Bachi da Setola in Miami Beach Art Basel

Despite the common trend of Art Basel Miami Beach of bringing well-known pieces of pop art to satisfy the American taste, I was most surprised to find there Bachi da Setola by Pino Pascali, some of the most sophisticated and unique work made by an Italian artist working in the late 20th century. The work, presented at ArtBasel Miami by Magazzino Gallery, is one of the very few Bachi da Setola published in Pascali’s catalogue raisonné.

Moreover the gallery managed to harmonically display works by masters such as Pascali, Boetti, Merz and Schifano alongside works by young artists like Alessandro Piangiamone, Mircea Cantor among others. It was one of the few well presented spaces inside the fair.

However Bachi da Setola is the piece the attracted my attention the most out of all the work in the fair. It is a very rare work produced by Pascali in 1968 and showed at Galerie Jolas in Paris and L’Attico in Rome. It is a work based on a play on words, the italian word “seta” (silk) is replaced with “setola” (rough bristles of a brush), transforming the term “bachi da seta” which normally refers to silkworms.

It is in line with Pascali’s artistic production and fictional universe which goes beyond any sense of measure. Confronted with fake weapons, fantastic canvas-made animals or, in the case of Bachi da Setola, with gigantic multicolored worms.

Challenging sensory perception, this astonishing work playfully opposes the roughness of the bristles with the theoretical smoothness of silk to evoke a sense of dichotomy between the artificiality of the industrial world and the reality of raw nature. Pascali’s worms have grown from minuscule, colourless animals to become enormous, vivid and brightly coloured creatures that have lost their naturalness in favour of an extraordinary yet frightening toy appearance.



IMG_3803Pino Pascali, Bachi da Setola, 1968. All pictures by Fausta Maria Bolettieri

by Fausta Maria Bolettieri