Galleria Fumagalli is pleased to present the exhibition by Maurizio Nannucci “What to see what not to see”, in its space at Via Bonaventura Cavalieri 6, Milan, opened in May 2016. The collaboration between the Gallery and Maurizio Nannucci began in 2004 in Bergamo with his participation in the exhibition “AA.VV. 30”, followed in 2005 by the solo show “Neon Words”. “What to see what not to see” is the artist’s first solo exhibition in Italy after the large retrospective at Maxxi in Rome in 2015.

The exhibition consists of a sequence of five new works by Maurizio Nannucci, made using large neon tubes of different colours that, through images, words and meanings, interact with the gallery spaces. In particular, the project focuses on the reiteration of affirmative and negative phrases that contain some changes concerning motifs and meaning. Through this contrast between two opposing poles, the artist highlights how the pivotal feature of his own achievements is to be sought not in the effectiveness of an individual, self-contained act, as a form of peremptory affirmation, but rather in the continuous suspension of the semiological and semantic components of reality in a precarious but productive area between affirmation and negation, between the impossibility of the response and the performativity of the demand, in a continuous expansion of its latent possibilities. What to see what not to see, what to say… what to hear… what to feel… what to love: the works appear as a series of cogent questions that reflect on the condition of man in society in a twofold relationship, with others and with oneself. The urgency that arises every day is to make a choice: what to see, what to say, what to think, what to perceive, what to love… how to orient our decisions. The meaning is always elusive, unresolved, but Nannucci’s objective is not to offer cut and dried solutions, but rather to reflect and allude to the different possibilities of reading and inferring the signs that surround us, in a continual interpretation and application of the semantic components intrinsic to their own accomplishments.

Nannucci’s work gives a symbolic value to individual words. He himself says, “I believe that the image transcends the limits of representation, becoming a mental image, a virtual image that is born of a dream or an eye-catching rapture, a visual and relative image, which can be summoned by one word, one sound, or one fragrance…” Reducing visual media to language and writing, Nannucci pursues an artistic practice that evokes sensory perception, transmitting new spatial experiences and activating an exchange between the work and the viewer, evoking a free train of thoughts leading to a deeper and renewed relationship between oneself, one’s senses and conceptual reflections, and the surroundings.

Maurizio Nannucci (Florence 1939) is one of the leading figures in Italian art of the last decades and amongst the most well-known Italian artists on the international scene. Since the mid-1960s, he has been exploring the relationship between art, language and image, between light-colour and space, creating unprecedented conceptual ideas, hallmarked by the use of different media: neon, photography, video, sound, editions and artist’s books. His earliest neon works date to 1967, and they gave his work a different dimension of meaning and a new perception of space. Since then, Nannucci’s art has always been focused on an interdisciplinary dialogue between work, architecture and urban landscape, as demonstrated by collaborations with Renzo Piano, Massimiliano Fuksas, Mario Botta, Nicolas Grimshaw and Stephan Braunfels. He has exhibited several times at the Venice Biennale, Documenta in Kassel and the biennial shows in São Paulo, Sydney, Istanbul and Valencia. His work has been shown in the most important museums and galleries all over the world. Important pieces amongst his neon installations in public places and institutions include: the Carpenter Center, Harvard University, Cambridge; Auditorium Parco della Musica, Rome; Bibliothek des Deutschen Bundestages e Altes Museum, Berlin; Kunsthalle, Vienna; Lenbachhaus München, Munich; Villa Arson, Nice; Fondazione Peggy Guggenheim, Venice; Mamco, Geneva; Galleria d’arte moderna, Turin; Hubbrücke, Magdeburg; Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Maxxi, Rome. There are several recent installations by Nannucci in public spaces in Milan: from the large “And what about the truth” at the Triennale (2006) to “No more excuses”, made for Expo 2015 and installed on the façade of the Refettorio Ambrosiano in Piazzale Greco. Recent exhibitions in Milan include: “Anni Settanta”, at the Triennale (2007); “Fuori! Arte e Spazio Urbano 1968/1976”, at the Museo del Novecento (2011); “Ennesima”, at the Triennale (2016), and “L’Inarchiviabile” at the FM Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea (2016).