PINO PASCALI, Grande Bacino di Donna—Mons Veneris, 1964, acrylic and canvas over wooden structure, 62 3/16 × 98 7/16 × 8 11/16 inches (185 × 250 × 22 cm)
Pino Pascali was born in Bari, Italy in 1935 and moved to Rome in 1955 to learn scene painting and set design at the Academy of Art. Pascali worked as an advertisement illustrator and designer for a number of years before his first solo exhibition in 1965 at the Galleria La Tartaruga. Pascali showed his "fake sculptures," a series of shaped-canvases that first appear to be solid sculptures but are actually paintings that present abstract forms suggesting animals, plants and landscapes. Soon after, Pascali created his "weapon series," which is perhaps his most famous group of works. Assembled from found materials and painted olive-green, it faithfully recreates every detail of the weapon it mimics. However, as the weapon cannot fire or kill, it becomes an innocent, oversized toy. Opposite to the "weapon series" in appearance, Pascali presented organic forms in a dream-like universe that, like the "fake sculptures," play on the relationship between illusion and reality. In 1968, Pascali died tragically in a motorcycle accident at the young age of thirty-two. His all too-short career has served as an important contribution to post-war art.