Born 1933, Rapperswil, Switzerland
Raffael Benazzi was born in Switzerland in 1933. While a teenager, he was educated in craft techniques but later continued to study sculpture. In the mid-1950s, Benazzi settled in Italy, where he continues to reside in the San Vincenzo region. Between 1954 and 1965, Benazzi maintained a close relationship with German abstract artist, Julius Bissier. It was during that same period that the artist’s work changed direction, moving from figurative, carved wood and stone sculptures, to abstract, welded iron reliefs. However, Benazzi most enjoyed the challenge of manipulating “living” material, whose texture resisted him and had been marked by life. For example, Benazzi directly carves alabaster and eucalyptus trunks into powerful, voluptuous forms that remain true to the character and natural kinetics of the original stone and wood respectively.
Benazzi has had many solo exhibitions in his native Switzerland and in Italy and Germany as well, some of which include: Galerie La Cittadelle, Ascona, Switzerland; Galerie Numaga, La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland; Galerie Lienhard, Zurich, Germany; among many more. His work has also been shown in New York City at Andre Emmerich Gallery. He was awarded the Jean Arp Prize for sculpture in 1966 and participated in the Venice Biennale in 1978. Benazzi has been the subject of two documentary films by Condor Film AG, Zurich, Germany (1968) and by CineGroupe for Swiss Television (1969-70).
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Work on Display at GFS