the opening of Via dei Mercanti, a site full of history and a privileged access route to Piazza del Duomo: the two-faced sculptures can thus be admired both from the street and the square.

The frontal conception of vision, main theme of Consagra’s abstract research, tends to exclude the all-round, which would lead the visitor to turn around the sculpture as if it were an idol or a celebratory monument. His sculptures, at first exclusevly frontal, then starting from 1964 always bifrontal (like the two Milanese marbles) are instead conceived as architectural elements of immediate impact, which relate without hierarchies to the public and social context in which citizens live their everyday life.