Piero Pizzi Cannella: His Work and His Ideas

Cornell in Rome Spring 2008 Lecture Series

A native of Rome and graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts at the University of Rome La Sapienza, Piero Pizzi Cannella’s work became known in the early 1980s when, together with a group of young artists including Nunzio, Ceccobelli, Dessi, Gallo, and Tirelli, he moved into the abandoned Pastificio Cerere in the San Lorenzo district of Rome. This group of Roman artists based their artistic vocabulary on the renewed interest in painting and created works that concentrated on thick and painterly mediums and abstractions. A few years later, the group was known as the School of San Lorenzo or the New Scuola Romana. In his paintings, Pizzi Cannella applies thick, broad areas of pigment, juxtaposed to thin veils of color, to reveal visionary allusions to the human form. His vague symbolic works, usually of very large dimensions, allow the image to appear and disappear in vibrations of yellow, red, and ocher against a deep, dark ground. His earliest exhibitions date to the late 1970s, in artist-run spaces, followed by his first important exhibitions in Rome, at the Galleria l’Attico, and in New York, at the Annina Nosei Gallery. In 1987 he participated in the XI Quadriennale in Rome, followed by participation in the Venice Biennale, in 1988 and 1993, and at MACRO Future in 2006. Cannella’s works are represented in numerous museums and private collections around the world.