Líbero Badii (1916–2001) was an Italian sculptor born in Arezzo who developed a sort of symbolic sculpture that became important in Argentina. After travels through Latin America in the 1950s, Pre-Columbian art began to influence his work. Badii developed the concept of “the sinister,” as the undeniable form of knowledge and feeling. He named his workshop “Almataller” [Soulworkshop]. Aldo Paparella (1920–77) was another artist of Italian origin, born in Minturno, he fought in the African theater during World War II and was later taken prisoner in France. He arrived in Argentina in 1950. Without a doubt, he is responsible for the renewal of nonfigurative and Informalist sculpture in Argentina. At the end of the 1950s, Paparella assembled waste materials in his Sugerencias [Suggestions] series. His aggressive use of metal converted the material into something “informal,” and it was at that moment that the artist began to ponder the object (more than from a traditional concept of the language of sculpture) and from that developed his series of useless furniture [Muebles inútiles]. At the beginning of the 1970s, Paparella created the Monumentos inútiles [Useless Monuments], his most significant work, using lesser materials.The correspondence between Paparella and Badii during the 1970s, when the former was living in Minturno, the town of his birth, is an important collection of documents written during an important stage of Paparella’s work. They allow for questioning the relationship between the new sculptural languages, the European tradition, and the Latin American concept, as well as the social networks to which both artists belonged.
Paparella’s reflections indicate the reformulation of his work, which was already well developed (particularly with the Monumentos inútiles that were created beginning in 1971, using cardboard, woolen cloth, and plaster), and were inspired by his birthplace and Mediterranean culture. This letter is important for understanding Paparella’s concept of the “artist.”