Valérie Da Costa
Paul Thek en Italie (1962-1976)


Paul Thek (1933-1988), one of the most distinctive American artists of the latter half of the twentieth century, always refused to be part of the artistic mainstream.
From 1962 to 1976, he traveled to Italy, for multiple extended stays. In Rome, he discovered ancient sculpture, the achievements of the Renaissance, the Baroque churches, but above all the contemporary artistic effervescence of the capital. In Sicily, with his friend the photographer Peter Hujar, he was confronted with the question of death through reliquaries, religious processions or the extraordinary Capuchin catacombs. On the island of Ponza, he immersed himself in an ecstatic Mediterranean lifestyle, in osmosis with nature and the sea in particular.
All so many deeply felt experiences that shaped his artistic practice, from the famous Technological Reliquaries, to innovative installations and his return to painting and drawing.
This essay sets out to analyze, for the first time, the deep influence of this Italian life on the imaginary and work of Paul Thek.

Les Presses du Réel (with the support of Fondation Antoine de Galbert)
Published in May 2022
Bilingual english/french
17 x 24 cm
316 pages, 107 ill.
ISBN: 978-2-37896-282-1