Genoa, 1922 - Milan, 1986
Emilio Scanavino was an Italian painter and sculptor.
In 1942 he enrolled in the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Milan, but at the same time he presented his first personal exhibition at the Salone Romano in Genoa. The outbreak of the war forced him to abandon his studies and go to the front.
Once back home, he began working as a technical designer at the municipal administration of Genoa and adheres to the climate of cultural and artistic renewal of his city. In the meantime he continues his artistic activity, producing a series of canvases where linguistic modules of expressionist declinations recur.
In 1950 he exhibited at the 25th Venice Biennale (where he would return several times), receiving the attention of critics. The following year he obtained a personal exhibition at the Apollinaire Gallery in London, where he met Philip Martin, Eduardo Paolozzi and Francis Bacon.
The 1950s are marked by his approach to the Milanese Spaziali group, to which he will never formally adhere. In recent years, Scanavino also often traveled between London and Paris. In this period the first Rituals and the endless Alphabets were born, the themes that recur in Scanavino's painting, where the sign becomes the protagonist on the canvas of full and empty spaces of suggestive presences.
The Venice Biennale invites him again in 1958, and in 1960 and 1966 with a personal room.
Throughout the seventies, Scanavino's sign is simplified and gathered in grids or geometric architectures, which prelude to a reflection on the objectification of painting.
In 1973 the Kunsthalle of Darmstadt dedicates a vast and in-depth anthology to him which will also be exhibited in Venice at Palazzo Grassi and in Milan at Palazzo Reale.