Sandro Sanna was born in 1950 in Macomer, Sardinia; then, in 1965, he moved to Rome where he currently lives and works. Starting from a very young age, while attending the Institute of Art in Rome, Sanna had the opportunity to get in touch with traditional art techniques, thanks to lessons from masters all of whom are renowned for their ability to transmit knowledge with natural predisposition. In 1974, he began to teach at the Institute of Art and to paint with great commitment, searching for his personal style. In 1975, he took part in the Tenth Quadriennale of Art in Rome. Since his first solo exhibition in 1979, he showed signs of a great autonomy which would then distinguish him throughout his productive years. It was in the ’80s and’ 90s that his style was fully manifested: through the proposal of a fantastic and alternative world, at the center of which there is “the light.” During this period, he brought to life Campi Magnetici and Tra la superfice e l’aria – large monochromes where the gestures and the marks are the protagonists of a work of great reduction of the image, rending the surface vibrating and disorienting. His intent is to go beyond the skin of the visible, beyond the enunciated reality of things. With an evermore attentive look towards chaos and cosmic harmony, the works Pietre and Geodi (1993), and later the Meteore, emerge as volumes between light and shadow, between gold and black.
He took part in the Art Biennial of Milan in 1989 and 1993, as well as in the Marche Prize in 1990. Also during this period, he produced personal exhibitions at Galleria Giulia in Rome in 1987 and 1990 with La luce formante, accompanied with text by Patrizia Ferri. Another element around which Sanna’s work is structured, beyond light, is the constant search for the changeability of the image. This element is obtained thanks to the use of metallic and synthetic microfilm, which have their own chromatic and reflective peculiarity and offer the viewer a constantly changing metamorphosis/mutation, activated by the observer’s own movement.
In the mid-nineties, Sanna composed the cycle of works “Bisanzio,” in which the surfaces are marked by luminous points that evoke three-dimensionality with objects capable of projecting their shadow onto the surface itself – like particles moved by the wind into a dusty wave of light that marks the darkness. This cycle of works was presented in ’94, through the care of Luigi Meneghelli, in a solo exhibition at the Galleria Giulia in Rome. Also in the subsequent elaborations – Muri d’acqua, Derive, Maglie e Derive and i Geodi – which constitute a natural evolution of the series of previous works – light and form are found to coincide in a single agglomeration of impalpable and reflecting material.
In ’97 he was invited to the event “Art in Rome,” where he received the purchase award from the Municipal Gallery of Modern Art. In 1998, he held a personal exhibition at the Museo Laboratorio d’Arte Contemporanea of the La Sapienza University of Rome. In 2000, he presented a solo exhibition at the Ronchini Contemporary Art Gallery in Terni and participated in the IX Biennial of Sacred Art in S. Gabriele (Te). Still in that year, he produced an important personal exhibition curated by Maurizio Calvesi and Augusta Monferini, where he proposed works of the decade 1990-2000 at Palazzo De Riso Gagliardi of Vibo Valentia; as well as another personal creation Segni d’aria e terra, at Studio S in Rome.
In 2001, he took part in the 8th International Biennial in Cairo. At the Galleria Comunale d’Arte Moderna in Ciampino (Rome), he proposed Cosmogonia 2001: a large installation (of 21 sq. M.) consisting of 70 canvases measuring 50×60 cm each, inspired by the slow cosmic dynamism, with accompanying texts by Augusta Monferini and Lorenzo Canova. In these years, the artist intensified the realization of new works in which, employing his three-dimensional evocation, Sanna proposed to give life to sculptures on uniform terrain, obtaining immersive spaces. His intervention is almost always of an installation nature, aimed at interpreting and simulating the third dimension.
In 2003, under the care of M. Calvesi and A. Monferini, for the spaces (editing) of the CAM, he prepared the exhibition Metallica, in which he proposed a series of installation-paintings on the theme of reflection, of the image and its counterpart. In this circumstance, for the new editing room, he created a large floor mosaic.
Over the years, Sanna has explored and continues to explore with special sensitivity the relationship between light and darkness, employing light as a fundamental poetic element. We can venture from the geometric monoliths of Moonlight, which seem moved by magnetic forces, to the sequential forms of Metallica, which give life to a symmetrical structure in rhythmic movement.
Maurizi Calvesi, art critic of international fame, defines the artist’s actions as follows: “Sanna is an abstract painter, not because he has gradually eliminated the figure, but because his imagery is specifically that of a virgin universe, where no figure has yet printed his own shadow and where the principle of life hangs in its mysterious, pure essence.”
In 2003, on commission for ACEA and the Municipality of Rome, he created “Meteora: un percorso di luce,” a work made up of steel and lights of enormous dimensions, which extends from the first stretch of the Via Appia Nuova to the Piazza Re di Roma.
In 2004, the National Museum of Art of Romania in Bucharest and the National Museum of Art of Moldova in Chisinau dedicated two major solo exhibitions to Sanna, displaying works ranging from 1990 to 2004.
In 2005, he participated in the Universal Exposition of Aichi and his works were presented by the MAE in a traveling exhibition in the United States – punctuated with stops in the cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and Washington.
In 2006, he participated in the exhibition Mito e Velocità at the Kremlin Stables in Moscow, in Natura e Metamorfosi in Shanghai and Beijing, in Out Art, Arte Contemporanea a Villa dei Quintili in Rome and in Lights On at the Brussels Artiscope Gallery. In the following year, he participated in the Baltico Mediterraneo, Italy-Finland a confronto, held at the National Museum of Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome.
In the same year, his works from the Farnesina Collection were exhibited amongst the traveling exhibition Viaggio nell’arte italiana 1950-80, cento opere dalla Collezione Farnesina, which passed through the cities of Sarajevo, Sofia, Budapest, and Bucharest. Sanna was also inserted in the permanent feature Nuova Collezione at the Civic Gallery of Contemporary Art of Erice G. Perricone (TP).
In 2008, his works were presented in China with the exhibition Energie Sottili della Materia, at the Urban Planning Exhibition Center in Shanghai and at the China National Academy of Painting in Beijing. He also participated in the exhibition Sconfinamenti, held at the National Museum of Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome. In the same year, he took part in the 59th Michetti Prize, where he received the Ruffini Purchase Award.
In 2009, he produced Dinamismo/Spazio/Luce Nera, G. Balla, L. Fontana, R. Almagno, S. Sanna, curated by Lorenzo Canova, at the University of Molise, Campobasso.
In 2010, the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei awarded him the prestigious Leonardo Paterna Baldizzi Prize for sculpture, for the work Meteora. Also in 2010, he took part in the 54th Venice Biennale.
Sanna was present with various large format works in the VAF-Stiftung Collection at the MART of Rovereto and, in the same museum in 2011, he was included in the exhibition 1947 – 2010, Percorsi riscoperti dell’arte italiana, Collezione VAF-Stiftung.
In 2012, at the Carlo Bilotti Museum in Rome, in his personal double feature The Dark Light of Matter, Sandro Sanna – Roberto Almagno, curated by Lorenzo Canova, he proposed the new cycle of Primigenia e Origine.
In 2013, he produced the personal exhibition Dinamismo Statico, at the Pièce Unique Gallery in Beirut, Lebanon. In the same year, he introduced another personal exhibition – Universi Vibranti – curated by Marco Meneguzzo and Susanne Capolongo, at the Cortina Art Gallery in Milan; furthermore, at the Porta Latina gallery in Roma, he participated in Origine, Bendini, Guerrini, Sanna, curated by Tiziana d’Achille.
In 2014, at the 65th edition of the Michetti Prize, he received the “Dante Ruffini e Maddalena Pettirosso” award. He took part in the exhibition La Luce e l’Icona, under the care of Lorenzo Canova, in Cimitile Basiliche Paleocristiane (NA). Another personal exhibition, aMare, dates back to 2015 and is accompanied with a text by Alberto Dambruoso, at the Galleria Tralevolte, Rome. He was also invited to the Premio Vasto, at the Scuderie of Palazzo Aragona, Vasto (CH). In 2016, he took part in the exhibition Fragili Eroi, curated by Roberto Gramiccia, at the Museo Carlo Bilotti, Rome.
In 2017, he exhibited in his personal show A Geometria da Natureza, at the IIC in Lisbon. In the same year, he presented two major installation works in occasion of the exhibition Il Cammino delle Certose, curated by Anna Imponente, at the Certosa di San Lorenzo, Padula (SA); and, still in the same year, his solo exhibition Alcuni Indizi was inaugurated at Studio Presta/Timia Editrice in Rome. The suggestive exhibition La luce diversa, Catania, Palmieri, Sanna, curated by Anna Imponente, Mattatoio Testaccio, Pavilion A, Rome, is 2018. 2019, The Farnesina Collection in India, India Art Fair 2019 New Delhi, Calcutta, Mumbai; Towards L’Aleph di Napoli, Anselmo-Bassiri-Mottola-Palmieri-Sanna, Museum and Certosa of San Martino, Naples; MACRO, Atelier / Self-Portrait, Rome; Contrappunti 2, Post Station, Sangemini; Allunare Infinito Academy of Fine Arts, Frosinone.
Various works of the artist are present both in public and private collections, among which are called to mind: the National Gallery of Modern Art, the MACRO, the permanent collection of the Foreign Ministry, Palazzetto Venezia in Rome and the MART in Rovereto, Italy.
Amongst who wrote about Sandro Sanna, are the following:
L. Airos, V. Apuleo, Alan G. Artner, P. Balmas, E. Bilardello, F. Briguglio, M. Calvesi, L. Canova, A.Capaccio, S. Capolongo, L. Caramel , M. Carboni, C. Carlino, V.Ciarallo, A. Dambruoso, Jessica Dawson, T. D’Achille, F. D’Amico, M. De Candia, N. Encolpio, L. Fantò, MG Ferrarini, P. Ferri, G. Franceschetti, M. Gallo, S. Guarino, D. Guzzi, A. Imponente, Soh Joo, M. Locci, L. Mango, F. La Manna, L. Mattarella, L. Meneghelli, M. Meneguzzo, A. Monferini, M. Novi, Raluca Patru, V. Perna, Federica Pirani, Fresia Rodriguez Cadavid, Sergio Rossi, F. Ruggeri, S. Schiesaro, P. Serra Zanetti, F. Simongini, G. Simongini, C. Siniscalco, L Tallarico, Marisa Vescovo, E. Vitaliano, Paula Voicu, John Yau, R. Zuccaro.