Redeployment of Sculpture in the City
Francesco Somaini and Mauro Staccioli’s implementation of sculptural forms—paradoxically a traditional medium—within Arte Ambientale. It was inspired by Somaini’s 1973 publication Urgenze nella Città in which he attributed a social and urban function to sculpture: one where the artist’s work is integrated into the realities of the community. Somaini tasked the sculptor with making art that reversed the alienation that resulted from impoverished urban architecture by creating evocative three-dimensional forms. With similar intentions for the redeployment of sculpture, both Somaini and Staccioli explored urban spatial conditions through radically different approaches: Somaini’s forms are soft and fluid, while Staccioli’s work is geometric and hard. Central to the discussion of the significance of sculpture in urban space is the discourse of urban renewal and the atmosphere of violence that pervaded the decade and unfolded in the city streets.