The Signs of the Zodiac represent that bit of (harmless) daily irrationality that makes it more pleasant to read on the newspaper. Assigned by birth, they would influence the character and would even help predict the future. The esoteric charm coming from the reading of the stars does not spare the art and the artists of all ages. The twelve Bolaffi covers with the Zodiacal Signs are a splendid confirmation.
The Zodiac and the four elements
Western astrology classifies the twelve signs according to different categories: from the four seasons, to the position of the sun (for which we have cardinal signs, fixed and mobile) and eventually with regard to the four elements, ie fire, earth, air and water , holding fixed characteristics within the signs they belong to. Among the Fire signs, we find Aries, Leo and Sagittarius, which would be characterized by creativity, energy and passion. These signs are associated with three celestial bodies: the Sun, Mars and Jupiter.
The Signs of Earth are instead Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn and involve stability, concreteness and a certain introversion. They are governed by Venus, Mercury and Saturn.
In the Air Signs are found: Gemini, Libra and Aquarius, which are recognized as signs of outstanding intellectual and communication skills. The planets associated with these signs are Mercury, Venus and Uranus.
Finally, the zodiacal signs that refer to the Water element are Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces. They are defined as sentimental and introspective, with empathic and fantasy skills. Their planets are Luna, Pluto and Neptune.
The Signs of Fire of the Bolaffi Covers
The first sign of the Zodiac, or the Aries is represented by Fabrizio Clerici as a golden sphinx in front of a picture of his own head. The artist, Milanese by birth and Roman by adoption, highlights in this photolithography the eclectic matrix of his poetics, in which coexist interests for classical and Egyptian mythology, literary references and an innate talent for drawing.
Fifth sign of the Zodiac, set between Cancer and Virgo, Andy Warhol’s Lion is an emblem of his art, thanks to the fast pop color strokes on the sketch of a feline head that almost seems to turn into a human face before our eyes . The work bears the unmistakable mark of the father of American Pop Art, firmly established in the Western imagination, both for its timeless works and for its lifestyle.
Giò Pomodoro is finally the author of the sign of Sagittarius, the ninth of the Zodiac, placed between the Scorpion and Capricorn.
Known as an abstract sculptor, Pomodoro creates a refined geometric and textual game, centered on the symbol of Sagittarius, or the arrow.
The zodiacal signs of Earth
Taurus is the second sign of the Zodiac, placed between Aries and Gemini. Mario Radice gives an interpretation in line with his research, based on an abstractionism that seeks a constant balance between geometric pictures and colors, combining different forms and harmonizing the different chromatic backgrounds.
Between Leo and Libra, we find the sixth sign of the Zodiac: the Virgin. For Mimmo Rotella is a young woman who, with her back to the spectator, can dress her long braid. Known for his decollages, Rotella was much more: exponent of the Nouveau Realisme and of Pop Art international, he has experimented with phonetic poetry (which baptizes “epistaltica”) and numerous forms of artistic creation that started from posters and advertising materials.
The dreamy atmosphere of Ivan Rabuzin‘s naive art makes Capricorn a luminous flying appearance. Located between Sagittarius and Aquarius, it is the 10th sign of the zodiac.
The Croatian painter, sixth of a miner’s eleven children, reaches the age of thirty-five, after working for many years as a carpenter and cabinetmaker. His Capricorn is suspended in a sphere of light above one of the lyrical landscapes typical of his production.
The signs of air
The third of the signs of the Zodiac, placed between Taurus and Cancer, is double: it is in fact Gemini. Renzo Vespignani, a Roman painter and engraver, represents it as a double and overlapping portrait.
The son of a famous doctor who died prematurely, Vespignani grew up in the popular district of Portonaccio. During the Nazi occupation he took to the stain and began to draw, giving birth to images of raw neorealist mold. Around the seventies he began to devote himself to themes of civil commitment, addressed in different cycles of painting.
Libra is the seventh sign of the zodiac, placed between Virgo and Scorpio. For Wolf Vostell its shape is a path superimposed on a desolate urban landscape.
Between Capricorn and Pisces, there is the penultimate sign of the Zodiac or the Aquarium. Michelangelo Pistoletto plays with the double meaning of his name to portray his reflection in a mirror-aquarium, which contains a photograph of himself. A picture that is a multiple among the multiples, perfectly embodying the game of references between the viewer, the work and the virtual space of the mirror that is the basis for the majority of his works.
The signs of water
First of the signs of water, but fourth of the Zodiac, Cancer is between Gemini and Leone. The Argentine sculptor Alicia Penalba makes it a jagged shape of an intense black that seems carved on the white paper. A trait that recalls the facets and the multiplicity of the plans of his sculptural works.
Scorpio is the eighth zodiac sign, placed between Libra and Sagittarius. Its form is proposed by Daniel Spoerri in many different aspects: an engraving, an assemblage of objects, even preserved under formaldehyde. An eclectic representation as its author, father of the tableaux – pièges (pictures – trap).
The last sign of the Zodiac is, like the Gemini, a double sign: that of Pisces.
The marches sculptor Eliseo Mattiacci, who has always been interested in the relationships between earth, space and astronomical bodies, and influenced by action painting and new dada, represents them as two hybrids, with human body and fish head, as they move along a corridor, the word “space” stands out. Like two aliens returning to their spaceship.