Carmelo Zotti (Trieste 1933 – Trieste 2007)
Half Istrian (on his father’s side) and half Cypriot, he spent his early childhood in his native city of Trieste and later moved to Naples. In 1945, the young Zotti moved to Venice and attended the Accademia di Belle Arti to study with Bruno Saetti. Acknowledged as one of the most promising young artists of the time, Zotti won the first prize at the Opera Bevilacqua La Masa competition in 1954. He brought three paintings to his first participation in the Venice Biennale in 1956 and later won first prize at the International Youth Biennale in 1958 and the Longo Award at the 32nd Venice International Biennale.
Such recognition was to inaugurate a long and successful lifetime of exhibitions. Not only has Zotti been exhibited at all the most prestigious national and international art shows, his career counted dozens of personal exhibits such as the Retrospective at Venice’s Cà Pesaro Museum of Modern Art in 1995 and his Anthological at Milan’s La Permanente Museum in 2007.
Zotti’s painting has always been free of any provincialism and took on a European timbre almost immediately, especially in symbolic-surrealism realm. His tendency to paint fabulous legendary worlds marked by a recovered proto-Mediterranean quality began in Venice, (which would later be accentuated by the artist’s many experiences in Egypt, India, Burma and Mexico) while studying with Saetti who encouraged him to paint chimerical settings rich in colour on a Byzantine-style background.
Zotti’s emotional and sensual temperament led him to initially accentuate the symbolism of colours and signs with a painting technique based upon psychic impulses and “memories” filtered through Eastern culture. By the mid-1960s, his peculiar way of painting had become more of a dreamy, metaphysical remembrance of a fabulous world filled with ancestral recollections in which certain symbolic elements (pyramid, sphinx, elephant) were repeated in variations and deformations - lyrical at times and monstrous at others.