artnet Asks: Turi Simeti

"I don't believe in inspiration, I believe in work," he says.

Turi Simeti
Turi Simeti Photo: parloinfoto.blogspot.com
Turi Simeti

Turi Simeti
Courtesy of parloinfoto.blogspot.com.

Turi Simeti is a prominent Italian artist best known for his monochrome artwork and his contributions to the Zero (art) movement of the 1960s and ’70s. In line with the written specifications of Zero art by Otto Piene—“[Zero] expresses a zone of silence and of pure possibilities for a new beginning.”—Simeti’s artwork is minimalistic in style, and is concerned with the physical existence of the artwork itself. He is still an active artist. His work has been exhibited extensively throughout Italy and internationally, including at De Buck Gallery in New York, Galleria Pa Szepan in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, and Galerie Liatowitsch in Basel, Switzerland. He currently lives and works in Milan. Simeti’s work will be on view alongside other prominent postwar Italian artists in a group exhibition entitled “A New Visual Dialogue” at De Buck Gallery through November 8.

When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
After high school. I thought I wanted to become a vet, so I started studying veterinary [medicine]. Afterwords, I changed my mind and thought I wanted to become a lawyer and started studying law. I then realized I wanted to become a painter and, therefore, I went to Rome in 1958. I studied art, and I can say that my actual career started in 1960.

Turi Simeti, Tre Ovali Rossi, (2014) acrylic on shaped canvas, 39 1/3 x 39 1/3 inches, 100 x 100 cm Photo: courtesy the artist and De Buck Gallery

Turi Simeti, Tre Ovali Rossi (2014)
Courtesy of the artist and De Buck Gallery.

What inspires you?
I don’t believe in inspiration, I believe in work. I think I want to do things in a certain way and I try to do them. I don’t know inspiration, it is an old word that suits poets but not artists. Artists think, decide, and work. I see beautiful things and I try to work on them, inspiration does not suit me.

Turi Simeti, Uno Ovali Bianchi, (1968) acrylic on canvas, 39 1/3 x 27 1/2 inches, 100 x 70 cmPhoto: courtesy the artist and De Buck Gallery

Turi Simeti, Uno Ovali Bianchi (1968)
Photo courtesy of the artist and De Buck Gallery.

If you could own any work of modern or contemporary art, what would it be?
A Lucio Fontana canvas.

Turi Simeti, Quattro Ovali Neri,  (1994)acrylic on shaped canvas, 78 3/4 x 47 1/4 inches, 200 x 120 cm Photo:courtesy the artist and De Buck Gallery

Turi Simeti, Quattro Ovali Neri (1994)
Courtesy of the artist and De Buck Gallery.

What are you working on at the moment?
I have a big solo exhibition at the Museum of Cassino on December 18.

When not making art, what do you like to do? 
I live in my studio, but when it is cold in winter, I like going where it is warm. In July and August I close my studio and go to Sicily, where I work and go to the beach. I love the beach and the seaside.

Turi Simeti’s work will be on view alongside other prominent postwar Italian artists in a group exhibition entitled “A New Visual Dialogue” at De Buck Gallery through November 8.


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