Sandro Sanna was born in Macomer in Sardinia. In June 1965, at a young age, he moved with his family to Rome, where he currently lives and works. His childhood and early adolescent years spent in Sardinia had a profound influence in the development of his creativity and of his thinking process. The early seperation from that reality represents the central moment that later on was to give space to the idea of impermanence, generated by imponderable events capable of upsetting the balance of every single thing. Nevertheless that sprout of life spent in his mother land, represents for the artist a firm referral point in rediscovering his inspiration and receive from it vital lymph for his reasoning and creativity. In Rome, at the beginning of his journey, Sanna dedicates particular attention to the social and cultural phenomena that were becoming expression of the needs of his generation. By observing the evolution of new languages in art, thanks to the preciuos guidance of Marisa Volpi, his teacher of Art History, he was drawn close to the reading and the understanding of the avant-guard. Through the 60s and 70s the artist’s creativity reaches a conclusion that allows him to percive every discipline as complemenatry to the other: theatre, music, cinema, poetry, astrophysics, and philosophy become the focal point that will influence all his reasearch for years to come.
In 1972, at the age of twentytwo, he organized with George De Canino his first solo exhibition at the experimental space Bateau Ivre in Rome. Within the same year he was invited to the Mario Sironi Prize in Sassari. In 1974 he started teaching art at the Academies of Rome. In 1975 he was invited to participate in the X Quadriennale d’Arte La Nuova Generazione, Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome, with three works of art belonging to the series Paesaggi rivissuti. In 1979, after an extensive solo exhibition at the C.A.A.A.P. Gallery of Rome, Sanna participated in the exhibition Scultura all’aperto, curated by Tito Amodei, in the gardens of the Sala 1 Gallery, with the sculpture Vulcano, made of steel, tar and inert materials, which evoks the lava flow, and its power in mutating reality and matter. In the next year, still on the topic, “The never ending of human transience and exhistance”, he works on the exhibition Provvisorietà, with three installations made of iron, plaster and fresco, at the Spazio Alternativo Gallery in Rome.
During the 80s and the 90s his work fully manifests itself: It’s the beginning of a new creative period. The Campi Magnetici and Tra la Superficie e l’Aria, belong to this phase: large format monochromes where the gestures and “the sign” become protagonists of a work based on the reduction of the image, that makes the surface vibrant and disorienting. His purpose is to go beyond the skin of the visible, beyond the enunciated reality of things. In those years Sanna arranges two solo exhibitions at the Gallery Giulia of Rome: in 1987, cureted by Lorenzo Mango, with the series Tra la Superficie e l’Aria and in 1990 with La luce Formante, with a text by Patrizia Ferri.
With his gaze turned towards chaos and cosmic harmony, his works named Pietre e Geodi (1993) and Meteore, take shape, merging volumes between light and shadow, gold and black. In 1989 and in 1993 he attends the Biennale d’Arte Città di Milano and partecipates to the Marche Prize of 1990. Another element that gives structure to the work of Sanna is the constant search for the plasticity of the image, achieved through the use of metallic and synthetic microfilms which have their own chromatic and reflectent peculiarity, capable to project their shadow on the surface. These works recall the musical pace and propose themselves as a score in their own structure. This cycle of works is present in 1994 in a solo exhibition curated by Luigi Meneghelli at the Gallery Giulia of Rome and in 1995 in the show Moda e Arte, Ferrone Uomo / Sandro Sanna at the Fortezza da Basso in Florence.
Also in the following elaborations, Muri d’acqua, Derive, Maglie e Derive and Geodi which constitute the natural evolution of the previous series of artworks, the light and the shape happen to coincide with the same agglomerate of impalpable and reflecting matter. The flowing and the rush are the expressive key of Muri d’acqua and of Maglie e Derive, where the perception of the observer is guided to pass through the surface of the canvas, pandering the flowing of signs.
In 1997 Sanna is invited to the show l’Arte a Roma, where he received the purchase-prize of the Galleria Comunale d’Arte Moderna of the capital. In 1998, in occasion of the solo exhibition at the Museo Laboratorio d’Arte Contemporanea of the University La Sapienza of Rome curated by Fabio Briguglio, he displays the series Pietre, Bisanzio, Maglie e Derive and Risuona l’Aria.
In 2000, in a comprehensive show presented by Maurizio Calvesi and Augusta Monferini, he proposes works from the decade 1990-2000 in the halls of Palazzo de Riso Gagliardi in Vibo Valenzia. This retrospective points out some essential steps of the evolutionary journey of the artist: specifically the series Luce Formante, Miniera del Sole, Rock Nero Sabbia, Pietre, Bisanzio, Geodi, Maglie e Derive and Lo Specchio dei Pianet, which, displayed simultaneously and in the same setting, make clear the poetic evolution pivoted on the three-dimensional allusion, the perceptive displacement and the “reduction” of the matter which, thanks to its inner chromatic and reflecting peculiarity, replaces colors. Belonging to the same year the solo exhibitions at the Ronchini Arte Contemporanea Gallery in Terni, Segni d’Aria e di Terra and at the Studio S Gallery of Rome and the participation to the IX Biennale d’Arte Sacra in S. Gabriele (Teramo).
In 2001 Sanna attends the 8th Biennale Internazionale of Cairo City with some works belonging to the cycle Meteora and, at the Galleria Comunale d’Arte Monderna of Ciampino (Roma), he shows Cosomogonia 2001, an installation of large dimensions (21sm) composed by seventy canvas of 50×60 cm each, inspired by the slow cosmic dynamism, with texts in catalogue by Augusta Monferini and Lorenzo Canova. Later on, the same work is displayed in the Brolo Palace of Mogliano Veneto (Treviso).
During these years his creative inspiration intesifies, with the three-dimensional evocation, the artist’s new works aim at giving birth to Sculptures in the Plain, obtaining spaces of immersion. His production is focused on works of installation, and finalized to interpret and simulate the physical aspect of the image.
In 2003, in a show curated by Maurizio Calvesi e Augusta Monferini, he exhibits the works Metallica in the spaces of the publishing house CAM in Rome; here Sanna proposes a series of painting-installations on the topic of reflexion of the image and its double. At the same time, for the new room of the editorial board, the artist realizes a large floor mosaic.
Towards the end of this year, under commission of ACEA and Rome’s Municipality, he installs in the centre of Piazza Re di Roma the sculpture Meteora, a big scale art work in steel and lights. The sculpture changes by a lighting system programmed to turn its chromaticity during the overarch of the day, shifting from the incandescent red resembling melting metal, to the astral cold of steel. Still in 2003 he attends the show curated by Lorenzo Canova Futuro Italiano at the European Parliament in Brussels, with the large format works Metallica Verticale and Specchiante.
In 2004 the National Art Museum of Romania in Bucarest and the National Art Museum of Moldova in Chisinau dedicate to Sanna two comprehensive exhibitions that include works from 1990 to 2004, with texts written by Maurizio Calvesi, Lorenzo Canova, Fabrizio d’Amico, Luigi Meneghelli and Augusta Monferini. The same texts have been published as well in the catalogue of the broad show arranged at the National Library’s Gallery of Seoul.
In 2005 he attends the Universal Exhibition of Aichi in Japan. His works belonging to the series Metallica Lunare, Bisanzio Lunare and Moonlight have also been part of the traveling exhibition organized by the Italian Foreign Affairs Ministry in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, DC with the catalouge’s text by John Yau.
In 2006 he is invited to participate in the show Mito e Velocità curated by Massimo Scaringella, held at the Kremlin Stables in Moscow; in the exhibition Natura e Metamorfosi curated by Marisa Vescovo in the city of Shanghai at the Urban Planning Exhibition Centre and in Beijing at the Creative Art Centre-Millennium Art Museum and, coming back to Italy, to the G. Carandente Modern Art Gallery at the Palazzo Collicola in Spoleto (Perugia). He’s among the artists who participated at Out Art, Arte Contemporanea at Villa dei Quintili in Rome, a show curated by Eleonora Sgaravatti, with an evocative installation whithin the ancient Roman cistern; Sanna also takes part to Lights On at the Artiscope Gallery of Brussels curated by Zaira Mis. During the following year Sanna attends the exhibition Baltico Mediterraneo, Italia-Finlandia a Confronto, curated by Sergio Rossi, in the Castel S. Angelo Museum in Rome.
In 2007 his works, part of the Farnesina Collection, are displayed in the traveling collective exhibition Viaggio Nell’Arte Italiana 1950-1980: Cento Opere della Collezione Farnesina, hosted in Sarajevo, Sofia, Budapest and Bucarest. In 2007 the artist joins the permanent collection of the Galleria Civica di Arte Contemporanea Giuseppe Perricone in Erice (Trapani). Once again in 2008 he travels to China with the exhibtion Energie Sottili della Materia curated by Marisa Vescovo, at the Urban Planning Exhibition Center of Shanghai and at the China National Academy of Painting in Beijing. In 2008 he is invited to participate at the show Sconfinamenti, held at the Museo Nazionale di Castel S. Angelo in Rome. In the same year he attends the 59th Michetti Award curated by Maurizio Calvesi, Anna Imponente and Augusta Monferini, where he is awarded the Ruffini purchase prize. In 2009 he displays his work in Dinamismo/Spazio/LuceNera – G. Balla, L. Fontana, R. Alimagno, S. Sanna, a show curated by Lorenzo Canova hosted by the University of Molise, Campobasso.
In 2010 the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei gives him the prestigious award Leonardo Paterna Baldizzi for sculpture, recognising his work Meteora. Again in 2010 he attends the 54th Biennale di Venezia.
Sanna is present in the Collection VAF-Stiftung at the MART of Rovereto with some large format works and at the same museum in 2011 he participates in the collective exhibition 1947–2010, Percorsi riscoperti dell’Arte Italiana, Collezione VAF-Stiftung curated by Gabriella Belli and Daniela Ferrari.
In 2012 in the double-solo show La Luce Oscura della Materia, Sandro Sanna – Roberto Almagno curated by Lorenzo Canova, he presents at the Museum Carlo Bilotti of Rome the new cycle Primigenia e Origine. In this circumstance the artist proposes a series of large works on canvas and steel sheets, designed with the help of digital animation programs, through which he makes an accurate reconnaissance on the complexity of the structure that produces the subjects and on the mutations derived by the change of the light source. The poetics of Primigenia e Origine aim at highlighting two fundamental features of the cosmic reality: the whole that in the first instance manifests itself in its ecstatic and unitary simplicity, and the complexity of a manyfold and mazy universe that reveals itself if observed more carefully.
In 2013 displays his work at the Pièce Unique Gallery of Beirut, Lebanon, with a personal exhibition named Dinamismo Statico sponsored by the Italian Embassy. Of the same year is the show Universi Vibranti curated by Susanne Capolongo and Stefano Cortina with a critical text by Marco Meneguzzo, hosted by the Galleria d’Arte Cortina in Milan. Again in 2013 the exhibition Origine – Bendini, Guerrini, Sanna, curated by Tiziana d’Achille in the Porta Latina Gallery of Rome.
In 2014, in occasion of the 65th edition of the Premio Michetti, he is awarded the Dante Ruffini e Maddalena Pettirosso Prize. During the same year he participates in the exhibition La Luce e L’Icona curated by Lorenzo Canova at the Basiliche Paleocristiane of Cimitile (Naples). Dates back to 2015 the solo exhibition aMare with a critical text by Alberto Dambruoso and hosted by the gallery Tralevolte in Rome. Here Sanna displays an installation which is an explicit tribute to the human toll caused by the fleeing refugees who have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea. In 2015 he is also invited to participate in the Vasto Award curated by Lorenzo Canova at the Scuderie di Palazzo Aragona, Vasto (Chieti). In 2016 attends the show Fragili Eroi curated by Roberto Gramiccia at the Museum Carlo Bilotti in Rome. In 2017 displays the solo exhibition A Geometria da Natureza at the Istituto Italiano di Cultura of Lisbon. In the show Il Cammino delle Certose curated by Anna Imponente, he presents two large scale installations at the Certosa di San Lorenzo of Padula (Salerno); again in the same year he exposes in the solo exhibition Alcuni Indizi at the Studio Presta / Timia Editrice, Rome.
In 2018 Sanna participates in the suggestive exhibition La luce diversa, Catania, Palmieri, Sanna, curated by Anna Imponente, Mattatoio Testaccio, Padiglione A, Rome. In this case the artist presents a new series of works of large format centered on the themes of Sembiante and of Metamorfosi, within a space conceived and shared with the other authors in order to offer a vision of the works slowly emerging form the dark, just like apparitions, confering to the space a sacral intonation.
In 2019 Sanna is among the artists that participate in the itinerant exhibition La Collezione Farnesina in India, India Art Fair 2019 New Delhi, Calcutta, Mumbai. Again, in 2019 he realizes the site-specific work Sembiante 12 for the show Verso l’Aleph di Napoli, Anselmo – Bassiri – Mottola – Palmieri – Sanna, Museo e Certosa di San Martino, Naples, curated by Anna Imponente. The image of the artwork is composed by four elements and it brings the sight of the observer beyond the visible: light and rust become history, time sediment and metaphor of memory; the plurality of presences and experiences, of voices and identities converge in this aggregation, they flow in a single point: the Aleph.
Again, in 2019 in occasion of the exhibit Atelier at MACRO Via Nizza, Rome, he proposes a photographic installation accompanied by sound; subsequantly the artist speaks about himself with Autoritratto. In December of the same year Sanna participate in the exhibition Contrappunti 2 cured by Bianca Pedace, Stazione di Posta of San Gemini (Terni). Takes place in 2019 at the Accademia di Belle Arti of Frosinone the show Allunare Infinito curated by Alberto Dambruoso to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the first Moon Landing.
Wrote about Sandro Sanna: 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, D. Ferrari, M. G. 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, B. Pedace, V. Perna, F. Pirani, Fresia Rodriguez Cadavid, S. Rossi, F. Ruggeri, S. Schiesaro, P. Serra Zanetti, F. Simongini, G Simongini, C. Siniscalco, L. Tallarico, M. Vescovo, E. Vitaliano, Paula Voicu, John Yau, R. Zuccaro.