Enrico Benaglia biography
(by Riccardo M. Cucciolla)
Painter, draftsman, engraver, lithographer, designer, sculptor, Henry Benaglia was born in 1938 in Rome, where he still lives and works. While he was a teenager he attended, for professional reasons, Villa Medici, the French Academy in Rome and the studies of some leading figures of the twentieth century: Fazzini, Omiccioli, Gentilini and Montanarini. Around the end of the 60's, he was encouraged by the esteem and friendship of important painters and art critics such as Vittorio Guzzi, Giovanni Domenico Purificato and Giovanni Stradone, Benaglia exhibited at the Galleria La Vetrata in Rome (1969) a series of paintings in witch he was already establishing the originality of its aesthetic and poetic. Precisely, Roberto Lombardi, the owner of that gallery, was the first to undestand the artistical potential of this Roman painter.
Outside of the principal conceptual "artistic poles" of the 60's and early 70's, thanks to the authenticity of his paintings, Benaglia got in touch with a cultural world of poets and actors, such as Luciano Luisi, Renato Civello, Claudio Rendina, Mario Lunetta , Walter Maestosi, Biagio Proietti, Nanni Fabbri, Riccardo Cucciolla, Gabriella Sobrino, Umberto Serafini, Laura Gianoli, Guido Ruggiero. This background contributed to the further development and shaping of his poetical world. Parallel to this factor, also contributed to the Benaglia's artistic growth an intense period of exhibitions, since Premio Villa San Giovanni (1972) til the exhibition in Osaka, Japan, in 1973. At the same time Benaglia developed a great interest in lithography and engraving.
Since the mid-seventies, he performed many graphical suites with critical texts by Carlo Giacomozzi, Marcello Venturoli, Franco Simongini, Donatella Serafini, Guido Giuffre, Mario Pomilio, Ferruccio Ulivi, Georges de Canino, Philippe Soupault, Rossana Zampetti, Mario Lunetta, Luciano Luisi, Umberto Serafini. His work as a scenographer began in 1978 with the comedy of Lucio Piccolo, "Lettere di Gozzano", directed by Giacomo Colli, for RAI. In 1986, he designed the sets and costumes for the stage adaptation of "The Diary" by Alice James, directed by Nanni Fabbri and the theatrical play "Pigeons" by Alida Maria Sessa, directed by Riccardo Cucciolla. Benaglia, also, created the posters for the sports games of the April 25 "Grand Prix of the Liberation" (XXXIX edition) and for the exhibition "The dress beyond fashion" at the Palazzo Fortuny in Venice in 1991. His exhibitions began in the seventies in Italy (in Rome at Galleria La Vetrata, L'Indicatore and the Galleria di Enrico Lombardi) and abroad (Osaka, Vienna, Caracas, in the former Yugoslavia and Sweden). At the French Cultural Centre in Rome, in 1982 exposed a "Hommage à Rimbaud", together with George de Canino, with a critical text by Domenico Guzzi and in 1987 designed a lithograph, "L'Etoile filante" for the exhibition "Hommage à Grandvill".
During the 80's, Benaglia is placed permanently in the national art scene through the identification of original iconography and symbolism, linked to the world fables and mythology. In 1985 it was published a first organic volume on his work for the publishing house "Fratelli Laterza", with a text by Alberico Sala. In the same year, Benaglia was called in the former Yugoslavia by the Italian Foreign Ministry for a traveling exhibition, and was invited by the Swedish University of Umea as the Italian painter of the University Italy for an homage to Italy.
In 1990, the Lazio Region patronizes his anthology "Enrico Benaglia, Fabula picta, Fabula dicta," at the Galleria Rondanini of Rome, with a text by Mario Lunetta, "La sapienza dell'ingenuità, l'ingenuità della sapienza", in 1991 Rossella Siligato presented his exhibition at "FIAT Arte" in Rome. In those years there were many exhibitions at private spaces, from the gallery of Roman Enrico Lombardi, with a catalog of Renato Civello ("Il mirabile gioco"), the Galleria "L'Indicatore" of Rome and at "Galleria Senato" of Milan (1994), with a catalog of Carlo Bo ("The clock in pieces"). In 1995, on the occasion of an exhibition at galleria La Vetrata in Rome, it was published the book "Between symbol and allegory" with a preface by Sissi Aslan.
In 1997 the Port Authority of Civitavecchia with the City and the Regional Council of Lazio organized, at the fortress of Michelangelo, an exhibition with an essay by Rolando Alfonso titled "Trip to the fortress".
In 1998, the Abruzzo Region, the Superintendent and the National Museum of Abruzzo dedicated to him, in the Castle of L'Aquila, the exhibition focused on medieval themes "Il salotto incantato " by Sissi Aslan. In December 1999, in the Sala Club Freccia Alata of Leonardo da Vinci airport, he exposed a significant collection of works with a presentation by Sissi Aslan.
Nel maggio del 2000, presso la galleria L’Indicatore di Roma si presenta il ciclo inedito de “ I quartieri dell’ anima “ corredato da un’ antologia omonima di poesie curata da Gabriella Sobrino e presentato da Alida Maria Sessa che ne coordina le successive tappe di New York (gennaio- marzo 2004 , presso l’ aeroporto J.F. Kennedy), di Pescara (marzo- aprile 2004 , al Museo Vittoria Colonna), di Madrid (marzo- aprile 2005 presso l’ Istituto di Cultura) ed infine di Fondi (maggio –giugno 2005 a Palazzo Castani).
Nel settembre – ottobre 2000, con il patrocinio del Comune di Treviso , presso il Centro Culturale “ Le Venezie “ , si tiene una mostra antologica “ Stati di instabilità permanente “ con saggi di Luigina Bortolatto e di Alida Maria Sessa , a cura di Edarcom Europa.
Da luglio a settembre 2001 il Comune di Catania invita Benaglia a “ Le Ciminiere “ per un’ antologica che riguarda gli anni dal 1977 al 2001 , presentata da Renato Civello e curata da Edarcom Europa . A novembre e dicembre è alla sala Vip Vittorio Alfiero dell’ aeroporto di Torino Caselle con la raccolta dal titolo “Elogio della leggerezza “.
Nel marzo 2002 , in collaborazione con Alitalia e con Edarcom Europa è al Vittoriano di Roma col ciclo de “ Il giardino segreto “ , curato da Alida Maria Sessa che lo presenta in catalogo con Duccio Trombadori e ne coordina le tappe successive di Chieti ( dicembre – gennaio 2002, presso la galleria Trifoglio ) Tallinn ( giugno –luglio 2003 presso la Old Townhall sotto l’alto patronato dell’ Ambasciata Italiana ), a Strasburgo ( giugno-agosto 2005 presso la Camera di Commercio , in collaborazione con l’ Istituto di Cultura).
Dal luglio 2002 fino al giugno 2003 , in collaborazione con Alitalia, una sua grande tela “ Notte Italiana “ rimane esposta presso l’ aeroporto Charles de Gaulle di Parigi , nel giugno 2003 espone il ciclo “Vita in campagna “ presso la sala vip dell’ aeroporto di Bruxelles . Molto intensa è anche la sua presenza in gallerie romane , per l’ Argam 2003 espone con Alberto Sughi presso la galleria Michelangelo , nel novembre dello stesso anno con la raccolta “La forza della semplicità “ è presso la Domus Arte.
In the period April-May of 2004 Benaglia exposed at the Museum of Santa Maria della Scala in Siena, for the cycle "Geography of emotions", curated by Fabio Cozzi, with essays by Gabriele Simongini and Alida Maria Sessa. Again, in 2004, he won the first prize for painting the third edition of "Città di Fondi". From November 2004 until January 2005, he exhibited in Milan at the Galleria Senato oil paintings and sculptures, with the text in the catalog of Alida Maria Sessa titled "The enchanted gaze" while in Rome at Edarcom Europe held a major exhibition of pastels. In February 2005 it was presented at the State Archive of Rome, the general catalog of engraving edited by Gabriele Simongini, and in June replicated at the State Archives of Florence. In July August 2005, at the Rocca Paolina in Perugia, under the patronage of the Province of Perugia, it was exposed his exhibition "Dreams of paper," the first retrospective dedicated to the years 1965 -1975, the crucial years of training and research. The text of the catalog were cared by Alida Maria Sessa. Meanwhile, Italarte proposed to Poggibonsi and San Quirico d'Orcia the exhibition "Sommesse e sfarzose emozioni".
In December, in Pescocostanzo for the "Association Artifices", there was an exhibition of oils and pastels at the gallery Castellani curated by Dalia de Amicis.
In February 2006, Italian Institute of Culture of Vienna, it was presented the exhibition "The irony of life", promoted by Italarte, lyrics by Gilberto Madioni, Claudia Mezzina Macher and Alida Maria Sessa. In September, that exbìhibition was transfered at the Museum Murat of Bari and in October at the castle of Piancastagnaio. In November, the Gallery Edarcom Europa held the exhibition "Inventory of emotions", and it was presented, at the Faculty of Letters of the La Sapienza University of Rome, the catalogue-calendar curated by Carlo Andriuoli for the Basilicata Region, which included thirteen crayons unusual and significant anthology of poets. Between December 2006 and January 2007, at the Forte Michelangelo in Civitavecchia, there was the monothematic cycle "The rooms of the sea" by the Galleria Michelangelo, with the presentation of Alida Maria Sessa.
From April to October 2007, the Museum of Teramo offered the exhibition "Inner Path", with selected works from the Benaglia's private collection, curated by Piera Di Nicolantonio. In that summer, he realized eighteen sketches to create the sets of the comedy "I leave to my women" by Diego Fabbri directed by Nanni Fabbri Lello Arena and Angiola Baggi which debuted in Forlì in November 20th. Again, in November it was presented the "Trilogy", three exhibitions that were inaugurated on successive days in the Roman galleries owned by Teresa and Pino Purificato, with the presentation of Nino D'Antonio. In December, it was opened at the Gallery Trifoglio of Chieti, an exhibition of oils and pastels presented by Maria Cristina Ricciardi. In Rome, at the Terrazza Martini it was presented the book "Pages of the Poet", published by Pagine and curated by Alida Maria Sessa, for which the artist created twelve tables in the comment of the month.
In March 2008, there was an exhibition of oil, pastels and sculptures at the Galleria Senato of Milan. In October 2008 at the Pinacoteca di Palazzo Vitelli of Città di Castello, Alida Maria Sessa presented "Collages-paintings" that was extended until January 2009. Also, in October 2008 at the Chamber of Deputies it was presented a graphic portfolio "Triptych for Benaglia", with poems by Gino Flower, and in November 2008 at the Toy Museum of Palazzo Rospigliosi in Zagarolo, the exhibition "Playing with the World", edited by Maria Stella Càstano, with the text of Alida Maria Sessa and the artistic direction of Francesco Zero.
In February 2009, the exhibition "Passo di Danza" at the Gallery Edarcom Europa of Rome. From April 28 to June 2, the province of Rome hosted at Palazzo Incontro the exhibition "Giochi in giro" as a part of the event "the Province of Wonders", cured by Francesco Zero and Giovanni Pescatori. In July, he made a banner-rag for the Palio of Carpineto Romano and the sculpture "Mediterranean" for the Lazio region destined for the International Prize "Lazio between Europe and the Mediterranean." On February 10, the National Library presented the book "Paths in Districts of the Soul" by Maria Mercede Ligozzi that explored the public exhibition at the Art Gallery of Teramo during a Benaglia's exhibiton. In the period April-May 2009 there was an exhibition of paintings and sculptures "Benaglia's Circus" at the Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome. In the 2011 an exhibition at the Chamber of Commerce of Catania, "Splendor in the Mediterranean",n with critical texts of Pietrangelo Buttafuoco and Alida Maria Sessa. Exhibition at the Headquarters of the bank UBS in Lugano with critical Text of Dalmazio Ambrosoni.
April-May Benaglia exposes the Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome a selection of paintings and sculptures "Benaglia's Circus".
Between January and February is staged the exhibition "Splendor in the Mediterranean" at the Chamber of Commerce of Catania.
In winter 2011-2012, the painting "Nativity" was exhibited at Palazzo Valentini in Rome.