Mario Codognato

  • 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

  • Nunzio

    One of the most interesting Italian artists from the generation that emerged during the ’80s, Nunzio was recently accorded his second large-scale museum show. In this multifaceted exhibition, there was an urgent and unpredictable rhythm in the alternation of works—alternately concave and convex, jagged and polished, hospitable and mysterious forms. Nunzio’s seductive structures, assembled out of burnt wood or lead, seemed like veiled contours, sutures in the hollows of material. In Nunzio’s work, the wood, blackened and “purified” by fire, takes on a neutral value. Simultaneously new and archaic,

  • Fabio Mauri

    Over the past fifty years, Fabio Mauri has confronted racism from a truly original perspective in a complex series of paintings, sculptures, performances, environments, installations, and theoretical writings. Through an analysis of fascism and the racial laws that led, in the late 1930s, to the deportation of thousands of Jews from Italian cities to Nazi concentration camps, racism is experienced, witnessed, and interpreted by the artist on various levels.

    On one level, this work is autobiographical: it reflects an adolescence and consciousness marked by events both tragic and absurd. From this

  • Tristano di Robilant

    Tristano di Robilant’s work has developed around an unlimited, almost playful engagement with the materials, techniques, and “practices” of art which he links together in a game of continual references. Preexisting or handmade objects (a bucket, a brick, a stopper) are fused to or molded into another material, changing in substance, weight, and appearance. Once assembled, these shapes generate autonomous, versatile imaginary structures that, with the help of poetic or subtly ironic titles, create an open system that investigates the significance of making sculpture. Their solidity is counteracted

  • Dino Pedriali

    Twenty years of activity by Dina Pedriali—one of the most elusive and important Italian photographers—were celebrated by three key and complementary events. The first of these was the publication of the first complete monograph on his work; this volume, put together by Peter Weiermair, director of the Kunstverein in Frankfurt, brings together his harshest and most realistic images, which nonetheless are the most personal and incisive of his career. In extremely strong chiaroscuro that brings Caravaggio to mind, these images silently present dramatic close-ups of faces, bodies, skin, and