Gillo Dorfles: the great lord of Italian art


“Gran Cornuto” by Gillo Dorfles, 2004 (private collection)

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“Cloud” by Beatrice Brandini

“I’ve always been curious about the world, I think it depends solely on the great interest I’ve always had and I still have about the neighbor. I’m more interested in the neighbor that on myself, fortunately. “ Gillo Dorfles

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Two Layouts” by Gillo Dorfles, 2001

It is impossible to define with only one adjective the path and the role that Gillo Dorfles had (and has) in our cultural artistic history. He is a doctor (graduate in medicine with specialization in psychiatry) but becomes a critic, philosopher, artist, university teacher (who Lucky his students!), designer, musician …, an attitude to action, always doing new things, an imaginative mind, ductile, creative, never satisfied …

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“Vitriol” di Gillo Dorfles

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“The Wizards” by Gillo Dorfles, 2007 (private collection)

He was born in Trieste in 1910, in parallel with medical studies, he is passionate about the arts and, more specifically, painting, activities that he will never abandon. In 1948 with Munari, Soldati and Monnet was among the founders of the Concrete Arts Movement, an important avant-garde movement that polemically reacted to the dogmas of figuration and artistic abstraction, as well as promoter of absolute independence and freedom of art from any ideology. For this reason, Dorfles’s painting has always been free and creative, characteristic, which over the years becomes more and more pregnant, a pictorial expression without rationality. A “fantastic” painting, full of floating images, of human characters and organisms, animals, plants. Since 1958, the MAC experience has ended, Dorfles begins an interesting and important academic career as a lecturer at Aesthetics at the State University of Milan.


Gillo Dorfles’s work

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Drawing by GIllo Dorfles

Fundamental was his contribution to the development of Italian aesthetic, from the “Technical Speech on the Arts” of 1952, or to the “The Making of the Arts” of 1959, in which Dorfles first analyzed the socio-anthropological aspect of the aesthetic and cultural phenomena, therefore artistic, in a way never before addressed. Dorfles is a unique figure, artistically but above all intellectually, one of the most important in the Italian landscape from the post-war period to today.

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Gillo Dorfles’s work


Graphics at Dorfles in fashion by Beatrice Brandini


Graphics at Dorfles in fashion by Beatrice Brandini


Graphics at Dorfles in fashion by Beatrice Brandini

Its origins and studies (Trieste, was Austro-Hungarian territory) place Dorfles in a European mittel scope that will inevitably influence his painting and his approach to life. “The act of drawing and painting has always been for me, since childhood, something almost coercive, and forced me to fill in the pages of my books.” Gillo Dorfles


Gillo Dorfles

I think without Gillo Dorfles this time would be less interesting, less curious, less lively … but above all less intelligent. Sometimes I have been fortunate enough to attend his interviews, at the end I felt immediately more “brilliant” but with his mild and subtle irony (comparing to that of Calvino or Eco) he had the honor of let us notice, approach and appreciate things, not just in the artistic field; an exercise that only works for those who have an incredible culture and who generously share it with the “rest” of the world.

Long life at Gillo Dorfles!


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