Claudio Parmiggiani’s Zoo Geometrico is a 1970 multiple. It is a thermoformed geometric form in methacrylate, screen-printed in colours to imitate the livery of a cheetah. Originally, Zoo Geometrico consisted of large geometric wooden solids covered with fake animal skins. These shapes were placed and photographed in natural contexts. The large animal “stylisations” were then realised in small multiples with methacrylate decorated with a thin coloured screen-printing layer.
We had several occasions to work on different types of plastic materials: Schifano’s Perspex, Turcato’s polyurethane foams used for the series of works Superfici Lunari, or those used in Gilardi’s Tappeti Natura, polyvinyl acetate PVA and polyvinyl alcohol PVA used in industry and then used for example by Pinot Gallizio for his paintings, the rubbers used by Carol Rama in particular bicycle inner tubes and many others.
In this case too, it was necessary to investigate the materials in order to proceed safely and be able to reconstruct the missing portions in a mimetic manner as requested by the client.
The original intention was to retouch by pad printing with reversible colours and to reconstruct the stains by means of graphic software, but the costs of this type of intervention made us choose a more “traditional” method.
The first step was to consolidate the very thin screen-printing layer that had been lifted in many places. This required precision instrumentation including a biocular microscope, entomological pins and insulin syringes. The work had already been improperly retouched with enamel, which was very oversized and thick. The removal of the retouching required a long precision operation in order to restore the original serigraphy without ruining it and with particular care not to swell or solubilise the plastic support.
The thin methacrylate backing was broken in several places with missing parts.
The main difficulty was to reconstruct the missing support with materials compatible with the original, adhering correctly even in the thin edges Many tests were made to find the best mixture, also with commercial materials, in the end a self-produced putty-adhesive was chosen which met all the necessary characteristics.
In the end, it was possible to carry out the retouching and reconstitute the lost aesthetic continuity.
Claudio Parmiggiani (1943) began his artistic experience at the turn of the late 1950s and early 1960s with informal art, crossing and interpreting different currents along the way. He uses objects in a poetic way, associating different elements with a symbolic character. Parmiggiani’s work is similar in some ways to poor art, in fact in 1969 he created works such as the Zoo Geometrico, which are placed on the side of the reuse of the natural or the relationship between the natural and the artificial on which artists such as Pascali, Penone and Gilardi were also working at the time.