Mazzoleni 1986–2016

27 Feb — 5 May 2017 at Mazzoleni Art Gallery in London, United Kingdom

6 APRIL 2017
Mazzoleni 1986–2016, Exhbition view. Courtesy of Mazzoleni
Mazzoleni 1986–2016, Exhbition view. Courtesy of Mazzoleni

Mazzoleni is pleased to present Mazzoleni 1986-2016: 30 years of art 30 Italian artists. Transferring from the gallery’s Turin space, the exhibition features 30 different works from the Mazzoleni collection by 30 major Italian artists. The exhibition traces a path through the history of 20th century Italian art, from the early 20th century through Post-War movements and the research of the following decades, and reflects the activity of the gallery in promoting these artists on the international scene.

Almost all the works on display are from the Mazzoleni collection, which was started in the 1960s by Giovanni and Anna Pia Mazzoleni. The establishment of the gallery in 1986 was a natural evolution of their commitment to Modern and Contemporary Italian art, first as private collectors and then as gallerists.

Works by some of the most important Italian artists from the historic avant-garde movements, including Giacomo Balla (1871-1958), Gino Severini (1883-1966) and Giorgio de Chirico (1888-1978) are joined by works from the most significant artists of the Post-War period: various generations of artists that the legacy of Modern Italian art helped to create. They include, for example, Lucio Fontana (1899-1968), Alberto Burri (1915-1995), Enrico Baj (1924-2003), Piero Manzoni (1933-1963), Michelangelo Pistoletto (b.1933), Giulio Paolini (b.1940) and Salvo (1947-2015). The exhibition takes as its starting point the arrival of Futurism, a key Italian contribution to the development of early 20th century art: for example, the Futurist research into space, time and contemporary new materials was to be fundamental, thanks to the “Spatialist” mediation of Lucio Fontana, for artists such as Roberto Crippa (1921-1972), Gianni Colombo (1937-1993), Getulio Alviani (b. 1939) and Gianni Piacentino (b. 1945).

Lucio Fontana reinvented art and opened the canvas to new dimensions, as exemplified by the selected cut canvas, Concetto spaziale. Attese (1964), included in the exhibition, and inspired the generation of artists born in Italy in the 1930s, including among others Enrico Castellani (b. 1930), Piero Manzoni and Agostino Bonalumi (1935-2013), all of whom endeavored to reinterpret the possibilities of the surface even further and in turn reformulated the concepts of time, space and volume.

At the same time, Alberto Burri shifted the focus of art practice towards new radical experiments by using plastic, burlap and combusted materials as primary media. The use of non-painterly materials was to become a common practice among artists of successive generations. The Mazzoleni collection features numerous masterpieces by Burri, including Rosso (1955), a work published in the renowned periodical Harper’s Bazaar in the September of that year, and Bianco CN 4 from 1966, which featured on the cover of the major monograph on the artist written by Maurizio Calvesi (1971).

In parallel with Burri’s research, Italy saw the explosion of a rich tradition of abstract, informal and gestural painting with artists such as Giuseppe Capogrossi (1900-1972), Afro (1912-1976), Giulio Turcato (1912-1995), Emilio Vedova (1919-2006) and Piero Dorazio (1927-2005) who during their lifetimes were to be the protagonists of exhibitions in major international settings.

A fully illustrated book accompanies the exhibition with statements from exhibiting artists and historical documents from the gallery’s archives and the artists’ foundations. The text provides fundamental insights into the choices that moulded the approach of a family devoted to art and includes an extended interview between curator Gaspare Luigi Marcone and members of the Mazzoleni family. The book is published in Italian and English by Carlo Cambi Editore.

Featured artists: Giacomo Balla (1871-1958); Felice Casorati (1883-1963); Gino Severini (1883-1966); Giorgio de Chirico (1888-1978); Alberto Savinio (1891-1952); Massimo Campigli (1895-1971); Lucio Fontana (1899-1968); Giuseppe Capogrossi (1900-1972); Fausto Melotti (1901-1986); Afro (1912-1976); Giulio Turcato (1912-1995); Alberto Burri (1915-1995); Emilio Vedova (1919-2006); Roberto Crippa (1921- 1972); Enrico Baj (1924-2003); Arnaldo Pomodoro (1926); Piero Dorazio (1927-2005); Giuseppe Uncini (1929-2008); Enrico Castellani (1930); Piero Manzoni (1933-1963); Michelangelo Pistoletto (1933); Mario Schifano (1934-1998); Agostino Bonalumi (1935-2013); Gianni Colombo (1937-1993); Getulio Alviani (1939); Gianfranco Zappettini (1939); Giulio Paolini (1940); Gianni Piacentino (1945); Salvo (1947-2015); Nunzio (1954).