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at Moretti Fine Art, 24 East 80th Street, 10075 NY
5th May 2015 - 28th May 2015
Press Release (PDF)
Scheduled to coincide with Frieze New York and the broader program of art events in the city during May, ROBILANT+VOENA will present a survey of the Italian post-war Neo-Renaissance focusing on two key artists – Agostino Bonalumi and Paolo Scheggi. In 1966 these artists, alongside Enrico Castellani, were selected by Alfredo Bonino to represent the thriving Milanese art scene in his seminal exhibition Italy – New Tendencies (Galeria Bonino, NYC, Oct 11-Nov 4, 1966). Nearly fifty years later ROBILANT+VOENA will re-present their work to the New York public, in an exhibition curated by Francesca Pola, investigating their crucial role in the development of the Italian cultural landscape of the 1960s, alongside singular works by Lucio Fontana and Alberto Burri. The work of these artists matched radical experimentation with a classical background, and balanced breakthrough innovation with a distinct awareness of historical continuity. These developments represented a Neo-Renaissance where the most advanced achievements in creating a new relationship between matter, space and perception gave birth to a new and original “classic” vision.

Alberto Burri and Lucio Fontana, with their crucial pioneering concepts of matter and space can be considered the double root of Italian Postwar art as a whole, and also of this specifically classical perspective. Agostino Bonalumi and Paolo Scheggi developed the relationship between shape and matter in strongly innovative ways: in their plastic use of monochrome to create three-dimensional shaped and environmental works, as well as the tactile physicality of their pieces. All these artists exhibited at the 1966 Venice Biennale – a turning point for this line of research, which cemented their international profiles. Lucio Fontana won a prize for his oval Ambiente spaziale bianco (White Spatial Environment) with his characteristic “tagli” (slashes), while Alberto Burri presented his monumental burnt Plastiche (Plastics). Enrico Castellani created some of his largest and most complex pieces ever in a solo presentation, whilst Agostino Bonalumi and Paolo Scheggi conceived a joint room presenting their latest constructed colored canvases, challenging issues of structure and perception, which earlier that year had been defined as “pittura oggetto” (object painting) in a seminal show presented by Gillo Dorfles (featuring the three of them with Fontana).

As a result of his visit to the 1966 Venice Biennale, Alan Solomon (Director of the Jewish Museum in New York) recommended the work of Bonalumi and Scheggi to Alfredo Bonino, who then organized the Italy-New Tendencies show in New York later that autumn, and gave Bonalumi a solo show in 1967. Solomon himself curated the 1968 Jewish Museum exhibition Young Italians, which included Bonalumi and Castellani. In the meantime, also in 1966, a double exhibition of Alberto Burri and Lucio Fontana was promoted by the Museum of Modern Art, and travelled in the U.S. for two years.

The ROBILANT+VOENA exhibition will focus on this crucial period around the 1966 Venice Biennale and first New York exhibitions with over fifteen significant works, including: a rare 140cm Intersuperficie curva dal rosso from 1965 by Scheggi, and an incredible 240cm Red ciré work by Bonalumi from 1967 (Bonalumi having discovered the ciré material in the US during his trip for his solo show there that year).

The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue with an introduction by Francesca Pola
Fieramilanocity, Viale Teodorico, 20149 Milan
10th Apr 2015 - 12th Apr 2015
Robilant+Voena at MIART FAIR 2015 - MILANO 10-12 April
Maastricht Exhibition and Congress Centre (MECC)
13th Mar 2015 - 22nd Mar 2015
Stand 384
St Moritz
13th Feb 2015 - 8th Mar 2015
St Moritz Art Masters: 'Italian Journey. Art from the 1960s'
Press Release (PDF)
Starting February 13th, ST. MORITZ ART MASTERS will present in cooperation with gallery ROBILANT & VOENA the group exhibition 'ITALIAN JOURNEY. ART FROM THE 1960s' at the St. Moritz Dorfkirche – Protestant Church. Showcasing some 20 works by the who’s who of 1960s Italian art, the exhibition introduces one of the most prolific and lively art eras of 20th century Italy.The exhibition is conceived as an ideal “journey” across Italian Art of the 1960s, featuring protagonists of visual creativity that interpret the different and intertwined identities of main cultural centres of this crucial decade: Milan, Rome and Turin. It aims at presenting the multifaceted identity of this “golden age” of Italy, which expresses itself not only in visual art, but – in connection and parallel to it – in many other fields: from industry to architecture, from design to fashion, from literature to theatre and cinema, from photography to music.

Artists who are active in Milan around the core presence of Lucio Fontana, such as Piero Manzoni, Enrico Castellani, Agostino Bonalumi, Dadamaino, Gianni Colombo and Paolo Scheggi, are characterized by the investigation of a new idea of space, through the redefinition of painting: creating works between the zeroing of the surface and the possibilities of unexpected colour–shape relationships.

In Rome, parallel to the dialectics between Alberto Burri’s research in matters and Piero Dorazio’s investigations of surfaces, the artistic context is also more directly linked to mass media communication and cinema. In a more iconic approach, icons of visual and mass culture, both from of the new age of consumerism and from the historical roots of Italian identity (from Michelangelo to Futurism), are interpreted, as in the works by Mario Schifano, Mimmo Rotella, Franco Angeli, Tano Festa, and Pino Pascali.

In Turin, the crucial investigations by Giuseppe Pinot Gallizio leads to the experimentation of raw materials and unorthodox techniques: together with a persistent interdisciplinary focus, this gives birth to the complex context of Arte Povera, characterized by unconventional and conceptual practices, performance, installation, with artists such as Alighiero Boetti, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Giuseppe Penone, Giovanni Anselmo, Mario Merz, parallel to the frameless painting by Giorgio Griffa.The ramified and multiple perspective in Italian identity belongs to the history and culture of the country, from as early as the Middle Ages, through the Renaissance and the Baroque and into the Modern. Crucial centres of experimentation in the Italian 1960s are presented in the exhibition, featuring their different and specific cultural “textures”.

The event is the winter prelude to the 8th edition of the ST. MORITZ ART MASTERS festival, which will take place this summer from August 21 to 30, 2015 with a regional focus on Italy.
6th Feb 2015 - 24th Mar 2015
Mimmo Rotella
Press Release (PDF)
ROBILANT+VOENA are pleased to present an exhibition of Italian artist MIMMO ROTELLA, opening 5 February in their London gallery. This will be the first UK exhibition of the artist’s work on a retrospective scale. Investigating over fifty years of the artist’s long career, the exhibition, curated by Antonella Soldaini, Director of the Mimmo Rotella Institute, will focus on Rotella’s fascination and experimentation with materials and innovative techniques, and bring to light the multiple ways Rotella manipulated material to achieve a radical conceptual framework which for him extended from the studio into society.

Rotella came of age in Rome during the post-war period and established his place within a cultural movement recognised internationally due to the presence in the city of artists such as Alberto Burri, Ettore Colla, Carla Accardi and Cy Twombly. He invented the décollage technique in 1953/4, and remained one of the key artists working within this practice for the rest of his life. He appropriated cinema and advertising posters from city walls and mined them for meaning by tearing, scarring and excavating their layers, initially leaving an abstract patterning before moving to the more figurative use of subject matter. The artist was decisively in line with his time: his revolutionary gesture of tearing carried out a need for a more direct contact with life and the reality by which he was surrounded. Furthermore, his experimentation with material, technique and concept fulfilled an avant-garde and political undertone: ‘Ripping posters off walls is the only revenge, the only protest against a society that has lost its taste for change and astounding transformations. I glue the posters, then tear them: new, unpredictable forms are created. I’ve abandoned the easel to make this process...’ (M. Rotella, catalogue of 1957 exhibition at Galleria d’Arte Selecta.) As well as using the colourful and vibrant surface of posters in the décollage works, Rotella also utilised the reverse in the retro d’affiches, usually leaving them untouched, hence the physical marks of the walls – plaster, dust, glue and the like were left in evidence, creating a crater-like surface eluding easy definition of material. The exhibition will include seminal early works from the mid-50s to the early 1960s, exemplifying this vital period.

In the 1960s Rotella began working with other innovative techniques such as his photographic reportages and artypos. Both begin with photo-mechanical processes: in the reportages the image is projected on a canvas treated with photographic emulsion in order to fix it; while the artypos are superimposed printing proofs. These two techniques are similar in their results to the experiments in merging photography with painting which both Rauschenberg and Warhol were involved with during that period. While the photographic reportages are characterized by mostly black and white pictures and in some cases by political subjects, the artypos are impregnated with vivid colour, with several layers of flat superimposed advertising images producing an effect that is conceptually linked to the décollages yet visually very different.

Rotella’s dynamic experimentation with material and process continued throughout the 1980s and 90s with his blanks series - collages on canvas or zinc with monochrome pieces of paper covering the greater proportion of the surface. With the blanks Rotella seems to have wished to return to the essential starting point of the artistic process: they are characterised by and loaded with an inscrutable emotive intensity. Parallel to the blanks, the artist also developed his sovrapitture, executed variously on canvas or zinc sheets, by applying acrylic paint on to the décollages. In these works the zinc assumes a significant role beyond that of merely a supporting structure, and becomes instead an integral feature of the work itself. Lastly, additional examples of his late décollage works from the early 2000s will reveal Rotella’s consistent adherence to the process which remained his most defining.

A lavishly illustrated catalogue (in English, with Italian translation) of over two hundred pages will be published on the occasion of the exhibition, with text by Antonella Soldaini, and a chronology mapping Rotella’s entire career.

Mimmo Rotella (Catanzaro, 1918 - Milan, 2006)

Over the course of his career Rotella participated in a great many historical exhibitions including: The Art of Assemblage (New York, The Museum of Modern Art, 1961), New Realists (New York, Sidney Janis Gallery, 1962), XXXII Biennale di Venezia (1964), The Italian Metamorphosis (New York, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1995), XLIX Biennale di Venezia (2001), Arti & Architettura 1900/2000 (Genoa, Palazzo Ducale, 2004), Le Nouveau Réalisme (Paris, Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, 2007), Europop (Zürich, Kunsthaus Zürich, 2008), Leaps into the Void: Documents of Nouveau Realist Performance (Houston, The Menil Collection, 2010), Poetry of the Metropolis. The Affichistes (Basel, Museum Tinguely, 2014).

Numerous solo exhibitions have been held internationally, including at: Institute of Contemporary Arts (London, 1957), Galerie J (Paris, 1962), Rotonda della Besana (Milan, 1975), Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain (Nice, 1999), Musée Tinguely (Basel, 2005), Palais des Nations (Genève, 2005), Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais (Paris, 2007), Kunsthaus Zürich (Zürich, 2008), Palazzo Grassi (Venice, 2008), Palazzo Reale, (Milan, 2014). His work is held in museums worldwide, including: De Menil Collection, Houston; Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, Rome; Galleria di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Turin; Musée National d’Art Moderne-Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Wien; National Gallery, Washington; Staatgalerie, Stuttgart; Tate Gallery, London.

Mimmo Rotella Institute

The Institute was set up in 2012 by Inna and Aghnessa Rotella with the aim of promoting understanding of the figure and art of Mimmo Rotella and preserving his work at the national and international level. Directed by Antonella Soldaini, the Mimmo Rotella Institute, in conjunction with the Fondazione Mimmo Rotella, chaired by Dr Rocco Guglielmo, have commissioned Germano Celant, to begin compilation of the Mimmo Rotella Catalogue Raisonné which will consist of several volumes.
St Moritz
22nd Dec 2014 - 15th Jan 2015
Female Beauty Through the Ages
Press Release (PDF)
From Pericles’ ancient Greece, when beauty first began to be synonymous with harmony and mathematical proportion, to the present day when the quest for physical perfection has become almost an obsession, art has never ceased to investigate the aesthetic appeal of Woman. The artist has long been the eye of the beholder, capturing, depicting and enhancing Female Beauty for posterity. This exhibition is a journey through the beauty of Woman, as represented by some of the most famous artists of all time, and shows that Beauty is more universal than we might believe: the beauty from the past could easily be admired today.

The exhibition begins in the Roman era with a Roman statue of Lucilla, reflecting the classical heritage of aesthetics which has pervaded Western perception of Beauty for centuries. It moves through the Middle Ages when a woman was tame and demure, delicate but resplendent, a desired but unattainable lady between the spirit and the Earth; moving through the Renaissance, towards the sacred Seventeenth century of Sassoferrato’s Madonna and the more profane Three Graces of Giovanni Martinelli’s. It reaches the Belle Epoque with Giovanni Boldini, and the more melancholic Secessionist Gustav Klimt, both masters in portraying women who are supple and uninhibited by nature, ladies who show no reluctance for a more flirtatious model of beauty. Directly holding the viewer’s gaze, they affirm their self-determination as mature and emancipated individuals, fully aware of their femininity.

The journey draws closer to the present day with the seminal icon of Hollywood beauty – Marilyn. Portrayed by Andy Warhol, who revolutionized the very concept of beauty by placing all women both famous and unknown on the same level – the Reversal series Marilyn exhibited questions the classical notion of Beauty, digging for a deeper understanding. The contemporary interrogation of the subject is continued by Jeff Koons, who reinterprets feminine vanity, ironically stylizing the figure of another icon – the cartoon star Popeye’s girlfriend Olive Oyl on a mirrored surface, exploring the links between our contemporary fascination with Beauty and consumerist popular culture, banality and childhood. Lastly, the Italian artist Francesco Vezzoli uses yet another American pop icon - Dolly Parton - to give us his concept of beauty after Palma il Vecchio and Ambrosius Bosschaert – fusing the banal with the historical, thus achieving an almost perfect approximation of the state of Female Beauty NOW.

Through its breadth of references the exhibition places the delicacy, candour, vulnerability, but also the power of feminine charm as the focus of a considered reflection on the nature of aesthetics through the ages, giving each of us an opportunity to draw our own conclusions.