PERA profilo

“C’est le jeste, le beau jeste is the measured, calculated gesture, ante tékhnē that, together with the mind, translates the project, the idea into an image: tactae sonuerunt basically. I am attracted by the materials that I use to fix the intuition and translate the suggestions.”CT

page 15 Le orme di tempo. Metarealtà di Luciano Pera (ETS publisher)


Amerigo Luciano Pera was born on 7 January, 1925 in Badia di Cantignano, in the Lucca countryside. His father Pietro and his mother Dina Baccelli were both native of Tuscany. His first experiences in the field of art date back to the second half of the 1930s when he began drawing and modelling, freely inspired by the nature surrounding him.

Between 1940 and 1945 he attended the Liceo Classico “Niccolò Machiavelli” and the Liceo Scientifico “Antonio Vallisneri” secondary schools, both in Lucca. In that same period, he assiduously visited Tuscan museums and made drawings, frottages, decoupages, collages and simultaneously worked in his father’s mechanical workshop, where he learned the principles of construction and discovered the appeal of the materials he experimented with in the studio in Badia di Cantignano, working with wood, iron, slate, leather and zinc.

In 1945 he attended Medical School at Pisa University first and at the university in Genoa later. At the same time, he attended art institutes and academies in Pisa, Lucca, Florence, Genoa and Paris. In 1947 he went to Paris for the first time and here he met the major representatives of the artistic and literary culture of the time: Bernard Buffet, Lucien Fontanarosa, Max Ernst, Pablo Picasso, Jean Cocteau, Marc Chagall, Ardengo Soffici, Filippo De Pisis, Gino Severini and Massimo Campigli. He met Roland Barthes, visited the Musée de l’Homme and followed lessons by André Levy Strauss, developing a passion for the history of humanity. Discovering Cézanne and attending the local schools, he was able to reflect and to review those models that up until then had inspired him. In 1948 he participated in a group exhibition at Galerie de l’Odeon.

In the decade that goes from 1945 to 1955 he made many trips to Switzerland, Austria, England, Germany, Yugoslavia and Spain, often returning to Lucca where he opened his studios in Corso Garibaldi, in Piazzetta San Pellegrino, where he created ceramic works, and in Piazza San Romano that would soon become the meeting place for artists, literary figures and art critics. In 1952 he took part in the Premio di Pittura Bagni di Lucca with the works entitled I tulipani and Yvette, and was awarded a prize by Carlo Carrà, whom he will meet again in Forte dei Marmi at Quarto Platano, together with Ardengo Soffici, Roberto Longhi, Enrico Pea and his friend Leo Lorenzetti. Other ceramic works he created in Albissola in Liguria and in Vallauris, France, during a period of in-depth focus on graphic techniques and painting. Compositions en gris and the Veneri series are from this period. In 1955 he exhibited at Galleria Numero di Fiamma Vigo in Florence.

Between 1955 and 1975, his return to Paris was characterized by a new interest in anthropology that spurred him to study primitive art of Mediterranean peoples, from the Pyrénées to Ariège, from Spain, Malta, Val des Merveilles-Monte Bego, to Val Camonica. He became a member of the International Institute for Ligurian Studies and of the Societé Prehistorique dell’Ariège. In painting, he continued the Veneri series and began the Metamorfosi series. In 1962 he was in Venice, participating in the ceremony for the conferment of honorary citizenship to Peggy Guggenheim; here he met Emilio Vedova and Giuseppe Marchiori.

In 1964 he married the naturalist Rosy Beruti with whom he shared the passion for nature and for prehistory, an interest that will spur him to attend the faculty of Human Sciences at the Sorbonne University. That same year, he was in Saint Paul de Vence to participate in the inauguration, held by Andrè Malraux, of the Marguerite et Aimé Maeght Foundation, a collaboration he will continue also in the years to come. From 1966 to 1968 he returned to Paris, where he became friends with Léon Pales and André Leroi-Gourhan, visited the Musée de L’Homme and met Hans Hartung at Galerie La Hune. He met Mirò – whom he will see again in Saint Paul de Vence – in Fernand Morisot’s atelier. In Nice, he met Lunia Czechowska, Mogliani’s friend and model, becoming her close friend. In Italy, at Fondazione Giorgio Cini in Venice, where he met Giulio Carlo Argan, he followed courses in High International Culture. During this period, he lived in the south of France and frequented the ceramics workshops where Picasso, Roger Capron, Modoura and Wilfredo Lam also worked. In Saint Paul and in Vence he met and frequented Alberto Magnelli, Marc Chagall, George Braque, Jacques Prevert, Manfredo Borsi, André Verdet, Enzo Cini, Riccardo Schweizer and Raymond Dauphin, in Rome and in Salento.

He often returned to Pietrasanta, the cradle of sculpture and of marble workshops, where he learned traditional foundry techniques. During this time, he created a series of jewellery pieces in bronze, silver and gold using fossil, marble and minerals. At the beginning of the 1970s he assiduously devoted himself to sculpture and in Pietrasanta worked with marble workshops and foundries, in particular Fonderia Mariani and in the studio of Sem Ghelardini. Upon the death of the latter, Maestro Pera dedicated these words to him: “I see you in the marble that takes shape in my hands, in a dream of timeless art. I hear you in the divine quavering of the vineyards of our lands. I remember you in the exhilarating joy of participating in creating” (Lucca, 1997). He used the ancient presses of the Malbacco di Aldo Galleni printing works, evoking surreal and mysterious shapes on paper, fruit of his extremely vivid imagination nurtured by deep knowledge, immense curiosity and continuous cultural exchange with the artists and intellectuals of the time.

He often stayed in Rome, where he was part of the cultural and artistic ambience surrounding Leonardo Sinisgalli, Cesare Zavattini, Luigi Ferrarino, Alfonso Gatto, Andrè Masson, Ignazio Silone and Carlo Levi. He worked in Salento where he found his old friends from Paris: Arno Mandello, Hélenè Asbehe-Cristofanetti and Normann ad Patience Mommens. For Rosy, he created a series of symbolic jewellery-sculptures, references to ancient civilizations and fantastic animals, propitiatory, magical creations, powerfully evocative. He deepened the aspect of graphic research, experimenting lithography at the Angeli printing works in Lucca and at Il Gabbiano works in Pisa. He created graffiti on Bavaria stone and, in Villefranche-sur-Mer, carborundum engravings together with Henri Goetz. He became a member of Rome’s Accademia Tiberina.

In the course of these years, he participated at several solo and group exhibitions in Italy and throughout the world. He exhibited at the European Centre in Brussels, at New York’s Contemporary Art Gallery and at Chapelle Cocteau in Villefranche-sur-Mer, where he met and became friends with Akira Nakamura, eclectic artist with whom he will have an intense exchange of cultural spurs and pictorial creations. He held other exhibitions at Galleria Numero di Fiamma Vigo in Rome, at the Escorial in Monte Carlo, at Galleria Il Riccio 1 in Venice (where he presented the lithographic folder “Appel de la lumière sur la surdité des humains”, with an introduction by Carlo Munari), in Marina di Carrara, Pisa, Cortina, Forte dei Marmi, Bologna, Saint Paul de Vence, Biot, Vallauris and Nice, where at Galerie Michele Sapone he met – among the many artists – Paul Mansouroff, Anton Clavè and George Mathieu. He frequently stayed in Bologna, where he found an extremely stimulating cultural and professional ambience. He exhibited at the Circolo Artistico, where he met Max Bill, Leo Castelli, Giuseppe Raimondi, Claudio Cerritelli, Gillo Dorfles, Giorgio Morandi and became friends with Giorgio Celli, Bartolomeo De Gioia and Franco Solmi. At Galleria Trimarchi he met his old friend Antonio Corpora.
In 1975, during one of his exhibitions at Centro Culturale per l’Informazione Visiva in Rome, he met Giorgio De Chirico. The subsequent year, he exhibited in Biot at Galerie Si-de-Biot, in Nice at Galerie Matarasso, and in Venice at Galleria Numero di Fiamma Vigo. In Venice, he met Egidio Costantini and with him designed works in glass for Fucina degli Angeli. In that same period, he became friends with Guglielmo Achille Cavellini, Rosalda Gilardi and Giò Pomodoro.

Between1980 and 1990 he lived between Versilia, Lucca and Provence. He intensified his contacts with the French cultural world, frequenting Paul Bury, Ben Vautier, Leo Ferré, André Verdet, André Villers, dear friend and personal photographer, Adrien Maeght, Henry Baviera, Jacques and Madeleine Matarasso, Pierre Restany, César, Arman, Sacha Sosno, Jean Louis Prat, Fréderic Altmann, Raymond Hains, Jacques Lepage, Guillaume Cornelis Van Beverloo “Corneille” and Hans Hartung, exchanging letters and correspondence with some of them. He is present at Galeries Sapone, Matarasso and Ferrero. In Cannes he assiduously frequented the atelier of Jean and Hughette Ramié, ethnology and anthropology enthusiasts, and the Galerie at the Hotel Carlton.

In 1980 he held an important solo exhibition at the Municipal Museum of St. Paul de Vence. In 1982, in Nice, he participated at the first International Congress of Human Palaeontology, where he met Professor Copins. In 1984 he was present at the XIX Mostra Internazionale di Scultura all’Aperto at Fondazione Pagani in Legnano Castellanza, and became friends with Enzo Pagani. He continued sculpting, creating monumental works in marble, tuff, travertine and bronze, having a strong symbolic and archaic charge. In painting, he continued with the series of Metamorfosi and of Meccanismi Biologici and began the Cattedrali series. He also created artist’s books and art illustrations, pursuing a graphic research where primitive forms dance using signs stemming from the subconscious. In 1990 he was invited to the Associazione Culturale Fontane di Frabosa Soprana to exhibit his sculptures together with his friend and sculptor Guido Bruno at the Bossea grottos.

Between 1990 and 2000 he continued to work in France and in Tuscany. He left his atelier in Rue St. Joseph in the old part of Nice and opened one in Cremat, on the hills of Nice, where he worked and met with old and new friends. And still in Nice, he presented his Sculptures Portables at Isabelle Gilioli’s Galerie Contempor’Art. In Pietrasanta he created sculptures for the series entitled I Voli and Il Millennio, and successfully presented his jewellery-sculptures at Studio d’Arte La Subbia di Mariella Poli. He continues with solo and group exhibitions at Galerie Maurel in La Colle-sur-Loup, at Galerie Matarasso in Nice, where he became friends with Michel Butor, at Galerie Les Cyclades in Antibes, at Centro Culturale Luigi Russo in Pietrasanta (with his solo exhibition Eves et Reves), at Villa Henraux in Seravezza and at Lucca’s Palazzo Ducale. With his friend Giorgio Celli, with whom he shared a great passion for cats and for ethnology, he created the artist’s book “Le sette virtù celestiali dell’arcobaleno”. He created several pictorial series having strongly evocative titles: Danza delle Pietre, Aggregazioni-Disgregazioni Cosmiche and Giochi del Vento.

2001 is the debut of Marco Agostinelli’s film “Pera, l’ultimo archeologo”, that reproposes a lifetime of study and research focused around the history of humanity. He researched more rigorous forms in the two series of sculptures Modificazioni and Vibrazioni Elettroniche, in black marble from Belgium and white marble from Carrara, while he returned to his most beloved themes in Orme del Tempo. In these years, he continued exhibiting: in 2001 he held a solo show at Palazzo del Rondò in Tuoro sul Trasimeno, the next year he was at Galerie Mots et Merveilles in Tourrette-Sur-Loup, at Chiostro di Sant’Agostino in Pietrasanta and at the Versiliana in Marina di Pietrasanta. In 2003 he was in Padua, invited by Giorgio Segato to participate in the expo “Interpretazioni dantesche”, and that same year he exhibited in Bologna at the Circolo degli Artisti, where he met up with Gillo Dorfles. In 2004 he was once again in Pietrasanta, at the Circolo Culturale Luigi Russo and in Forte dei Marmi with a solo show at Galleria Vesidia. He resumed his comparative studies in the artistic-anthropological field, investigating the characters of Leonardo, Charles Darwin and André Levy Strauss. In 2007 the volume “Le orme del Tempo, Metarealtà di Luciano Pera” is published in Pisa by ETS, covering his long career. In 2011 the Museo Ugo Guidi in Forte dei Marmi dedicated a solo exhibition to the artist, and the same year he was invited to a group show at Open One Art Gallery in Pietrasanta. In 2013, upon invitation by Dr Marco Paoli, he held his solo show entitled “Incisioni e Sculture” in the monumental halls of Lucca’s Biblioteca Statale. At the inauguration, the unreleased artist’s book “Le 7 virtù celestiali dell’arcobaleno” was presented as homage to his friend Giorgio Celli, co-author.
Pera continues creating artistic works while at the same time working intensely on re-organising and cataloguing his collections, dividing his time between Versilia and Lucca, where he lives in a museum-house filled with books, historic and prehistoric objects, sculptures, drawings, souvenirs and above all full of love for life and art.
The information contained in the biography is freely taken from the artist’s website and from the publication “Le orme del Tempo, Metarealtà di Luciano Pera”, 2007, Pisa, published by Edizioni ETS
The images featured in the Timeline re extrapolated from the publication “Le orme del Tempo, Metarealtà di Luciano Pera”, 2007, Pisa, Edizioni ETS or kindly granted by the artist