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Remo Bianchi, or Remo Bianco as he was later known, was born in the Milanese suburb of Dergano on 3rd June 1922. His father, Guido, worked as an electrician at the Scala Theatre while his mother, Giovanna Ripamonti, was an astrologer and fortune-teller. His twin brother Romolo died prematurely in 1923. Bianco remained very close to his older sister Lyda, a ballet dancer, for the duration of his lifetime. In 1937, after undertaking several different jobs in an attempt to earn a living, Bianco began to attend an drawing masterclass in the evenings at the Academy of Brera in Milan. It was here that the painter Filippo de Pisis noticed him and became his mentor. In 1941, in the midst of the chaos of World War II, Bianco enrolled in the navy as a machine-gunner on a destroyer ship. The ship was eventually hit and sank but Bianco was rescued by English troops and interned in Tunis. After a short period in Sassuolo, Bianco returned to Brera in Milan in 1944 where he took up drawing again. During this period he frequently travelled to Venice to visit his mentor De Pisis. 

Between 1945 and 1950 he painted predominantly figurative oil paintings, influenced in particular by French postimpressionism, and in particular the works of Rouault and Cézanne, as well as Picasso. At the end of the 1940s he also experimented with his first three-dimensional works and plaster casts (Impronte) of marks, such as tracks left by tyres, cracks in asphalt and other such quotidian signs. These works explored the “traces of man”. During the early 1950s his research aligned closely with Lucio Fontana’s theory of ‘Spatialism’, including in his works with stones, glass fragments and creating his series labelled ‘Nucleari’, which was characterised by their materiality. Furthermore he executed several abstract works on assembled plastic or glass sheets (‘3Ds’). In 1950 he was invited to participate in the ‘Premio Diomira’ and he won the Edizioni del Cavallino award for the best drawing by a young artist and an award from the newspaper ‘Milano Sera’. The very same year he won one of the Suzzara awards. In 1951 he was invited to participate in the ‘Premio Gianni’ at the Galleria del Naviglio which was dedicated to Spatialist artists.  In January 1952 he participated in his first group exhibition at the Galleria del Naviglio, entitled ‘Self-portraits by Contemporary Artists’ and in the ‘Premio Gianni 1952’. In October, he had his first solo exhibition at the Galleria del Cavallino, Venice, which opened with a presentation by the painter Virgilio Guidi. Thus began his important and lifelong relationship with the Galleria del Naviglio. In this same gallery, in December 1952, he took part in the ‘Premio Graziano’ at the Galleria del Naviglio. Between 1950 and 1951 he had two solo shows at the Galleria Gussoni in Milan.

In 1953 Bianco met Virgilio Gianni who became his friend and patron, as well as his most important collector. The two met through De Pisis at Villa Fiorita in Brugherio, where De Pisis was hospitalized. Gianni was a frequent visitor at the Galleria del Naviglio, where the ‘Premio Gianni’ had taken place the year before. In 1955, on a scholarship from Virgilio Gianni, he took a trip to the United States that lasted several months. He stayed in New York and visited Chicago and Florida. He visited his first Alberto Burri exhibition and learned about the works of Marca-Relli, Donati and Kline as well as Jackson Pollock’s action painting. The influence of this artist will be fundamental in developing the artist’s later ‘Collages’. In 1955 he exhibited his 3D works at the Village Art Center, New York. A year later he returned to Italy just before the death of his mentor De Pisis in 1956. That same year he wrote the ‘Relief Art Manifesto’ which included the artist’s ‘Sacchettini’ (Small bags) and ‘Testimonianze’ (Testimonies) works. In these he packages some small everyday objects, often related to the world of childhood, into small plastic bags. In 1957 he began the series of ‘Tableaux Dorés’, abstract works made with gold leaf. In 1959 he exhibited these collages at the Galleria del Cavallino before travelling around Europe (Paris, Stockholm and Munich) and visiting Egypt. Once back to Italy, he worked on life-size plaster casts of his body.

Between 1959 and 1960 he began to work with Sephadex (a chemical gel capable of dividing substances according to their weight) and studied the physical and aesthetic properties of the material. The the results of this work were exhibited in 1969 at Stockholm’s Moderna Musset Museum.  The artist also studied immaterial sculptures as well as fragrant sculptures and sculptures that might be moved by the wind or by the movement of visitors walking past, executing the unstable sculptures in 1960 which were based on the theme of movement. At the beginning of 1961 he met the art critic Beniamino Joppolo in Paris, who presented his work in an exhibition at galleria del Naviglio in February. At the end of the same year a ‘Tableaux Dorés’ exhibition, presented by Agnoldomenico Pica, was organized at the Casinò of Venice. In 1962 he travelled to Iran and experimented with works such as the ‘Opere Condizionanti’ [Conditioning works] which were, “lamps producing deafening sounds and blinding lights” (L. Giudici 2007). Two years later he published the first ‘Manifesto dell’Arte Chimica’ [The Chemical Art Manifesto] and exhibited the ‘Impronte Viventi’ [Living Imprints] at Cavallino in Venice. In Carrara he wrote the ‘Manifesto della Sovrastruttura’  [The Superstructure Manifesto] and began the ‘Appropriazioni’ [Appropriations], which the ‘Sculture Neve’ [Snow Sculptures], the ‘Sculture Calde’ [Warm Sculptures], the works with the gold leaf on newspaper and the ‘Bandiere’ [Flags] belongs. Bianco therefore began to use gold leaf as a “sort of trademark or personal seal, heraldic, overlapping it on reproductions of other artists’ work, magazine covers or other pre-existing illustrations (…)”.  In 1969, in addition to the aforementioned exhibition at Moderna Musset, he exhibited at Vismara Gallery in Milan where he handed an edible 3D sculpture to the visitors. 

Between 1969 and 1970 Bianco began the ‘Elementary Art’ Cycle. In 1970 a large ‘Tableau Doré’ was exhibited in the Sala Volpi at the Venice Film Festival. In the same year began the ‘Joy of Living’ cycle [Gioia di vivere]. In the early 70s his art also included performances and interactions with the public in works such as ‘Idee per una scala’ [Ideas for a staircase], an autobiographical installation presented at the Galleria del Naviglio in 1972 and ‘Sadico Mistico Elementare’ [Sadistic Mystic Elementary] which was written and performed by him at the Teatro Angelicum in Milan that same year. In 1974 he exhibited the ‘Quadri Parlanti’ [Talking Pictures] at Galleria Bon à Tirer in Milan. That same year he ‘occupied’ the Café Coupole in Paris by applying gold leaf to the posters of the capital’s contemporary exhibitions.

From the second half of the 1960s the Bianco’s relationship with the Parisian milieu strengthened, in particular that with the art critic Pierre Restany as well as with the galleries Raymond Cazenave and Lara Vincy. In this second gallery he exhibited the ‘Quadri Parlanti’ [Talking Pictures] in 1976, the ‘Gioia di Vivere’ cycle [The Joy of Living] as well as the ‘Bandiere’ [Flags] in 1979. In 1977 the artist had a solo exhibition entitled ‘La realtà improntale’ [The imprint of reality] curated by art critic Miklos Varga at the Galleria International Arts in Rome, which comprised a comprehensive retrospective of the artist’s career. In 1978 Bianco also participated in an exhibition entitled ‘Metafisica del Quotidiano’ [The Metaphysicality of the Everyday] at the GAM Museum in Bologna and the year after in ‘L'opera dei Celebranti. Discorso sul Museo’ [The Work of Celebrants. A Discourse on the Museum]. In 1982 the artist suffered serious health problems and was hospitalized in Trento. A year later the Museo delle Albere of Trento, directed by Gabriella Belli, dedicated a retrospective to the artist. Between 1984 and 1985 Bianco travelled to India. In 1984 a solo show entitled Saint-Rémy du Blanc alias Remo Bianco at the Galerie Lara Vincy in Paris was dedicated to his ‘Snow Sculptures’. One of his final exhibitions was Drapeaux. Bandiere [Flags] at the Galerie Lara Vincy in Spring 1987. He passed away in Milan on the 23rd February 1988. 

[For the full biography (in Italian) cfr. L. Giudici, Regesto biografico, in C. Strinati, L. Giudici, Al di là dell’Oro, exhibition catalogue, Rome, Museo del Vittoriano, Gispoteca, 8 December 2006 –  15 January 2007, Silvana Editoriale, Cinisello Balsamo (MI), 2006].