One of the most eagerly-awaited events of the Florence contemporary art season.
The YTALIA exhibition, Energia Pensiero Bellezza (Energy Thought Beauty) is one of the most eagerly-awaited events of the Florence contemporary art season. Beginning in June, this collective exhibition will be held in a number of the city’s key locations, from Forte di Belvedere, the main venue, to Palazzo Vecchio, and including The Boboli Gardens, Palazzo Pitti, the Novecento Museum, the Mario Marini Museum, the Basilica of Santa Croce and the Uffizi. Conceived and curated by Sergio Risaliti, the integrated exhibition itinerary aspires to create a dialogue between symbols of the Renaissance city and the works of Twentieth Century artists, including Giovanni Anselmo, Marco Bagnoli, Domenico Bianchi, Alighiero Boetti, Gino De Dominicis, Luciano Fabro, Jannis Kounellis, Mario Merz, Nunzio, Mimmo Paladino, Giulio Paolini and Remo Salvadori. Despite their works presenting differing poetics and languages, the YTALIA artists share the recurring themes of daily and metaphysical reality, natural elements and new mythologies.
Since the Sixties, the work of Giovanni Anselmo (Borgofranco d’Ivrea, 1934) has centred on material and the forces that shape it. Using organic and non-organic elements, and materials of differing natures and provenance, he mainly employs the language of sculpture. The purpose of his work is emphasize the intrinsic vitality and energy of the elements by materializing the static and dynamic forces that inhabit them.
The work of Marco Bagnoli (Empoli, 1949) focuses on the relationship between art, science and the spiritual, and consists of complex installations involving the environment or symbolic actions, always with a combination of multiple mediums, from drawing to painting, printing and sculpture. References to the energetic tension of elements and to magical evocations constitute the core of work that is linguistically varied but always directed at exploring the relationship between reason and imagination, sensitivity and analysis.
During his career, Domenico Bianchi (Anagni, 1955) has developed a profound and coherent reflection on painting, often through unconventional techniques. His research has led him to analyze the intrinsic qualities of the materials he employs, from simple, unrefined ones such as wax or wood, to precious ones such as palladium, platinum and silver, which recur frequently in his works. His works are reduced to a few essential elements, constructed according to geometric rhythms and modules, to recreate an abstraction of proportions and harmonies.
After an initial affiliation with the Arte Povera movement, with which he shared the interest in industrial and other unusual materials, Alighiero Boetti (Turin, 1940 – Rome, 1994) developed his own strongly conceptual lexicon, which gave rise to an eclectic body of work centred on systems of classification and codes, on language and the manipulation of his identity, particularly on concepts such as splitting the body and its duality
Gino De Dominicis developed a very singular style during his career, making use of various techniques to produce work that was often eccentric and controversial, but always directed at exploring recurring themes such as the mystery of the creation, the birth of the universe, the perception of time, and life and death. Immortality in particular was explored intensely by the artist, often through the figures of Urvasi and Gilgamesh, emblems of Indian and Mesopotamian culture respectively, examples of male and female united in a single principle, which for the artist become an archetypical image linked with eternity
The art of Luciano Fabro (Turin 1936- Milan 2007), deals mainly with the analysis of space, understood as a dimension of exchange between the work and the observer, the place where external reality and the interior self of the individual relate. From his earliest works, the artist experimented with the use of new iconography and materials designed to involve the viewer in unexpected perceptions and sensorial adventures. His work was always accompanied by deep theoretical reflection, often characterized by allusive and ironic elements.
Proponent of an art that explores the relationship between art and reality, nature and culture, during his career, the recently deceased artist Jannis Kounellis (Piraeus, 1936 – Rome, 1917), created unsettling, monumental installations designed to create a new reality with mundane, domestic objects and materials re-employed with a symbolic value in the artistic context. References to antiquity abound on his works, as does recourse to metaphorical elements and materials, such as stuffed animals, fire – linked to the idea of regeneration and transformation - or wood, coal, sacking, stone and cotton.
From the outset, Mario Merz (Milan, 1925 -Milan, 2003) worked with archetypical elements and symbolic objects – igloos, the Fibonacci progression, lances, and spirals – which gave shape to a very personal expressive and poetic universe. The igloo is the most well-known element adopted by the artist in his works – a self-supporting structure built with disparate materials such as iron, sacking, glass and clay, it is a primitive shelter that evokes archetypical symbols such as home, the world, and the nomadic life.
Nunzio (Cagnano Amiterno 1954) has centred his artistic quest on the expressive and formal possibilities of material and its relationship with space and light. His materials of choice are chalk, lead and wood, and Nunzio has developed not only the sculptural but also the pictorial qualities of the latter through a process of burning and blackening to which he subjects the wood. Nunzio’s sculptures invade the space, absorb the light and reflect the artist’s interest in the physical and visual relationship between shapes and the surrounding environment.
Among the leading exponents of Transavantgarde, over the years artist Mimmo Paladino (Paduli, 1948) has created works invested with archaic imagery, accentuated by the use of Greco-Roman, Etruscan and Paleochristian symbols, and ancient techniques such as encaustic and mosaic. Taking inspiration from primitive and tribal art, since the early Eighties, the artist has created enigmatic sculptures, totemic figures in bronze, wood or limestone, and numerous monumental installations.
Although united by friendship and collaboration with artists of the Arte Povera movement, over the years Giulio Paolini (Genoa, 1940), has followed his own path. Extraneous to the social and political upheavals of the times, from the outset the focus of the artist’s work was on themes connected with vision, with the role of the artist and the observer, with time and with the space of the work and its representation, often resorting to citation or linguistic reductionism.
Remo Salvadori (Cerreto Guidi, 1947), An exponent of the next generation following the Arte Povera and Conceptual Art movements, his work explores the direct relationship with the observer, in an empathetic tension between work, artist and viewer, which is mainly explained through the language of sculpture and site-specific installations.