Giuliano Barbanti

Giuliano Barbanti was born on the 22nd of October, 1936 in Sesto San Giovanni. Even as a boy he was attracted to painting, and enrolled at the age of fourteen in the Federico Faruffini school. 

He started working in 1952 as an engraver at the Agenzia Arar in Milan, where he remained for five years, while studying, painting and frequenting art galleries and the studios of Milanese artists. He visited the large exhibits that the city of Milan organized at the Palazzo Reale in the fifties: Caravaggio, Picasso, Van Gogh, and Mondrian who was to be his main point of reference. He began exhibiting in a number of collective exhibits at the Biblioteca Civica in his own town. 

In 1962 a group of young artists opens the gallery “Il Giorno”. Barbanti is among the founders of the exhibition “Piazzetta” and contributes to its evolution, from annual art shows to a permanent activity centre for the promotion of participations in the neighbourhood, based on the needs expressed by the citizens and achieved with their involvement in all projects planned from 1973 until 1976. In the following year he establishes his studio in the neighorhood of the workshops where many other artists work such as Castellani, Bonalumi, Festa, Marzulli, Curone and Forgioli. 

From 1963 to 1969 he taught designing and planning at the “Istituto Rizzoli per le Arti Grafiche”. In these same years, his participation in competitions and exhibits attracted the attention of critics and he received a number of important acknowledgements. Among these was the prize from the Galleria Blu at the Diomira national drawing competition of 1964, with purchase of his work. He held his first one-man show in 1966 at the Centro Culturale Ricerca in Sesto San Giovanni.


His painting and his intense activity in drawing during the early sixties can be placed in a non-representational context together with graphic and chromatic experience which gradually tended towards the singling out of clusters of matter and of new spatial co-ordinates. Some of these works were exhibited and recommended for the Premio Nazionale San Fedele and for the Mostra Pittori di Oggi organized in Lombardy by Luciano Caramel. In 1966 and in 1967 he won the Sesto San Giovanni Piazzetta Prize and he took part in the travelling exhibit Prospettiva 2 mounted by Enrico Crispoli and Giorgio Di Genova. 

Through a process of decantation, filtering and constant control of its elements, from 1968 on, his painting began to reveal a modular dimension, scanned in rigorous backgrounds, defined with increasing clarity by a hard edged configuration, typical of pure abstraction. His constant and almost exclusive use of an air-brush in order to obtain a spatial continuum in its endless circularity radically characterizes the course of his research up to 1975. Gradual shading as a conceptual element quickens the whole surface of the painting, whose borders are continually questioned by the subtle modifications of the canvas. The appearance of colour, initially a marginal element, almost disturbing the borders of the monochromatic surfaces, together with the air-brushed element and with the shaping of one or more sides, suggests a virtual three-dimensional effect as well as an ambiguous perception of the pictorial field. 

From 1969 to 1971 he taught painting at the “Istituto Superiore d'Arte Applicata del Castello” in Milan and, in the same year, he also began teaching at the Scuola Faruffini in Sesto San Giovanni. In 1969 he began collaborating with architects Salvati and Tresoldi, carrying out artistic works in public and private spaces, among which: the Centro Esposizioni RB in Bergamo, 1970; the Legal office in via Santa Tecla in Milan, 1974; a house in Punta Ala, 1975; a playing structure in the gardens of a quarter in Sesto San Giovanni, 1974. In 1971 and 1972 he was asked to work in a ceramic plant at Albisola where he produced a series of monochrome plates with minimalist relief and sculpture. In 1974 and in 1989 he was invited to participate in the Biennale Nazionale Città di Milano. Presented by Gillo Dorfles, in 1975 he gave his first one-man exhibit at the Galleria Lorenzelli in Milan, which was followed by other one-man exhibits in 1979, 1981, 1986, 1992 and 2005. 

Also in 1975 he took part in the “Aroldo Bonzagni” competition at Cento and won a gold medal from the City of Ferrara. In the following years he exhibits with Lorenzelli Arte at several international art fairs: Bologna, Milan, Paris, Cologne, Madrid and Yokohama. In 1976 he was invited to the Biennale in Venice following an initiative of Piazzetta, in the section “Ambiente come sociale”; in 1977 he took part in the exhibition of contemporary Italian engravers at the Modern Art Gallery in Lyubliana. 


In 1979 he became one of the founders of the Centro Culturale Rondottanta at Sesto San Giovanni where one-man exhibits are usually set up for important artists. The exhibitions organized by the artist were more than one hundred and fifty in the various cultural centres of the town. We can recall those of Bonfanti, Cappello and Grignani at the Centro Culturale Rodottanta; Jenkins, Pardi and Minoli at the Centro Culturale of the Banca di Credito Cooperativo; Liliana Moro and other young artists at the Centro Valmaggi. In the same year he took part in the “Premio Villa San Giovanni” in Reggio Calabria and received a gold medal from the Foundation awarding the prize. In 1980 he took over the direction of the Civica Scuola d'Arte Federico Faruffini at Sesto San Giovanni and enlarged its teaching and cultural activity. In 1984 one of Barbanti's works was purchased for the permanent CIMAC collection, at the Civico Museo d'Arte Contemporanea in Milan. In 1985, during a stay in Paris and in Borgogne, he met the artists Bruno Pulga, Anton Zoran Musič and Carl-Henning Pedersen. 

On the occasion of the fourth one-man show at Lorenzelli Arte in 1986, a monograph was published with texts by Gillo Dorfles, Flaminio Gualdoni, and Marco Meneguzzo. In 1988 he curates for the Cassa Rurale Artigiana (now Banca di Credito Cooperativo) the books “Affreschi a Sesto San Giovanni”; in 1992 “Chiese a Sesto San Giovanni” and in 1989, the volume “Federico Faruffini”, by Anna Finocchi on a project of Barbanti in 1981. In 1991 he took part in the show “Mirage of Lyricism, Abstract Art in Italy” at the Liljevalchs Konsthall in Stockholm, mounted by Elena Pontiggia. In 1993 he submitted to the township of Sesto San Giovanni a cultural project for the Galleria Civica d'Arte Contemporanea drawn up with Amedeo Bellini and Gillo Dorfles. In 1993 he puts aside the use of shading and begins a work of exploration in depth, seeking other linguistic elements for a new organization of his painted surfaces, with a particular dedication to the exaltation of purity and vitality of colour, which freely, but with determination, acts on the two-dimensional structure of the surfaces, keeping, in most cases, the mobility of the margins. 

In 1997, in a suggestive seventeenth century church in Piacenza, site of the Galleria Rosso Tiziano Arte, he set up a one-man exhibit with canvasses and works on paper presented by Martina Corgnati. On December 1st, 1997 he was awarded the Lingottino d'Oro, a small bar of gold, by the town Sesto San Giovanni for his activity as painter, cultural promoter and director of the Civica Scuola d'Arte. In 2001 one of his works was exhibited in the permanent collection of the Museo G. Bargellini of Pieve di Cento. Among the numerous group exhibitions in the last years, of particular interest is “L'incanto della pittura, percorsi dell'arte italiana del secondo novecento” cured by Casa del Mantegna in Mantova in 2004, cured by Claudio Cerritelli. In November 2005 the poetic volume “Dedicate2” by Alberto Veca is published, edited by Cavenaghi Arte in Milan. In this poetic volume, a poem by Barbanti on the cultural and artistic experience is published. 

Two of his works become part of the collections of Italian contemporary art museums in Durazzo and of the Museum of Geometric and MADI Art in Dallas. In April 2006 he participates with two large canvases to the exhibition “senza titolo/untitled”, an opening exhibition of the new Turin gallery Mar & Partners. He is invited to the 45° Premio Suzzara in 2006 and 2007 at the exhibition “Pittura Pura” at the Permanente in Milan, cured by the professor Klaus Wollbert. 

In 2008 he joins the exhibition “Pittura Aniconica” cured by Claudio Cerritelli at the Casa del Mantegna in Mantova; in the same year he was invited to the Premio Marina in Ravenna at the Park Hotel and at the Art Museum of the city of Ravenna. In 2009 “Parole al minimo” by Claudio Cerritelli was published by Neos editions for Cavenaghi Arte. In July 2010, he shows at Lorenzelli Arte at the exhibitions ““..Sussurro..Whisper..”, a group exhibition of the gallery's artists. From September to November 2012 he exhibits at the palace of Podestà of Castell'Arquato at the show “Al Principio del Vedere” cured by Ilaria Bignotti and Matteo Galbiati and from February till June 2013 he participates to the exhibition “Black and White – Reason and Passion” by Lorenzelli Arte in Milan. In April 2014 he is invited by Elena Pontiggia and Cristina Casero to the the exhibition “Nati nei '30, Milano e la generazione di Piero Manzoni” in Milan at Palazzo della Permanente.