Sandro Chia: Sator Arepo

April 23 - May 25, 2014

Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects presents a solo exhibition of recent mixed media works on paper by Sandro Chia (b. 1946) focussed on his classic motif of a solitary male figure in the landscape. Chia is a significant figure in the Transavanguardia movement, an Italian outgrowth of Neo-expressionism, which garnered international attention in the 1980s. This will be the first exhibition of Chia’s work at Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects. The title of the exhibition, “Sator Arepo,” is adopted from a Latin palindrome word square with magical associations, found inscribed on ancient Roman stone tablets.

After graduating from the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence in 1969, Chia travelled throughout Europe and India. Upon his return to Rome, he began exhibiting what he now refers to as ‘mythical conceptual’ painting and sculpture. During the late 1970s, he transitioned to a more figurative style, quickly establishing himself as a key Transavanguardia artist, along with contemporaries Francesco Clemente, Enzo Cucchi and Mimmo Paladino.

Realized on small sheets with watercolor, pastel and other media, Chia’s vibrant colors, cubist spaces and expressive draftsmanship appropriate, echo and send up romantic figures of art history including Carlo Carra, Matisse, Chagall, Picasso and Courbet. His imagery often draws upon classic mythology and makes references to antiquity. Yet, as Dr. Maurizio Vanni observes in his essay ‘The Loneliness of the Hero’, “Chia tends to humanize his heroes, making them almost everyday subjects.”

Chia presents painting as a magic alchemical language, able to give voice to man’s inexplicable search for meaning. In an interview conducted by Richard Milazzo, Chia defines his relationship to his work:
“Many people see art as something that comes from something positive or elevated inside us, as a humanistic enterprise. I disagree with that. I’m not even sure that it comes for us. It probably comes from ‘outside,’ from nature, from everything that surrounds us, and we are not the center but rather the ‘empty space’ in between. Maybe we are not even the source, but this source is given to us, it goes through ourselves.”

Chia’s work has been included in the Biennale of Paris and San Paolo and the Venice Biennale. He has had solo exhibition at many of the most important museums worldwide, among them: Stedelijk Museum of Amsterdam (1983), The Metropolitan Museum of New York (1984), The National Gallery of Berlin (1984, 1992), The Museum of Modern Art of Paris (1984).

In 2003, the Italian State acquired three of Chia’s works for their permanent collection at Palazzo Madama, and in 2005, the Province of Rome installed two monumental sculptures by Chia in front of its headquarters in Via IV Novembre. Chia’s work was the subject of an exhibition entitled Gods and Heroes at the Boca Raton Museum of Art, Florida in 2007.

Today Sandro Chia divides his time between Miami, Rome and his Castello Romitorio vineyard in Tuscany.

SHFAP @ PROJECTOR, our second space located around the corner at 237 Eldridge Street, presents a group show featuring paintings by Chuck Bowdish, Katherine Bradford, Paul Resika and Bob Thompson in conversation with the work of Sandro Chia.

For more information, please contact the gallery at or 917-861-7312.