Back 30 October 2015



Artists have special eyes. They observe the things that surround them and see them in a different way from us. Like all artists, Armando Testa, had the talent of looking to the future and creating something new, something wholly unique

“Armando Testa was a key figure in an authoritative generation of artists, architects, graphic designers, directors, and cultural innovators in general who, during the fifties and sixties, created an amazing point of contact in Italy between the avant guard and popular culture.” (Jeffrey Deitch)
His works demonstrate deep knowledge of the semiotic and visual processes which underlie our communicative system , he had the ability to subvert logic and the connections between objects and the situations they are based on, his images could generate double meanings with renewed sense.

Why Sintesi 59.
One day in 1959, during a business trip to New York, Armando Testa saw a Japanese doll in a shop window. It was made up of two semi spheres. This was the trigger which led him on his return to Italy to retrieve a rough sketch that had long lain closed in a drawer.
Indeed, this sculpture was created from the vision of one sphere suspended over another half-sphere. Armando gave this a three dimensional form, photographed it then added a pictorial element. As he himself wrote: “I wanted to be able to present a visual representation of a sphere and a half, eliminating any connection to a pictorial design, a totally aerographic sphere and half a sphere”.

A work that today, in remembrance of those days, is entitled “Sintesi 59”. The shape is a product of his personal research, and thanks to his never ending drawing has become perfect. Totemic and incredibly modern at the same time, one of the first examples of minimal art.
Armando Testa and advertising.
Armando Testa –with his multi-discipline talents- was also a great communicator. In advertising too, in the agency he founded in Turin, he had a unique vision, he used language which before then had been the reserve of other art forms. He created a unique precise, creative graphic comprising visual synthesis and verbal irony.

Gillo Dorfles defined him “a global visualizer.”

It is not by chance that Sintesi 59 subsequently became the symbol of a renowned communication campaign, and today it is on display in a number of museums all over the world: the campaign for the liqueur Punt e Mes, represents the maximum synthesis of visual and verbal forms. The design was created independently and only later did Armando decide to use it in advertising: “The sketch for a sphere and a half was a rough sketch which had lain in a drawer for a long long time: then there came the intuition, then the definition.”

A work of art for his city.
Torinese, with close ties to the city of his birth where he could often be seen walking around with his unmistakeable hat, from today Armando Testa has a large size sculpture installed in the central piazza XVIII Dicembre.

Sintesi ’59 is located in an urban setting, in the middle of a piazza precisely like an “absurd” object which might be spotted in a painting by De Chirico, in the traffic island near the historical station of Porta Susa.

This image has found a place in the Italians’ collective imagination as the visual interpretation of a specific product, and now, -thanks to the local administration in Turin- it has been donated to the city, in its orginal form as an abstract geometric sculpture whose shape embodies essential lines. This work shows the exception ability of Armando Testa to communicate the real, the ordinary and the extraordinary using absolute, universal, abstract forms.

The best way to remember him
Armando was always curious about everything, a pioneer. His great intuition lives on and looks to the future. That is why today the best way to remember him is to make this monument out of steel, a sign for the future.

The Armando Testa Group, the biggest Italian communication group, today headed by Marco Testa, has launched a competition, addressed to young creatives. The prize to be awarded to the winner is a month in Los Angeles, at the heart of the world of cinema and entertainment, in the new offices of Testa Los Angeles. Another sign of things to come in the future.

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