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Gustavo Velez, Forte dei Marmi

text Francesca Lombardi

July 14, 2023

The most beautiful summer exhibitions in Versilia

From Forte dei Marmi to Pietrasanta, all the art appointments to mark in your diary

Long sunny beaches, an aperitif at sunset, dinner in a seaside restaurant… just some of the obligatory rituals in Versilia. Among them, art has become one of the most popular ones: a vocation that here has ancient origins, a passion that has been in the people’s DNA since the time of Michelangelo, developed first in Pietrasanta, the Little Athens of Tuscany, which can be observed today throughout the coast.

Here is a list of the must-see exhibitions this summer.


Until 17 September. Piazza del Duomo, Piazza Carducci, Church and rooms of the Cloister of Sant’Agostino  Pietrasanta

Bernard Bezzina has been active in Pietrasanta since 2002. The exhibition arranged for this summer in his adopted city will cover more than twenty years of his career to analyse his continuous research aimed at exploring the possibilities and aspects of matter. The artist, born in France in 1956, has been able to create harmony between his works and Piazza del Duomo, the Church of Sant’Agostino and its magnificent Cloister. The strategic position of this location and its proximity to the marbles of Carrara have given him the possibility to work directly with others who have elected this place as an artistic centre of production. Besides marble, the other materials used in this exhibition - as well as in Bezzina’s work - are bronze, wood and paper.  Division is a concept dear to the artist which can be understood as the de-structuring, fragmentation and reconfiguration of matter; it enables the artist to destroy and then recreate matter, leaving it at the mercy of external forces which can be unexpectedly chaotic or in order. Fragility, but also Fragmentation and Strength are the most recurring themes in his work. Empty spaces and detailed areas, plays of light and profound shadows are at the centre of the exhibition and arise from the encounter between the matter shaped by the artist and this place rich in history and spirituality.

Bernard Bezzina, Fragilità a Pietrasanta (ph. Emma Leonardi)


Until 17 September. Villa Bertelli - Forte dei Marmi

In Forte dei Marmi, an important exhibition in the venue of Villa Bertelli is held to celebrate one of the masters of Italian art: Mimmo Rotella. This Italian artist renowned all over the world and friend of Pollock, Rauschenberg and Twombly, was a revolutionary genius and a forerunner of modern artistic trends. Today his art is being rediscovered and made known all around the world starting with this extraordinary exhibition which features 45 historical works and indisputable masterpieces. The exhibition celebrates the multifaceted genius of Mimmo Rotella exploring the techniques and gestures which characterise his work, focusing in particular on the most famous techniques used by Rotella during his artistic production and his artistic research. The exhibition starts with historical décollage and retro d’affiche to analyse the practice of Rotella to tear posters off the walls in the streets, work on them and then apply them to supports such as canvases and cardboards, creating works of art that he would present as paintings. In particular, the retro d’affiche are works made from pieces of posters torn from the streets, ‘manipulated and elaborated’. In this case though, he used the back of the posters, often marked by the presence of traces of glue, rust and other imperfections capable of evoking the greatness of matter as celebrated by Rotella.

Mimmo Rotella a Forte dei Marmi


Until 18 Septembe - Forte dei Marmi

The most picturesque areas of Forte dei Marmi become home to eight majestic sculptures by Gustavo Velez made of marble, steel and bronze. The exhibition starts from the promenade where there is Cono Geometrico and then Forato installed in Piazza Kurz, two imposing sculptures made of white Carrara marble, both created in 2022. Then, in the park of Via Spinetti, visitors can admire Enlance Geometrico, another sculpture where Velez chose to use the precious marble of Carrara. In the park in front of the Hotel Datcha, there is Ritmica VII, a monumental bronze sculpture from 2019. In addition to stone materials, the artist has always been fascinated with the beauty and plasticity of metals in his art which reaches its expression with his use of cast bronze. In Piazza Garibaldi, the main square of Forte dei Marmi, Velez exhibits Expansion Geometrica II, a steel sculpture from 2021 and Dual, another Carrara marble sculpture from 2022. Finally, Ritmica II, a monumental bronze from 2019 has been installed in Via Carducci in the town centre, close to the Oblong gallery of Forte dei Marmi, also in via Carducci. The Oblong gallery is the venue of another great exhibition of Velez’s rare works, an essential exhibition to completely understand the artist’s vision and his production. Velez’s idea of sculpture, refined, geometric, essential and clean, both in its lines and in the choice of plastic materials which he always selects with great care, has enabled him to become a very appreciated and loved artist all around the world.



Forte dei Marmi

For years, the Tornabuoni Arte gallery has been carefully selecting 20th-century Italian artists, setting up exhibitions in all its venues by artists such as Fontana, Boetti, Pomodoro, Castellani, Burri… With the exhibition organised this summer in the very central location of Forte dei Marmi, the gallery aims to present a sort of synthesis of all the activities carried out throughout the years, offering a significant representation of these artists and their works carried out to date.

The exhibition features Combustione by Burri from 1960, an essential work to understand the artist and the development of his research, Sfera by Pomodoro from 1967, a piece by Capogrossi from 1950 and a rare work by Boetti from 1968 when he was abandoning his poverty phase and entering the conceptual phase.

There are also many works from the early years of the twentieth century, including Pease by Rosai from 1935 and a dancer by Severini from his latest production.

We, of course, also pay attention to international trends and therefore one of the main walls of this exhibition is dedicated to a project by Christo from 1975, created in California, which represents one of the most significant works of the artist’s entire production. This vast analysis finishes with a leap back in time to the origin of the visual culture set at the turn of the nineteenth century with a female figure by Boldini from 1888.

Tornabuoni Arte a Forte dei Marmi

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