• Tribute to Turi Simeti

    May 7 - 23, 2021

  • Turi Simeti in his Milan studio, April 2015 Photo by Piotr Niepsuj

  • Almine Rech is pleased to present the first posthumous presentation of Italian artist Turi Simeti (1929 – 2021), on view in the gallery’s Online Viewing Room from May 7 to May 23, 2021.

    Turi Simeti is widely recognized as one of the last representatives of the generation of Milanese artists who shook up Italian art during the second half of the 20th century. The selection will reflect signature elements of Turi Simeti’s career, conceived to celebrate the full scope of his artistic legacy.



  • Turi Simeti’s use of pure, saturated tones such as red or yellow is embodied by this selection of late works, created between 2014 and 2018. His works have a sculptural aspect, utilizing an oval shape made of wood that creates volume on the canvas. This signature technique produces different relief patterns on the surface of his paintings that invite a play of shadows and light across monochrome colors such as yellow, red or black. Employing the recurrent motif of the oval, Turi Simeti set out to develop an irregular writing system that would liberate the surface of the canvas from the principles of materiality, allowing nothing but silence.

    Almine Rech organized several exhibitions with the artist throughout his life, including a retrospective titled ‘Le Choix du Signe’ curated by Natacha Carron in Brussels in 2015. The same year, Almine Rech Editions published a monograph featuring an array of archival images. Turi Simeti’s work was also shown at Almine Rech Shanghai as part of the 2020 exhibition 'Spring’ and in 'Abstraction(s)' at the Song Art Museum in Beijing in 2019, curated by Nicolas Trembley.




  • Turi Simeti

    By Natacha Carron

    • Turi Simeti 8618 Web
  • Born in 1929 in Sicily, Turi Simeti settled in Rome in 1958, where he regularly visited Alberto Burri's workshop. He started painting and made his debut amongst the artists of the Art Informel movement. Simeti moved to Milan in the early 1960s, where he met Fontana, Manzoni, Bonalumi and also Castellani who became one of his closest friend. In this climate of vibrant dialogue, the artist took part in the changes occurring at that time in European art history.


    His participation in the “Zero Avant-garde” exhibition organized by Fontana in 1965 lists him from the outset amongst the Italian Spatialists: Fontana's sliced canvas, Bonalumi's protruding extroflexions, Castellani's sequence surfaces, the T Group’s sets of geometric pieces; they were all driven by the need to go further, getting in contact with the emptiness and by the quest of new possibilities offered by it.

  • Simeti's first Milanese years led to a considerable number of experiences where the surface of his canvases became a space to be conquered with radical elements, drawn both from minimalism and the notion of the monochrome. Simeti creates in his works different types of tension on several formats, frequently relying on small-scale canvases to produce startling dimensions. Employing the motif of the oval, he has attempted to develop an irregular writing system that liberates the surface of the canvas from the principles of materiality, allowing nothing but silence.

    The theme of the end of the art and its renewal is endlessly taken up: “we constantly reinvent painting" (Reinventiamo continuamente la pittura). Turi searches and develops new techniques without premeditation. He draws his basics from his experience with collages initiated in 1961, using envelopes that he burns. This technique makes visible an undefined shape that has to be removed by fire afterwards. The final shape gradually comes into sight from this composition. Emerging from the shadow into the light, it results from the oval a nomadic shape (called free) or an erratic one (called authoritarian), which becomes Simeti's signature.

  • Through the variations of pieces of oval cardboard cut up and then glued onto the canvas, Simeti makes us perceive the non-homogeneity of the monochrome painting.

    From these paintings, we obtain surface effects and reliefs as well as shadow and light effects that, though they endow the creations with an esthetic – and even decorative – side, demonstrate great precision and fine radicality. Simetti also succeeds to dematerialize the presence of the object by playing on the principle of repetition and light modulation.

    The oval has become the brand that makes his works recognizable. The ellipse appears as the essential archetype, the origin of all forms. Elena Pontiggia sees in this shape the Cyclopes' eyes, wide open to the immensity of a metaphysical space.

  • Following his own plastic rules, Simeti stands out by a new vocabulary: the hollow shape. The collage disappears from the surface of the canvas, “dematerialized” only by the light effects. Unlike his initial works where the added oval object was the main element of the canvas, the "extroflexion" oval becomes the core around which the pictorial element of the artwork is organized.

    The elliptic shape is obtained by a handmade wooden matrix, then glued onto the back of the canvas. Simeti's modulations create a tension in the tissue at various degrees and the angle of the oval is then articulated by the elliptic rotation of the axis. The side of its tilted surface, or the conical section, its position on the canvas and its possible combination with other light patterns create multiple effects and offer unlimited new spaces.

    Every matrix is unique; it is not a repeated shape by a tool. There is not one single print, but several ones. In all logic, the oval serves two functions: the repetition and the distribution. The repetition produces a series where the difference circulates; it is a creative principle that does not imply a beginning or an end. The repetition of the same pattern forms a present that runs out. A distribution element joins this repetition to regulate the space relation among the "retroflexions".

    On the basis of these two principles, the shape shows a dynamic space, giving the possibility to materialize the absence. Therefore, thanks to his elliptic method, Simeti makes appear the homogenity of the light movement through secants, curves and inflexions.


  • Turi Simeti editions and book at the Shop

    Turi Simeti book and editions


    For more information please contact us at inquiries@alminerech.com