Born in Alba, in the north-west Italian province of Cuneo, in 1942, Riccardo Cordero attended Artistic High School and the Albertine Academy of Fine Arts in Turin, taking his diploma at the latter in 1965. His masters included Sandro Cherchi for sculpture and for anatomy Franco Garelli, a sculptor as well as a medical doctor, with both of whom he was to retain a bond of sincere friendship in the years that followed.

His public début took place in 1960, at the 120th Exhibition of the Fine Arts Promotion Society (the "Promotice") in Turin, in a phase when the statutes of art were being questioned in a debate that also involved sculpture. In that same year, Michel Tapié, one of the more important of the critics to espouse that tendency, had opened the International Center of Aesthetic Research (ICAR) in Turin. It was natural that this would attract the interest of this young student, who observed the – albeit declining – Informel in paintings and soon saw in it the possibility to overcome the cautious scan of volumes and surfaces in Cherchi, with its Neo-Cubist matrix, as is evident in one of his first works, Crucifixion, dated to that same year of 1960, whose reduction of the image to a bas relief and whose corroded matter already seem to point at the artist's interest in Umberto Milani. Cordero must certainly also have been impressed by the Lucio Fontana who created the Spatial Concepts and the Natures, like his other young colleagues who were striving to create a "new" sculpture of pertinence to the contemporary new day and age. A sculptor by vocation, Cordero selected his interests with precocious lucidity: the works he did in the early sixties demonstrate how he observed not only Fontana again, but also Milani's three-dimensional works, which propounded unprecedented possibilities in the relationship between plastic volumes and spaces, the nodal point of sculpture, as Cordero soon understood, inaugurating what was to be the first facet of his entire long career. Along the same lines can be placed the attention Cordero paid to Garelli, evidence of which is also conveyed by the artist's first works. Nevertheless, it was not long before the artist advanced to a front intent on going "beyond the Informel", along the – also thematic – lines of the lure of contemporaneousness, as between 1964 and 1965 he shaped coloured figures of astronauts, baseball players and footballers in the round, midway between the Pop superhero and the mischievous puppet, which made their appearance in the prestigious Ferrari Gallery in Verona in 1966. But this was only a temporary diversion. Already in the following year, Cordero invested the need for sculpture in tune with its times in his research, which was to continue until 1969-1970 and beyond, into coloured multi-material assemblies, in which he was also stimulated by Garelli's developments in his Tubes, shown at the Venice Biennale in 1966, as well as by an original reinterpretation of the precedents of the historical avant-gardes, in particular of Boccioni the Futurist of the "compenetrations of planes". What was decisive in these works was not only the colour, but also the experimentation and use of a multiplicity of materials, some of them industrial in origin: they went on show in the Triade Gallery in Turin, in 1968, with an important critical introduction by Paolo Fossati, and in the following year in the Due Mondi Gallery in Rome, in the fourth edition of Perspectives, a regular event dedicated to emerging young talent from all over Italy, presented by a variety of critics. Cordero was accompanied by Enrico Crispolti, who wrote about him in the catalogue.

Cordero's presences in group exhibitions at home and abroad grew steadily more numerous. The more important ones included the Sonsbeek Biennale, in the Netherlands in 1966, the III International Sculpture Exhibition at the Pagani Foundation in Legnano in 1967, where Cordero also took part in the following year, and in 1969 the San Fedele Award in Milan, the IV International Drawing Award in Torre Pellice and the exhibition Cinque a Torino in the Caleidoscopio Gallery in Padua. In 1970, Paolo Fossati mentioned him in the Bolaffi Catalogue.

In the meantime, in 1969, Cordero had started working on his constructions and assemblies on the environmental scale that were to become increasingly congenial to him and whose terrain he had already tested in large dimensions in 1975, with his monumental Earth-Moon, made of enamelled iron and polyester and measuring 650 x 420 x 250 cm, installed in the garden of the Middle School in Rozzano, near Milan, the first of the large public commissions that were to enable him to make his mark in important spaces, with the aim of upgrading the cityscape, a focus that became increasingly pressing in his work. These experiences were presented in personal exhibitions and in some high-profile group shows, both in Italy and abroad. His personals include the ones held in 1971 in the L4 Gallery in Novara, in the Unimedia Gallery in Genoa and in the Beniamino Gallery in San Remo, in 1973 in the Philippe Chabeau Gallery in Brussels, in 1975 in the Arcipelago Gallery in Turin and in 1977 in the Ada Zumino Gallery in Milan. The groups exhibitions include the ones held in 1972 at the IX Menton Biennale, in 1974 at the V Turin Quadriennale and in 1975 at the VIII Gubbio Metal Biennale and the X Padua Bronze Biennale. In 1977, the artist interrupted his more self-referential research into form and space to spend nearly a decade probing the potential of the figurative image.

This means that he made neither a completely clean break, nor a regressive return to the statue, but a highbrow reinterpretation of tradition, also with regard to manual making, material and technique, in a broadly Post-Modern atmosphere. These diverse experiences, whose main thematic focus was on the female nude, were also very well received: by the critics, including writers like Giovanni Arpino, and by exhibitions, in private galleries (La Bussola in Turin in 1979, La Parisina in the same city in 1982, Cinquetti in Verona in 1983 and the 32 Gallery in Milan in 1984), public institutions (the Italian Cultural Institute in a Munich in 1984) and in major Italian and international events (the Gallarate Gallery of Modern Art National Award in 1979, the Turin Promotrice in 1980 and 1983, the City of Milan Art Biennale in 1984 and 1987, the Asti Sculpture Biennale in 1986, Italiaans Beeldhouwkunst (Italian Sculpture), in the J.L. Gallery in 1982, the Westminster City Sculpture Competition, in Coutts & Co. Bank in London in 1987 and, above all, the XLIII Venice Biennale in 1978, where Cordero had a personal room, a very high profile acknowledgement accorded to the artist at an unusually early age). Between 1985 and 1987, Cordero conducted further experiments in the topic of the landscape that led him to construct structures that were concrete for their physical and signal resolution and for their way of furnishing reality – again physical – to the space that is activated, so made present and not evoked, by the plastic form. This heralded the artist's definitive maturity, which was heralded at the end of 1988 in the exhibition Two Sculptures, held in the Salto del Salmone Cultural Association in Turin, which, as the name implies, comprised just two sculptures, November and Black in the Landscape. These two pieces exemplify the beginning of the long and increasingly fertile period that has brought Cordero to number among the world's leading sculptors, with his increasingly peremptory structures that maximise the potential for sculpture to be coherent with the development of contemporary culture, an approach sought after by the artist throughout his creative career, in particular in terms of the interface relationship between on the one hand plastic structures that are both rigorously designed and also open and articulated and on the other space, including environmental space. As in an imposing series of monumental works that have nothing in common with the rhetoric or the academic approach of statuary and of the monument: from the Co-ordinated Rotation in the Pellerina Park in Turin, dated 1992, and Lookout, dated 1993, for the Lookout Sculpture Park in Pennsylvania to the 1994 Fountain for the Cenisia Park in Turin the 1995 Stuttgart, Great Sign for the Alba Conference Centre and Presence, dated 1997, the 1998 Chakra, the 2000 New Presences and the colossal works made recently in 2005-2006: Chakra, for Piazza Galimberti in Turin, Meteor, for the new court building in Asti, another Meteor, for the Sculpture Park in Shanghai, and Comet for Taiwan. His personal exhibitions have also always been numerous and important, including In the same space, Cordero King Venet at the Turin Automobile Museum, in 2000, and Du projet à la réalisation in the Galerie au Quai des Arts in Vevey (Switzerland) in 2005, as well as his participation in such group exhibitions as International Sculpture at La mandria in Villa dei Laghi at Venaria Reale, near Turin, in 2002, at the XIV Rome Quadriennale in the Rome Museum of Modern Art in 2005 and in 2006 at the XXIV City of Gubbio Sculpture Biennale. In 2006, the Piedmont Region dedicated to him, Riccardo Cordero, works from 1960 to 2007, at the Sala Bolaffi in Turin. The exhibition will be transported first to the Museo de la Universidad de Alicante in Spain and subsequently at three locations in Latin America such as the Institutional Municipalidad Montevideo in Uruguay, at the Centro Cultural Borges in Buenos Aires in Argentina and finally to the Memorial da America Latina , Sao Paulo, Brazil. Again, winner of the national competition for public art, in 2007 he released Dragonfly, corten steel, for the New Court in Rome and in 2009, Command Group, in bronze, for for the New Headquarters of the Carabinieri in Aosta.

At the same time he continues on exhibition activities in 2012 with a spectacular show Macromondi Broken, monumental works, curated by Luciano Caramel, located within the walls of the Castle of Pergine. In 2013 a large anthological exhibition of the Iron Giants from 1960 to 2013, curated by Martina Corgnati at the Filatoio and the Cappuccini Convent in Caraglio in the province of Cuneo.. In the international context, beginning in 2006, he works in China, where in 2013 he produced for the city of Wuhu, a second version of corten steel sculpture Chakra 2. Since 1994 he is President of the Piedmont Arts Association.

...From the introduction of catalogue... by Luciano Caramel, Bolaffi show in Turin, 2006