Mario Codognato

  • “D’après Giorgio”

    Artists’ houses are always intriguing, for there the dichotomy between person and artist, private and public, vision and banality emerges in all its contingency. The Roman apartment where Giorgio de Chirico lived with his wife Isabella from the period following World War II until his death, in 1978, is no exception: The innovative and original charge of his work clashes with the cozy, bourgeois environment of his home. With this in mind, curator/critic Luca Lo Pinto has invited artists from around the world to install work throughout the apartment, provoking once again the subtle and evergreen

  • Bruna Esposito

    The Castello di Rivoli’s series devoted to emerging international figures picks up this season with site-specific work by Bruna Esposito, whose poetic “floating bench” was a critical hit when it was shown in the Italian pavilion at the 1999 Venice Biennale. Castello di Rivoli curator Marcella Beccaria has invited the Rome-based artist to interact with various spaces in the monumental structure, which dates from the eleventh century. The artist has often focused on issues of immigration and multiculturalism, so her exposition is particularly interesting, given the

  • Max Renkel

    The work of Max Renkel carries out a wide-ranging investigation of the procedures, logical connections, unpredictable rhythms, and imperceptible passages that, in the elaboration of an image on canvas, intervene between idea and execution. In so doing the artist draws attention to certain points of departure toward a contemporary approach to representation.

    This exhibition unveiled, with an effective and deliberately ironic discretion, one of the most significant themes in twentieth-century painting as well as its absolute anachronism in the present: the dichotomy between the figurative and the

  • Zero Gravity: Art, Technology and New Spaces of Identity

    Curators Bartolomeo Pietromarchi and Maria Grazia Tolomeo Speranza premise their exhibition on the idea that new technologies have created a “contemporary condition that resembles the spatial-temporal suspensions produced by the absence of gravity.” Not an entirely original notion perhaps, but many of the dozen-plus international artists invited to prove the point have rarely shown in Italy (Henrik Håkansson, Aernout Mik, Ross Sinclair). Others invited to present one work apiece are Jane and Louise Wilson, showing photographs from their “Star City” project, and Serbian artist Tanja Ostojic.

  • Paolo Canevari

    Volume! is a new exhibition space founded and run by the collector Franco Nucci—a rare example of a nonprofit private initiative in Rome. The idea is simply to allow the invited artists to freely transform the interior spaces and the material composition of the building’s walls, ceilings, and floors. Site and work inevitably enter into a state of symbiosis, or else of conflict, calling into question the white cube and traditional hierarchies of use. But for his work Mama, 2000, Paolo Canevari decided to leave the space intact and unaltered. Everything was left in its raw state, the walls

  • Per Barclay

    Per Barclay, a native Norwegian who has lived and studied in Italy, gets his first solo museum show in his adoptive home. Curated by Civica director Vittoria Coen in collaboration with Oslo’s Museet for Samtidskunst, this selection of twenty-plus works from the past decade will include sculptures and large color photographs reprising Barclay’s signature efforts—tensely suggestive constructions often incorporating glass and liquid. The memorable terra-cotta amphorae suspended over transparent basins are promised, as are at least two major installations realized specifically for Trento. The

  • Ilya and Emilia Kabakov

    Ilya Kabakov and his wife, Emilia, have always focused their work on social conditions in the Soviet Union during the post-revolutionary period, and their art describes that way of life and its paradigms. In the splendidly restored Cantieri Culturali alla Zisa, the two artists presented a project that is emblematic of their work. Monumento alla civiltà perduta (Memorial to a lost civilization), 1999, represents a dream harbored by the Kabakovs for more than ten years, namely, to create a monument to the USSR, which, seemingly destined to endure for centuries, instead disintegrated unexpectedly.

  • “Alternativa Zero”

    This exhibition attempted to reconstruct the artistic climate in Portugal immediately following the 1974 fall of the dictatorial regimes that had, for nearly half a century, isolated Portugal from the flow of ideas circulating throughout the rest of Europe. From its title to the forty-odd artists represented, the show was an almost exact historical re-creation of an exhibition organized in Lisbon in 1977 by the poet and film director Ernesto de Sousa, who was a key figure in the Portuguese cultural renaissance. At the time, the show represented a veritable rupture with the orthodoxy and congealment

  • Marina Paris

    In this exhibition, Marina Paris created an original, violent contrast between the classical tradition of Western figurative sculpture and the progressive disintegration of the body in contemporary modes of representation. The gallery was invaded, as it were, by three installations of such banal items of clothing as military jackets, ski masks, and baby clothes—all treated with glue in such a way as to make them rigid and self-supporting. The three-dimensional pieces looked like they had been cast from the human figure, as if the person who had been inside them had just evaporated, leaving only

  • “Anselm Kiefer: Falling Stars”

    Following Anselm Kiefer’s great success at the 1997 Venice Biennale and a well-received one-person show at the Museo Correr, the Bolognese museum mounts an in-depth look at the last two years of Kiefer’s production. Most of the thirty-odd works are exhibited here for the first time, and many were made specially for this occasion and site. The exhibition, organized by the museum’s director, Danilo Eccher, in close collaboration with the artist, includes large paintings, sculptures, installations, books, and vitrines—the full spectrum of the complex, deeply evocative expressions for which

  • Chiara Dynys

    Chiara Dynys has investigated a variety of expressive and formal approaches over the years, employing a broad range of unusual materials that include soap, wax, porcelain, faux marble, and glass treated with arsenic. Out of these substances she shapes forms that are simple and totemic, but that have a powerful effect. Viewing Dynys’ sensuous, organic installations is something like glimpsing a bit of skin through a person’s clothing: one is seduced by a sense of mysterious warmth and vitality.

    The two new installations in Dynys’ recent exhibition (which were presented alongside an earlier work

  • Ugo Rondinone

    The title of Ugo Rondinone’s installation, Moonlight and Aspirin, 1997, was well—suited to his surreal, psychologically complex work. In one room of the gallery, the walls were almost entirely hidden by a palisade of rough fir boards, except in places here and there where small loudspeakers poked through, playing ’60s songs. A sheet of red glass covered the only window that could still be seen, which created a mysterious, claustrophobic atmosphere and precluded any unmediated contact with the outside world.

    In the middle of another room, Rondinone installed a barren tree covered with brown

  • La Ville, le Jardin, la Mémoire

    The Villa Medici, home of the French Academy and its famed artists’ residency program, has long enjoyed a cloistered existence within Rome. This summer a host of artists (the list includes Michelangelo Pistoletto, Annette Messager, Lucius Burckhardt, Janet Cardiff, Bruna Esposito, and Eva Marisaldi) will open up the imposing sixteenth-century building and its exquisite gardens to the metropolis beyond in a series of installations. Curators Laurence Bossé, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, and Hans-Ulrich Obrist are organizing the show, which is the first installment of a project scheduled to take

  • Lucio Fontana

    From the early figurative works to the famous slashed canvases to the pioneer neon-lit environments, Lucio Fontana’s career spanned diverse media. In one of the artist’s largest and most complete retrospectives to date, curators Enrico Crispolti and Rosella Siligato present every phase of his career. Of particular interest are the reconstructions of his environmental work and installations, such as his Ambiente spaziale a lace nera (Spatial environment with black light, 1948–49), and architectural projects like the plaster-and-neon ceiling he designed in 1949 for a private house in Milan. The

  • Two or three things I know about them. . . : Artists in Milan in the Eighties

    According to curator Marco Meneguzzo, the years between 1986 and 1990 represent a crucial time for art in Milan, a period when the emergence of a system of young artists, critics, and dealers landed the city on the contemporary-art map. For this exhibition, Meneguzzo assembles paintings, sculptures, installation, and videos by some thirty artists who came of age during the period, a number of whom (like Stefano Arienti, Mario Dellavedova, Chiara Dynys, or Massimo Kaufmann) have gone on to make international reputations. The accompanying catalogue includes interviews with key players as well as

  • “Flemish and Dutch Painting: Art of the XX Century”

    “Flemish and Dutch Painting: Art of the XX Century,” which was curated by Rudi Fuchs of the Netherlands and Jan Hoet of Belgium, represented a unique attempt to reconstruct the development of Modern art in Holland and Flanders. The exhibition was built around two fundamental assumptions, or leitmotifs. First, there was the idea that Paris and New York were not the only centers around which Modern art unfolded after World War II—that Amsterdam and Brussels, as well as other cities, contributed in significant ways to international artistic debates. Second, the show presented various dichotomies

  • the Roman Spring

    AT ONCE SUBLIMELY EVANESCENT and maddeningly dysfunctional, Rome remains suspended between a venerable past and a chaotic present, bewildering even to its oldest habitués. In this labyrinthine metropolis, contemporary art suffers the same fate as everything else, emerging from this ancient maze only to disappear into its tangled arteries. Initiatives for exhibitions, even at the highest level, are almost exclusively the product of iron—willed individuals who somehow manage to function in the absence of an adequate infrastructure for support of the arts. Navigating the logistical complexities

  • Lucavalerio

    The work of the young Roman artist Lucavalerio, which contains both narrative and sociological elements, typically has an intimate quality, despite the fact that it often consists of large installations: Mareggiata (Sea storm, 1993), for example, involved the entire historic center of a small town on the Tyrrhenian Sea. Lucavalerio’s recent show, entitled “Sette mari” (Seven seas), comprised seven pieces—two large installations and five sculptures. These ironic, often tautological works point to the romantic function of the work of art either as a conveyer of meaning or as an enigma with infinite

  • Mary Obering

    Mary Obering divides her time between New York and Italy, and her work—which combines traditional Renaissance techniques with a rigorous formalism derived from American Minimalist art—clearly reflects her peregrinations. In her paintings Obering uses materials and methods favored during the Quattrocento, such as the use of egg tempera and gold leaf on gessoed panels. Her most recent projects, which could almost be described as sculptures, consist of boxlike rectangular wall-pieces that have been painted on all visible sides. The surfaces and volumes these forms enclose have then been subdivided

  • Lello Lopez

    Lello Lopez—who was born and raised near the mythical Phlegraean fields, just outside of Naples, an area rich with history that has seen landslides as well as social upheaval—is known for creating work that addresses the conflict between tradition and social change. His recent show, entitled “Al di là del dove” (Beyond where), consisted of a harmonious arrangement of cases with copper frames that were hung on the wall like laboratory cabinets or placed on the floor like minimal furnishings. The show also included a number of slightly larger than life-size heads formed out of blindingly white