“Sealed Between Us. The Role of Wax in Luciano Fabro’s Tuˆ”. Oxford Art Journal vol. 36:1 (March 2013): 13-38

This essay examines the role of red sealing wax in Tu (1978), Arte povera artist Lucian Fabro’s little-known work comprising a hanging egg-shaped sculpture stamped with an erotic image from an ancient seal. The work’s multiple meanings emerge when the materiali is considered, for sealing wax, along with its traditional counterpart – the seal – stand for a particular kind of sensual and intellectual perception. Tu thus functions as a metaphor for the charged “impressions” that leave their mark on the artist’s mind, body, and senses during the planning and execution of an artwork, a mode of apprehension that Fabro extends to the experience of the observer as well. His material choice reflects the intense, intimate connection he envisions between his work and its eventual viewer, and even, if indirectly, the tense cultural and political climate in Italy at the time of the work’s creation. Tu’s medium thus signifies a “sealing togheter” of the vital reletionship that binds not only teh artist to his art but also the artist’s work to his viewer beginning with the instant of a work’s conception.

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