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Giorgio Verzotti on “Vita nuova. nouveaux enjeux de l’artwork en Italie 1960–1975”

Giorgio Verzotti on “Vita nuova. nouveaux enjeux de l’artwork en Italie 1960–1975”

Giorgio Verzotti on “Vita nuova. nouveaux enjeux de l’art en Italie 1960–1975”

In her introductory catalogue essay for “Vita nuova. nouveaux enjeux de l’artwork en Italie 1960–1975” (New Life: New Points for Artwork in Italy 1960–1975), curator Valérie Da Costa means that the present was “une histoire revisité,” a reconsidered historical past. What was being reconsidered was the narrative proposed by the exhibition’s single precedent in France, the legendary “Identité Italienne. L’artwork en Italie depuis 1959” (Italian Id: Artwork in Italy Since 1959), an exhibition organized by Germano Celant on the Centre Pompidou, Paris, in 1981. In that present, Celant was relatively uncharitable to artists working outdoors Arte Povera, presenting that vital motion because the apex of a progressive Hegelian manifestation of the nationwide spirit, to which the main forerunners, corresponding to Alberto Burri, Lucio Fontana, and Emilio Vedova, had been however a prelude. In contrast, “Vita nuova” took into consideration revised interpretations of postwar Italian artwork by a brand new era of critics and curators who lately have given larger consideration to unjustly marginalized artists, notably ladies. Vincenzo Agnetti, Tomaso Binga, Marisa Busanel, Paolo Icaro, Maria Lai, Lucia Marcucci, Fabio Mauri, and Carol Rama are amongst those that didn’t obtain the institutional consideration they deserved till the early Nineties and had been on view right here.

Whereas the Good exhibition, broadly talking, faithfully conveyed the picture of Italian artwork as Italians view it right now, it additionally reaffirmed sure clichés about Italian tradition that ought to have been prevented. The construction of the exhibition was thematic, and the themes on which it was constructed are extensively acquainted: the media picture, our relationship with nature, the physique, and, implicitly, the political upheaval of 1968. It’s right here that the cliché emerges: Italians are corporeality, sexuality, motion; in Italy, pure thought isn’t contemplated, and even the chosen works by Agnetti, Giorgio Griffa, and Giulio Paolini are ones that evoke the physique, obscuring these artists’ analytical and metalinguistic issues. {The catalogue} texts concentrate on the contribution of ladies artists and on the significance of course of to Arte Povera, taking little else into consideration. Furthermore, in her hasty introductory textual content, Da Costa follows Celant in excluding kinetic artwork and analytic portray, arguing that these traits originated within the Nineteen Fifties. However Grazia Varisco’s kinetic works date from round 1960; Gianni Colombo’s masterpiece, Spazio Elastico (Elastic Area), was created in 1967; and the so-called Pittura Analitica (Analytical Portray) motion started in 1970—and all ought to have been included.

A extra felicitous curatorial alternative was the inclusion of projected excerpts from movies emblematic of the period: Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita (1960), Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Accattone (1961), and Michelangelo Antonioni’s Purple Desert (1964). This enabled an astute juxtaposition of sequences from Pasolini’s Comizi d’Amore (Love Conferences, 1964) with Lisetta Carmi’s well-known photographs of the trans neighborhood from 1965 to 1970. I must also point out an efficient choice of Italian Pop artwork and an impactful massive room containing Mario Merz’s igloo with inexperienced caulking and a useless department (Acqua scivola [Water Slips Down], 1969) alongside three “synthetic nature” items by Piero Gilardi and Mario Ceroli’s elegant picket Fiori (Flowers), 1965. General, the present efficiently juxtaposed completely different works with formal similarities: the coloured feathers in each Claudio Parmiggiani’s massive Cercle de plumes, Cercle de feu (Circle of Feathers, Ring of Hearth), 1969, and Lai’s Cornice (Body), 1968, atypical works within the manufacturing of those two artists. One other shock was the affinity between Irma Clean’s purple graphic tangles on paper, Eigenschriften, spazio a-13, (Signatures, Area A-13), 1970, and Marisa Merz’s little footwear fabricated from copper wire, Senza titolo (scarpette) (Untitled [Shoes]), 1975. The exhibition culminated with a pair of works by Mauri: the video of his efficiency Che cosa è il fascismo (What Is Fascism), 1971, and a transferring reconstruction of Intelletuale, 1975, the place the artist projected Pasolini’s 1964 movie The Gospel In response to St. Matthew onto the physique of Pasolini himself, seated on the steps of a Bologna museum. A couple of months later, the author was assassinated on the seaside at Ostia. “Vita nuova” ended right here, symbolically.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.

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