Milano, 1926 - 1981

Vincenzo Agnetti was an Italian artist, critic, theorist and writer who was considered as one of the most influential conceptual artists of the 20thcentury.

He was born in 1926 in Milan, where he also attended Brera Academy and the school of Piccolo Teatro. 

At the beginning of his career, Agnetti was strongly influenced by the art informel movement that was rising in Europe. Towards the end of the 1950s, Agnetti ceased painting and started collaborating as a critic with "Azimuth", a magazine founded by Piero Manzoni and Enrico Castellani which was dedicated to track the developments of the avant-guards. 

From 1962 to 1967, Agnetti moved to Argentina, where he started working with electronic automation. During these years, Agnetti rejected painting as a form of expression and dedicated himself to a fruitful writing phase. After various journeys in Arabia, Scandinavia and America, Agnetti went back to Milan where he resumed his artistic career. 

Language became the focus of his work, experimenting its role as a material and foundation for art-making. In 1976, Agnetti had his first solo show at Palazzo dei Diamanti in Ferrara. The following year, he exhibits the emblematic work Macchina Drogataat Galleria Visualità in Milan. The work consisted of an Olivetti Divisumma 14 calculator whose number were changed with letters that created meaningless and abstract poems. Other notorious works that continued to explore Agnetti’s reflection on language are Feltri and Assiomi. The works belonging to this artistic phase granted to Agnetti the recognition as one of the most influential conceptual artists in Italy. His work was considered as an important link between the international circuit of conceptual art and the emerging context of Arte Povera.

After a long artistic career, dedicated to exploring the possible forms of language, Vincenzo Agnetti died in 1981.