MONOLITH, capturing spaces / Dionea Cicconi at Villa dell’Ombrellino

MONOLITH, capturing spaces / Dionea Cicconi at Villa dell’Ombrellino

MONOLITH, capturing spaces / Site-specific installation by Edoardo Dionea Cicconi

Special project of the Operativa Arte Contemporanea gallery Curated by Alice Zucca

Villa dell’Ombrellino, Florence

Having always been interested in the perception of light, elements in space and the laws and forces that govern the universe, Edoardo Dionea Cicconi stages a multidimensional ritual aimed at capturing on multiple levels the essence of a space. The site-specific audio-visual installation, a special project of the Operativa Arte Contemporanea gallery, will be hosted in the rooms of historic Villa dell’Ombrellino in Florence.Opened exceptionally for this exhibition, over the centuries the villa has played host to grand personalities including Galileo Galilei, who stayed there between 1617 and 1631, the period in which he wrote his Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, a text which would be part of the imminent scientific revolution.

Monolith / Catching spaces 2018, Edoardo Dionea Cicconi, installation view at Villa dell’Ombrellino, Firenze

Monolith / Catching spaces 2018, Edoardo Dionea Cicconi, Villa dell’Ombrellino, Firenze

Within the space looms a primordial monolith, upon which a mysterious glass display case is placed. It is a matrix, divided into compartments of laminated glass inside which a composition of metal points evokes the order of each existing element. Infinite possibilities of representation can be created in the world using the line and the point – their primordial forms – and thus, in the microworldof Dionea, the distances between points, binding them one to another, create matter and the world itself. Here, the universe and the elements possess a harmony inflected upon a geometrical level: in imitating the surrounding space, the points perimetrically reproduce its appearance. Dionea’s installation is in fact the representation of a microcosm which has no life of its own but is the representation of a world, of a space, of the stars, of the beings that inhabit a cosmos, of the planets, of nature and of cells. Depending upon the angle from which they are viewed, the points seem to change position, but there is an order to this interior that regulates its structure: subjectively, a kinetic change of perception – which occurs totally naturally – is provided by the perspective with which the viewer who is about to experience this world views the strata of the display case, but the actual order remains unchanged.The artist uses geometry to evoke these archetypes: the object itself which encloses the various motifs, the form and the levels of the glass case, are square in shape, and the composition almost always develops in a circular manner. The Circle and the Square represent the two fundamental aspects of God: unity is equivalent to divine manifestation. The material of which the matrix itself is ​​composed – glass– gives the effect of canceling the distance between interior and exterior, between the space and its reproduction, symbolically combining the physical dimension with the ideal one. Moreover, it is the material most able to filter light, a fundamental element in this ritual and symbol of creation par excellence.

Monolith / Catching spaces 2018, Edoardo Dionea Cicconi

Monolith / Catching spaces 2018, Edoardo Dionea Cicconi, installation view at Villa dell’Ombrellino, Firenze

The order of things is thus represented by the matrix that, as it catalyses space, offers itself as a simulacrum and origin of the emanation of the same. Beams of light strike the case, which filters them and distributes them into the environment. The light thus strikes the three different surfaces that surround it, set between the space and the matrix. The panels are covered with a light-sensitive chemical emulsion which captures the shadow of the surrounding environment, offering an impression of the space filtered by the matrix.On these emulsified surfaces, the artist undertakes further interventions. Beginning from the essence of the immaterial space imprinted on the panel, the final work is created with an additional level that formally represents the space. In fact, through abstract photographic compositions, Dionea implements a stratification of layers on the panels, superimposing on top of the image of the space the concrete and recognizable details of the elements of the place itself (stone, water, sand, earth, etc.).

Monolith / Catching spaces 2018, Edoardo Dionea Cicconi, installation view at Villa dell’Ombrellino, Firenze

Monolith / Catching spaces 2018, Edoardo Dionea Cicconi, installation view at Villa dell’Ombrellino, Firenze

In this ritual of capturing space, an additional perceptual dimension is provided by the sound that accompanies the installation for its entire duration. The artist has specially composed a music that, developing through a series of crescendos, is generated from an elementary-primordial sound over which increasingly intertwined vibrations gradually overlap until a complex melody is created that replicates on a sonic level the physical structure of the multi-layered installation. The aural composition is driven by emotive impressions and impulses with which the artist attempts to reproduce the space and its existence within itself: the inner microcosm of the artist as an expression of the experience of a space. At the same time, theexperience, vibrating in space through sound, is absorbed and restituted by the space, with the addition, in some way, of the ‘impression’ of the same, in that each space has its own ‘resonance frequency’ – a frequency at which it spontaneously vibrates with maximum efficiency. The resonant frequency depends upon the size, shape and type of material. In each room, some frequencies will be attenuated and others emphasized, determining a unique ‘colouring’ of the sound – an acoustic response characteristic of that room. The subjective perception of the sound is greatly influenced by the room in which we find ourselves. According to this principle, the reverberation of sound in a given space is also the product of the space itself.

Emiliano Maggi, FOOLS FANTASEE, Operativa Arte Contemporanea

Emiliano Maggi, FOOLS FANTASEE, Operativa Arte Contemporanea

Emiliano Maggi / FOOLS FANTASEE / Operativa Arte Contemporanea, Rome

From May 25th to July 15th 2018

Fools Fantasee is the second solo project by Emiliano Maggi especially conceived for the spaces of the gallery Operativa Arte Contemporanea in Rome (Via del Consolato). The entire gallery will be transformed in an absurd carousel where the viewer will see his image lost and then transfigured through several acid etched mirrors decorated with sculptural elements realized in ceramic by the artist. In the centre of the main room, a big white rotating carousel will be the tool with which the consciousness can be lost in a uncontrollable vortex, a game of reflections and twisted visions. In the second room, a series of busts in shiny ceramic will represent fantastic characters transmutated by the crazy carousel of fairytales suggestions. The entire exhibition is indeed focused on the idea of the bodyand-identity transfiguration, performed by the mirroring sculptures, in order to take up the viewer’s image to give it back not only modified, but distorted with surreal and fantastic shapes.

Emiliano Maggi, Bat Boy. Lustre on glazed ceramic, 2018. Courtesy Operativa, Rome.

Emiliano Maggi, Carousel (detail). Lustre on glazed ceramic, 2018. Courtesy Operativa, Rome.

Emiliano Maggi, Carousel. Iron merry-go-round, glazed ceramic and bronze, 2018. Courtesy Operativa, Rome.

Emiliano Maggi, Fools Fantasee, exhibition detail of the second room, Operativa, Rome.

Emiliano Maggi, Fools Fantasee, exhibition view of the first room, Operativa, Rome.

Emiliano Maggi, Fools Fantasee, exhibition view of the first room, Operativa, Rome.

Emiliano Maggi, Gold Drama. Acid-etched mirror and glazed ceramic, 2018 (detail). Courtesy Operativa.

Emiliano Maggi, Gold Vanity. Lustre on glazed ceramic and acid-etched mirror, 2018. Courtesy Operativa

Emiliano Maggi, The Unconscious Boy. Lustre on glazed ceramic, 2018. Courtesy Operativa, Rome.

Emiliano Maggi (Rome 1977) lives and works in Rome. The multi-faceted artist’s research has always succeeded in combining psychedelic scenarios to mythological symbolism, rituality and rural iconography made of fairy tales and dreams to hypnotic scenes as in italian 70‘s horror movies. All these elements are narrated by a polyhedric production that ranges from performance to jewellery production, from the praised musical project Estasy to pictorial and photographic works.

My wall: Ian Tweedy’s first solo show at Monitor gallery (Rome)

My wall: Ian Tweedy’s first solo show at Monitor gallery (Rome)

My wall, Ian Tweedy’s first solo show at Monitor gallery (Rome) after several years of absence in Italy, featuring a new group of work entirely conceived for MY WALL solo show. Tweedy’s early work, which was characterized by the use of a variety of media including graffiti, sculpture, photography and drawing, has given way to an evolution in his research, resulting in a unadulterated painting exhibition.

Ian Tweedy, My Wall, 2018, installation view at Monitor, Rome, Ph: Giorgio Benni

Ian Tweedy, Green Point, Oil on canvas, 122×183 cm

The artist’s subject matter, too, has expanded: the coupling of straightforward reporting of historical facts with a personal interpretation now gives way to new methods of narration and representation of facts, time and space. Tweedy’s aspiration for the construction of a new mythology based on European and American history, together with the concept of appropriation and the recording of past and recent history is now intertwined with a broader vision of reality and personal experience, creating a furthering of imagination which speaks to us in a new language. The constant and intense labour of collecting and archiving images remains central to Tweedy’s work, but is now compounded by the creation of a more intimate biography, a more defined identity and a multi-layered story open to a number of interpretations.

Ian Tweedy, My Wall, 2018, installation view at Monitor, Rome, Ph: Giorgio Benni

The artist has here embarked on a new dialogue with the medium of painting, its subject matter, and the process of composing an image. The urban landscape of his previous works becomes almost entirely substituted by a natural one. Nature, depicted in its regenerating process, has become central to Tweedy’s recent work: it is a constant element with its perpetual seasons and its relation to man, who, portrayed almost always from behind as though diving into the background, is captured by nature, creating a seemingly third dimension or additional depth to explore.

Ian Tweedy, My Wall, 2018, installation view at Monitor, Rome, Ph: Giorgio Benni

Ian Tweedy, My Wall, 2018, installation view at Monitor, Rome, Ph: Giorgio Benni

Tweedy engages with the canvas as if he were dabbling in a theatrical representation, gradually bringing onto the set elements which go on to compose the direction of the narration and representation. The true intent of the composition is revealed only towards the end as the elements surface from the background. A key role is played by light, which envelopes the subject matter with its dynamism, as well as color, which spreads and bleeds beyond the borders of the painting.

Ian Tweedy, MRI, Oil on canvas, 101×152 cm

Through a profound exploration of his personal relationship with figurative painting over the years, compounded by his personal conception of abstraction, with TITLE Tweedy achieves an deep understanding of his own history as a painter, laying the foundation for a future of infinite possibilities.

Mast Foundation for Photography Grant on Industry and Work 2018

Mast Foundation for Photography Grant on Industry and Work 2018

Sarah Cwynar, Sohei Nishino, Mari Bastashevski, Cristobal Olivares / Curated by Urs Stahel

Photo Gallery Mast foundation Bologna

Sarah Cwynar – Ultra Cosmetics from the series “Colour Factory,” 2017

It’s important to mention how nowadays there’s a discrepancy between the knowledge of the finished product – which is familiar to us to the point of becoming and extension of our body and inducing us to build an image of ourselves through the act of the purchase (a phenomenon which is particularly amplified in the era of social media) – and an almost total lack of involvement and ability to understand the world of industrial production, even though it is the very images of the production process which enables us to understand the evolution of the labour market and how it impacts society and consequently the consumer of the product which looked so familiar. Media, technology and finance have almost implemented a process of abstraction of the world to the point that areas of fundamental importance which govern the transformation – always ongoing – of our daily life, ended up being distant, inaccessible, unintelligible and obscure for most people. Therefore it seems like there’s an impelling need to reduce , or better, to cancel this distance allowing us to visualize the process of production through a perspective which goes beyond what is portrayed for the insiders. The photography can be the vehicle documenting reality and the photographic shots can be the eyes through which one can follow the developments in the world of the industrial production, which involves machines, goods, digitalization etc. Urs Stahel – curator of the photo gallery of the MAST Foundation – raises the question related to the observation of reality by looking at a representation, one of the fundamental problems of photography. Bertolt Brecht in 1931 stressed that in that sense  the reproduction of reality in fact is not able to tell us anything about the objective reality – the mere photographic reproduction of a factory, for example, won’t tell us anything about its history and function – in this regard it’s necessary to produce something even more “artificial” and researched, a system made of interconnections which is able to relate to different elements of reality since the simple observation of it lacks the necessary information to understand it. It is essential to include in the image a connection between the abstract knowledge and the essence of human behavior, a connection between information and emotions. This is should be the target of young photographers and this is what MAST with the award of MAST Foundation for Photography Grant on Industry and Work (won by Sohei Nishino and Sarah Cwynar) – wants to promote and support, encouraging the investigation of themes considered essential in order to understand the reality of our time.

Sarah Cwynar, Tracy Grid (Blue to Pink), from the series “Colour Factory,” 2017

Sarah Cwynar, Tracy Grid (Green to Red), from the series “Colour Factory,” 2017

Sarah Cwynar focuses her works on shades of colors, analyzing color standards through the industrial tintometric systems in relation to beauty, to the models imposed by capitalism and their relationship with feminism, color theory and the features which make color an important part of experiencing human life. Cwynar’s work includes a short film, Colour Factory, and photographic shots through which she analyzes the paths we subconsciously follow and how our behavior is influenced as consumers of both images and commercial products. In the series of shots taken with her muse “Tracy”, she seems to explore the research made by the manufacturers of photographic films and their evaluation standards, looking for the right skin tone and the colors which seems to highlight it. The relationship between color and our personal perception of them is the focal point of Cwynar’s investigation, her short film is like a stream of consciousness, a collection of sensations, personal feelings and universal emotions. She presents iconic images such as wonder woman’s boots, red lipstick and red nail varnish.These are analyzed in relation to our personal perception and memory of the colors. At the end of the film a symbolic sentence states “I will never know how you see Red, and you will never know how I see it”. Our ideal of beauty though could be standardized and mass produced through a red lipstick, for example, and this is due to a collective memory linked to a tradition of images of red lipsticks, from movies to fashion, in the experience of what Lauren Berlant defined as a sort of “public intimacy” , a personal/sentimental network of cultural requirements which convey the goods and the experiences in the world of consumerism and assume the existence of a “common story” where the objects are expression of the story and correspond by convention to the feeling of belonging to it.

Sohei Nishino The Po, 2017

The subject chosen by Sohei Nishino for his project is water. While wandering from place to place, creating his majestic panoramic works composed by using thousands of shots combined – halfway between a map and a diorama – he claims to have found in the element of water the driving force of the world, something inextricably connected to the human existence. Nishino “flies”over the longest river in Italy, the Po, which being 650 km long, runs through 4 regions of northern Italy, providing water to those lands which helped the industrial fabric of the country to thrive. Sohei’s artistic research is not limited to the mere transposition of geography in the form of collage, it’s much more than that. He started his journey on the mount Monviso, at the border between France and Italy, and travelled for 45 days, from Turin he followed the river towards the Adriatic sea. During his itinerary he was able to experience the cultural and political environment of these places, meeting the locals who live in the area, fishermen, children, woodsmen, mixing with them and creating a portrait of the human presence near the bed of the river in an image which is able to picture the land, time and memories. A combination of 30 thousand photographs reproduces the essence of the river, a result Nishino was able to achieve after a meticulous and very long process.  He works alone, develops the films in a darkroom, hundreds and hundreds of rolls which he then places onto contact sheets and subsequently cuts to shape, one by one. It’s an infinite and repetitive action which makes him recall his personal experience through the memory of the places he visited, their history, society, buildings,  and the people he met who resurface united in their own uniqueness in the general view of the whole picture.

Mari Bastashevski , Councilman Erik Mays,
Water conference, City Hall, Flint, Michigan, US, 2017
Access: Permitted with a written authorisation

In Mari Bastashevski’s “Emergency Managers”, water is also used to convey a message, but the young Russian photographer in her work wants to investigate the mechanisms which are at governmental level and the negative impact that the bureaucratic machine can have on part of the society. In her project she addresses the issue of the water crisis which struck the city of Flint (Michigan) in 2014. When the town decided to build its own water source, ending the supply contract with the city of Detroit, the construction of the water supply network was so badly made that as a result residents were exposed to high levels of lead in the drinking water and many suffered lead poisoning, especially among the African American population, therefore forcing people to drink only bottled water. In her investigation Bastashevski tries to find out the causes of the crisis and how it was dealt with by the people in charge, focusing her attention onto the people who profited from the crisis, protecting the victims from exposure, refusing to sensationalize their pain as too often happens in these situations. The artist’s focus isn’t on how the incident ended nor is exclusively on those involved but she tries to examine new perspectives and to understand the inter-relation between private and public interests. Bastashevski’s work is of particular interest because it goes beyond the simple representation, becoming “representative”, on one side neutralizing the portrait of the crisis usually made by the media, on the other end emphasizing the documentation of the events and highlighting their informational value. Bastashevski presents a visual composition of images and documents linking them in order to bring to light critical knowledge useful to the civil society, refusing to use the visual element as a weapon of persuasion and as a simplified representation which is what happens in situations that receive extreme media attention.

Cristobal Olivares , J. (38), from the series “The Desert,” 2017

Cristobal Olivares Untitled, from the series “The Desert,” 2017

 “Dominicans are required to have special visas to enter as tourists, which has made them an easy target for smugglers. They are deceived, robbed and abused [..]. Most are intercepted in their own countries where they receive travel offers [..] through the desert on the borders between Perú, Bolivia and Chile where the biggest threats are minefields, heights of more than 3,800 meters above sea level and extreme temperatures during the day and night”. These are the words used by Cristobal Olivares, a young photographer from Valparaiso, to describe the migratory phenomena from the Dominican Republic to Chile and what takes place around the problem of the many people who try to cross the border illegally.  It’s not a metaphor to say Chile is at one of the limits of the world, it’s a difficult place to reach, even in our modern times. It’s a country that it is built in the same way as an island with the Andes mountains on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. Its geographical condition puts it almost in between two personalities, the insular one which is reserved and closed in its identity, and the openness to migrants which have crossed it with their cultures and their own identities. After the military dictatorship, Chile opened itself and started promoting its territory becoming a main destination for Latin American migrants. Therefore between interest and negation, new identity challenges arose, though common, they were new to this country, about what is the distance perceived and in what way are the others different. Cristobal Olivares in his project “The Desert” puts himself next to the migrants and their stories and explores the implication of the identity question. Olivares presents shots of enlarged landscapes of the desert, empty, which become background for the portraits of the migrants and for the video installations where they regain their speech. In a process which seems to suggest a loss of identity, the migrants are pictured without showing their faces, but this expedient, even though it exposes their weaknesses and uncertainties, also highlights the fact that they are part of mankind. Olivares reflects upon the distance between oneself and another, fluctuating between reality and fiction, distant from the concept of documentary as a testimony of reality in a possible passage from the story of the individual to a universal feeling between memories and appearances.

Alice Zucca

LA SINDROME DI PANDORA ( The Pandora Syndrome)

LA SINDROME DI PANDORA ( The Pandora Syndrome)

10FEB(FEB 10)13:5430APR(APR 30)13:54LA SINDROME DI PANDORA ( The Pandora Syndrome)Rome 10/02/2018 - 30/04/2018Daforma Gallery Roma, Via dei Cappellari 38 00186 Roma

Focused on the celebration of the first and most ancient object of the applied arts, La Sindrome di Pandora is an eclectic and transversal collection of vases selected according to improbable affinities and unexpected dissonances.

La Sindorme di Pandora

La Sindorme di Pandora

From the visionary Liberty forms of the early ‘900s through iconic designers of the ‘60s avant-garde, including Ettore Sottsass, Angelo Mangiarotti, Mario Botta, Lino Sabattini and Piero Fornasetti, up to emerging contemporary talents like Coralla Maiuri, Sophie Dries, Federica Elmo, Valentina Cameranesi and Sara Ricciardi. The exhibition reworks the classic myth of the infamous vase that Zeus bestowed—yet forbid to open—upon the sister of Prometheus, putting into play an ironic turnaround: the disobedience to the warning of the gods leads only to a wonderful explosion of shapes, colors and kaleidoscopic tropical visions.

Coralla Maiuri, Uovo di Dinosauro Marziano, 2017. Ceramica smaltata. Courtesy La Magnifica Forma.

Federica Elmo, Ferrosecco 1 (occhio). Acciaio inox verniciato a liquido, 20x42x35 cm. Courtesy La Magnifica Forma.

Valentina Cameranesi, La Donnina, ceramica smaltata, 47x15x6 cm. Courtesy La Magnifica Forma.

Sara Ricciardi, Vette. Ardesia e vetro fuso. Courtesy La Magnifica Forma.

Each vase will be completed, enriched and distorted by a floral composition especially studied by two Roman florists Valeria Pesciarelli and Francesca Ricci. A site specific project by Edoardo Dionea Cicconi (a completion and appendix of the entire floral installation) will be presented in the Sala Bianca, the project room of the gallery. A totem monolith of black wood and glass will stand out in the center of the project room: a case in which bodies of iridescent butterflies float as if frozen by the time of an absurd geometry; jewels of taxidermy in a dramatic implosion of beauty. The artist in fact reverses the myth of Pandora, imobilizing the wonder and amazement within the work, and creating an eternal guardian.

Edoardo Dionea Cicconi

Carta Bianca, Capodimonte Imaginaire

Carta Bianca, Capodimonte Imaginaire

The Carta Bianca exhibition is the brainchild of Sylvain Bellenger, Director of the Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte, and Andrea Villiani, Director of the Madre Museum in Naples. The Exhibition is organized with the Electa Publishing House. Carta Bianca is a unique exhibition in Italy, as well as the history of museums, because it has given full freedom, or “carte blanche” to ten international personalities involved in different fields of knowledge to reinterpret in key, personal ways, the wonderful collection of Capodimonte. These personalities have chosen around ten works from the Capodimonte’s collection of nearly 47,000 artworks. They each then curated their works in their own room within the exhibition. Each “curator” thus gives a subjective but public reading of the museum and its collections, with the only constraint being that they must explain their choices. Video interviews and other multimedia content is available via the App designed by the company Arm23 (see the Carta Bianca App). The themes and cultural motivations of the curators open a reflection on how the museum can be a 21st century institution: A museum of imagination, freedom, participation, and creativity. The ethical, aesthetic and methodological prologue of this exhibition begins with the initial room dedicated to Jospeh Beuys, where one of his works from 1981 is presented (Alcune richieste e domande sul Palazzo nella testa umana). Documentation of the artist’s solo exhibition entitled Palazzo Regale (including the original artwork) is also present in this gallery, made in pencil on newspaper, that was held at Capodimonte from 23 December 1985 – 30 March 1986. This prologue strikes to reaffirm the legitimacy of free individual choice, including the right to expression, judgment, curiosity, fantastic invention the foundations of subjective tastes and inclinations. These aspects are placed in a dialogue within civilization, with respect to others. So if this is a Palazzo Regale, in reference to the title of Beuys’ exhibition, then it belongs to the moral conscience and cultural awareness of every woman and man…the only queens and kings of today of this Palace and Museum.

Joseph Beuys (Krefeld 1921 – Düsseldorf 1986) Alcune richieste e domande sul Palazzo nella testa umana 1981 sei fogli dattiloscritti e rmati da Beuys Collezione Teresa e Michele Bonuomo – Milano

The first room curated by Vittorio Sgarbi expresses how his art historical biography intertwines with the Capodimonte collection. He describes his approach as neither historical nor rhapsodic. It is interested, presumptuous, vain, among the great masterpieces of the Museum (Lotto, Parmigianino, Guido Reni…). These works have all in their own way informed his training and personal collection.

Sala Sgarbi, Guido Reni Atalanta e Ippomene, 1620-25 ca. olio su tela, cm 192 x 264 © Foto Luciano Romano

Marc Fumaroli focuses on a selection of 17th century Neapolitan works, and reflects upon the dualism of misery and poverty, of the artistocratic and popular. The comparison is between the paintings of Bernardo Cavallino and Massimo Stanzione – whose works are elegant, refined, and aristocratic – and Jusepe Ribera, whose works are ‘popular’ and expressed a modern interpretation of realism in a Caravaggesque mode.

CARTA BIANCA IMAGINAIRE – Sala Fumaroli, Bernardo Cavallino, La cantatrice, 1650 ca. olio su tela, cm 75 x 63 © Foto Luciano Romano

Paolo Pejrone focuses his gaze on landscapes and views, starting from the theme of shadow and woods. For his room, the architect asked to open a ‘gap’ in a wall that hides a window. The carved frame and the size of the canvas represents a natural outlet to see one of the Museum’s greatest masterpieces from the room: the Real Bosco or Royal Wood.

CARTA BIANCA IMAGINAIRE – Sala Pejrone, Ph. Francesco Squeglia

The choices of Gianfranco D’Amato, perhaps among the most intimate, are inspired by the emotional sphere: pleasure and love, hatred and violence, and the importance of culture and knowledge. The collector cites these values by combining anicent and contemporary art (Carlo Alfano, Louise Bourgeois, Mimmo Jodice), thus confirming its universality.

Mimmo Jodice Transiti, Opera 14 (particolare), 2008 True Black Fine-Art Giclèe su Photo-Rag 100% cotone
© Courtesy Mimmo Jodice per il Museo e il Real Bosco di Capodimonte

The Monkey and Humankind is the theme of Laura Bossi Régnier’s room, which returns to the “question that philosophers have pondered for centuries: what makes us human? How do we define man in respect to animals? Close, yet at the same time infinitely distant, the monkey offers us the mirror of our animality.” The Capodimonte’s collections offer numerous iconographic opportunities, from different eras and styles, to explore the relationship between man and animal. This includes some 18th century representations of primates, disguised and content amidst their own human activities. Examples include paintings by Agostino Carracci and Paolo de Matteis, Giovanni Stradano’s engraving entitled Caccia alla scimmia, and numerous examples of decorative art.

CARTA BIANCA IMAGINAIRE – Sala Bossi Régnier, Ph. Francesco Squeglia

With the occassion of this exibition, Giulio Paolini creates an ad hoc work that ideally encloses all the works of the Capodimonte’s collection. “I therefore voluntarily abstained from choosing those works, numerous and excellent, which could suggest many unpredictable ‘dialogues’ between them.” That is, I have observed a painful renunciation of the staging of that ‘personal museum’ that I was allowed to create, instead favoring a theoretical point of view: to formulate an absolute, even if it is an unfounded and unsustainable synthesis of the idea of art.

CARTA BIANCA IMAGINAIRE – Sala Paolini, Ph. Lorenza Zampa

Giuliana Bruno’s room reproduces the personal experience of a curator in creating a narrative from the artworks in storage at the museum, inaccessible to the public. She rediscovers, like an archaeologist of the emotional knowledge, works related to Naples, to the ‘baroque’ taste, as well as everyday objects including food and pottery (intact and in fragments of majolica). These works and objects have been selected with particular attention to the materials of construction, the compositions of their surfaces and the state of conservation.

CARTA BIANCA IMAGINAIRE – Sala Bruno, Ph. Francesco Squeglia

Mariella Pandolfi reflects on the dimension of temporality as dissonance, and the indefinite time of an event as defined by Gilles Deleuze. The anthropologist chooses four works – scenes of of struggle or amorous tension, which tell other stories besides that of the linear time of history or myth – stories that belong to an indefinite time of the event that even escapes the event itself. Objects presented inlclude the enormous tapestry of the Battle of Pavia, the Massacre of the Innocents by Matteo Di Giovanni, the Persues and Medusa by Luca Giordano, and the Rinaldo and Armida by Annibale Carracci. At the center of the room is a collection of weapons, armor, swords, knives and arquebuses, creating a disorderly composition evoking dissonance and discontinuity.

CARTA BIANCA IMAGINAIRE – Sala Pandolfi, Ph. Francesco Squeglia

Riccardo Muti chooses only one work for his gallery, Masaccio’s Crucifixion, set up in a dark room with a chair inviting contemplation. For a long time, the small painting, among the marvelous works of the museum, struck Muti to the extent that he had to seek out the reasons for his ‘attraction’ to the tormented history of the painting, with non-expert eyes nurturing a profound passion for all forms of art. Here, Riccardo Muti gives us an impassioned interpretation of the Magdalene: “The figure that is most dismayed is the irruption of the Magdalene. It really seems that in the static nature of the Madonna, St. John, and the collapsed body of Christ, that the Magdalene enters furiously, or even imperiously, into the painting. She seems to belong to a world completely different from the world of love and passion, even in a certain way physical passion, because first of all the colors that Masaccio invested the Magdalene with are in strong contrast with the other two figures, and with Christ himself. The Magdalene has a fiery red mantle and is unusually blond with unfettered hair. She seems to come from the world of passion, towards Christ, towards God, towards man. And she does so with arms completely open as if to embrace the dying Christ.”

CARTA BIANCA IMAGINAIRE – Sala Muti, Ph. Piero Patanè

Finally, Francesco Vezzoli traces a path in line with his recent works on sculpture. Ten couples of busts (from different periods and materials) face each other in a corridor establishing dialogues based on the intersections of their glances, in a game of impossible encounters. A plaster by Canova of Napoleon’s mother opens the room, with an Apollo and Marsyas by Luca Giordano. A self-portrait of Vezzoli closes the arrangement, like Apollo who killed the satyr Marsyas. This sculptural group was inspired by the ancient myth but ironically subverts the philology, in its use of materials, like in a scenic composition.

CARTA BIANCA IMAGINAIRE – Sala Vezzoli, Ph. Francesco Squeglia

The themes of the 10 rooms – their oscillation and determination for the passion of collecting – shapes this “lliberated” experience of the museum, revaling its interpretive potential and evoking the possibility of multiple narratives. Bringing out many points of view, Carta Bianca recognizes and showcases what happens with viewers in the galleries everday in the museum: a personal appropriation of heritage, objects, values, and common stories. Through various perspectives and multiple gazes projected onto the collection, the project took the form of a polyphonic exhibition that questions the theme of museum organization and classification. At the same time it calls into question the exclusive confinement of the work within the territory of art criticism. Opening ‘hierarchies’ and breaking down museum barriers, giving voice to other disciplines and skills, all have ‘imposed’ a reconsideration of the relationships between the works of the collection – international masterpieces presented in unpublished dialogues – and in the future, of the logic of exposition within the 126 galleries at Capodimonte. The Baroque galleries, on occasion of Carta Bianca, have been reimagined and reinstalled. Carta Bianca reports on the museum and its meaning today, as well as its history, with a particular focus on its evolution in new directions. In this sense, as Sylvain Bellenger and Andrea Villiani write, the project is in a line of continuity with other 20th century reflections by curators, artis, and writers. André Malraux’s Museum Without Walls, Marcel Duchamp’s Miniature Museum with his Boîte-en-valise, the Musée d’Art Modern, Département des Aigles of Marcel Broodthare,s the Museum Garden of Daniel Spoerri with his collection of eternal becoming, the Museum of Obsessions by Harald Szeeman, of the Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk, are all examples. Imaginary museums, museums in suitcases, sentimental museums, obsession museums, and finally, subjective museums.

JIM HODGES turning pages in the book of love

JIM HODGES turning pages in the book of love

Upon entering the exhibition, the viewer encounters a subtle atmosphere of light and shadows. A room within a room hosts a cabinet made of wood and its multiple skins of lacquer, gold, and silk, housing an object made of light and glass. In the second room a sculpture of two interlaced arms made in white Michelangelo marble lay upon a rock made of black Colonnata marble as they hold a rose made of gold. Behind the marble sculpture is a large scale diptych, that is part of one of Jim Hodges’ new series of paintings created with glitter and other mediums, evokes the artist’s interest in the process of creating through gesture and immediacy. In the 18th century antique library reading room of Palazzo Belgioioso, the viewer encounters a precious object held by two intertwined hands – solemn and charmed, immersed in a red velvet tent. In the garden of the palazzo, used for an exhibition for the first time, the artist has positioned a transformed root of a giant redwood into a deconstructed gilded bronze sculpture.

Since the late 1980’s Jim Hodges has employed a broad range of everyday and precious materials to create works that transform the quotidian object into a site where the personal, political, and universal merge through simple gesture and poetic command. Taking up varied modes of process and production, Hodges’ practice resists the definitional aims of discourse, instead offering multilayered works that evoke resonant themes such as identity and mortality. Glitter, bronze, fabric, gold, marble, glass and other materials have become part of the construction of a narrative on fragility, ephemerality, love and loss.


Jim Hodges was born in Spokane, Washington, USA in 1957. He lives and works in New York. Recent solo exhibitions include: tracing the contours of our days, Baldwin Gallery, Aspen, CO (2017); I dreamed a world and called it Love, Gladstone Gallery, New York, NY (2016); With Liberty and Justice for All, The Moody Rooftop, The Contemporary Austin, Austin, Texas, USA (2016); With Liberty and Justice For All (A Work in Progress), Aspen Art Museum, Colorado, USA (2015/2014); Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, USA (2014) and at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, USA (2014- 2015). Jim Hodges’s work is included in prestigious public collections such as: The Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, Texas, USA; The Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA; The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C., USA; Musée National, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, California, USA; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA; The Whitney Museum, New York, USA.

Massimo De Carlo, Milan
Piazza Belgioioso, 2 – 20121 Milan, Italy
From 29th of November 2017 until February 3rd 2018
Open Tuesday to Saturday, 11:00am – 7:00pm

© Images: Jim Hodges “turning pages in the book of love” Installation views Massimo De Carlo, Milan/Belgioioso, 2017 Ph.  Roberto Marossi / Courtesy Massimo De Carlo, Milan/London/Hong Kong




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