Luigi Di Sarro (Lamezia Terme, 1941 – Roma 1979), physician and artist, during the 60’s and 70’s has played an informed and solitary search. Relentless experimenter, he practiced drawing, painting, engraving, sculpture, photography and performance art with a particular interest in topics related to body, movement, light and abstract sign. Died at only thirty-seven, killed by a fatal mistake in the tense atmosphere of Italian period of political turmoil in 24 th February 1979, he left a wide artistic production (paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures, graphics, projects, notes, aphorisms) which constitutes the historical archive nucleus of the contemporary art documentation center dedicated to him by his family in 1981. Luigi Di Sarro’s artworks are present in various Italian and foreign public collections.
Luigi Di Sarro was born in Lamezia Terme on 1 November 1941. In 1942 his family moved to Rome, where Luigi lived and worked.
From a young age he showed a marked artistic inclination. In 1956, while still at high school, he started attending the copperplate engraving workshop of Carlo Alberto Petrucci and the National Chalcography. In 1958 he attended Accademia Libera del Nudo and in 1959 the Drawing Course at Accademia di Francia.
After his classical studies, he cultivated a parallel interest in art and science. In 1967 he obtained a degree in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Rome, and 1968 he enrolled at Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome, where he followed courses held by Emilio Greco (in sculpture), Franco Gentilini (painting), Lino Bianchi Barriviera and Mino Maccari (copperplate engraving), Antonio Del Guercio and Enrico Crispolti (history of art). He obtained his diploma in 1972.
In 1973 he enrolled in the third year of the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics at the University of Rome, attending various courses including Abstract Algebra held by Lucio Lombardo Radice.
He took a teacher’s diploma in Artistic Anatomy and later also in Pictorial Disciplines and began teaching at the 2nd Arts High School in Rome. In 1974 he started teaching at Accademia di Belle Arti in Macerata, and 1978 obtained a post teaching Artistic Anatomy at Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome.
In 1976, during a course on drawing entitled “Finalità progettuale dell’opera d’arte” (organised by the Ministry of Education), he held a seminar on “Relations between art and science and didactic problems”.
He was invited to speak on the “Phenomenology of Art and Science” in the “Cogliere la vita” episode of the television series “Occhi mani e fantasia” (RAI 1976).
In 1976-77 he participated in the workshop in a Group run by the National Chalcography, directed at that time by Carlo Bertelli.
In 1978 he dedicated his time to adding to the equipment of his art studio in his house at Lago di Vico (where he decided to establish a school of experimental art), and opened his studio at Via Paolo Emilio 28, Rome, to the public. He called it “MICRON/Studio d’Arte Sperimentale/Foto-Sign-Movement-Sound” (as it states on the plaque which highlights the studio’s aims).
His travels contributed greatly to his education. An excellent knowledge of the German language and literature led him to choose Germany for his first trip in 1960. He perfected his English at the American Academy of Rome and after numerous trips to Germany, Austria, France, England, Tunisia and Egypt, he travelled to the United States in 1971 and in New York attended the Art Students League of Manhattan, perfecting his lithographic technique.
In 1975 he went to Japan for a study-trip to Tokyo. Here he carried out a number of silk-screen prints with the technical collaboration of Shigheo Yamaguchi and, on the medical side, deepened his knowledge of acupuncture.
He held his first personal exhibition in Rome in 1968, but began to take part in important exhibitions in 1956.
His informed and solitary research became more intense during the 1960s and 1970s. He was a keen experimenter, and in addition to drawing (which he did every day), painting, engraving, sculpture and photography, he also explored the world of sound, performance and more besides.
He died tragically in Rome on 24 February 1979 – due to a fatal mistake in the climate of Italy’s wave of terrorism and the enactment of the Reale Law – leaving a vast artistic production, some works already in museum collections both in Italy and abroad, as well as projects, notes, aphorisms and poetry. In 1981 the “Luigi Di Sarro Documentation Centre for Contemporary Artistic Research” was opened in Rome.