Manfredo Massironi Italian, 1937-2011

Manfredo Massironi was born in Padua on June 8, 1937. He graduated with a degree in architecture in Venice and in 1959, along with Alberto Biasi, Ennio Chiggio, Toni Costa, and Edoardo Landi, he founded Gruppo N in Padua. In their manifesto, written in 1961, the artists declared they were “experimental draftsmen,” free from any plans or artistic tendencies, who shared a search for a new definition of art that would integrate painting, sculpture, architecture, and industrial production. The activities of the group as a whole and of the individual members were strictly connected; many works were in fact produced collectively, thus refuting individuality.

In 1960 the artist took part in the first Gruppo N exhibition in Padua. The show was entitled Nobody Is Invited to Intervene, provokingly hinting that the viewer should not to attend the show. The following year, Massironi and Costa presented Struttura Dinamica at the Studio N. The sculpture was a mirror composition that could be moved to reflect and combine light in various ways. In 1962 he took part in Arte Programmata, a show organized by Bruno Munari at the Milan Olivetti showroom that then traveled to Europe and the United States. Two years later he was invited to show at the Venice Biennale.

The collective investigation promoted by Gruppo N―in which most of Massironi’s art production took place―proved extremely difficult, if not utopian, so much so that in 1965 the group split up. The ideological prerequisites necessary to work together had failed because of the discrepancy among the members and the difficulty to sell group works on the contemporary art market. The same year, however, Massironi founded the new Gruppo ENNE 65 along with Biasi and Landi. This new artist collective was heavily influenced by Optical and environmental art and used movement and artificial lighting to create stimulating visual and sensory experiences for the viewer. In 1967 Massironi retired from the art scene but continued to produce a number of works and a series of collages. Massironi died in Padua on November 30, 2011.