The artist, humanist, architect and philosopher Francesco Marino di Teana is part of the generation of experimental or “prospective” artists of the 1960s-70s who were questioning the relationships between art, architecture and space. A member of the GIAP (Groupe International d’Architecture Prospective), in the late 1950s he began developing a practice of sculpture open to the issues and challenges of architecture and social housing. This is evidenced in his Arquitectura del futuro project (1958), for which he totally redefined concepts of space. In 1963, Michel Ragon, author of Où vivrons-nous demain? (Where will we live tomorrow?), described him as an eminent representative of the Architecture-Sculpture movement. Entirely dedicated to his conception of “total art,” Marino di Teana aimed to blend the permanence of sculpture with architecture and the city. “All my sculptures are architectural models. I would like to be able to stretch them to the scale of the building.” With the monumental sculpture Liberté (1989-1991), in the Paris suburb of Fontenay-sous-Bois, its geometric volumes are disintegrated to make space circulate—to shape it. For Marino di Teana, space has a plastic role to play and counts as much as the mass. “My sculptures, or rather my structures, are designed directly on the basis of the concept of tri-unitary logic. In order to establish a harmonic dialog in space, a certain number of free forms are required, just as with two people engaged in dialog, a certain distance is necessary for the conversation to have meaning. If the universe is beautiful, it is thanks to relationship between volume and space at every level.”
Born in Italy in 1920 and a graduate of the Buenos Aires Scholl of Fine Arts (Argentina) in 1950, Francesco Marino di Teana enjoyed was widely recognized in the 1960s-70s and produced many public commissions in France, where he settled in 1953. His work is present in the collections of the Musée National d’Art Moderne (Centre Pompidou), and he was the subject of an exhibition in 1976 at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, creating an installation of sculpture-models for the occasion.
Several books about him have been published since that show and in 2009 he received the Commandant Paul-Louis Weiller sculpture prize for his life’s work.