A graduate in engineering and a great lover of music, Fausto Melotti exhibited during the 1930s at the Galleria del Milione in Milan, then the vital center of Italian abstraction. Instead of the more traditional and stately marble and bronze, Melotti’s works from this period are almost two-dimensional plaster sculptures, or bas-reliefs constructed according to a harmonic rhythm of solids and voids. Scultura n. 24 (Sculpture # 24),—where linear figures project from the background and assume the form of a delicate arabesque—comes from this period.
In 1959, Melotti began working in flexible, light materials such as brass, steel and copper, to create three-dimensional, ethereal, thread-like constructions. Melotti’s lyricism can be seen in the sculpture La pioggia (The Rain), which is characterized by a contrapuntal movement that recalls falling drops of water and the resulting splashes that hover in the air. The artist treats sculpture like a visual score, the equivalent of a musical phrase constructed according to contrapuntal rules. His sculptures in metal, because of the specificity of the material, lend themselves best to this treatment, as seen in Confronto (Confrontation). Almost without body, the sculpture is made up of lines, thread-like and vibratile elements placed in dynamic relationship to each other. The ‘confrontation’ takes place between the different directions assumed visually by the three steel lines that make up the work.