Massimo Carboni

  • Gerhard Richter

    This show of new, never-before-exhibited works by Gerhard Richter inaugurated a new international cultural space in Rome, sponsored by the Cassa di Risparmio di Puglia. The show consisted of seven large paintings, one small photograph retouched with paint, and a sphere of polished aluminum, placed on the floor, and was entitled “Montagne” (Mountains). Richter’s interest in this natural occurrence (distant, majestic, and in a certain sense already a “painting in itself”) has become a regular feature of his work since his 1981 series of Swiss mountain landscapes.

    The seven paintings, created

  • Salvatore Astore

    During the ’80s, the work of Salvatore As-tore developed in two directions, which nonetheless always merged in a single poetics. On the one hand, in the two-dimensional works—on canvas and on paper—the artist investigated physiological elements from the living world, representing them on large surfaces: enormous human skulls, seen as if through x-rays sometimes with sutures between the bones that reinforced the alienating effect, sometimes with the vascular system highlighted by a tangle of brightly colored filamentlike marks. On the other hand, he also made welded-iron sculpture—installed on

  • Anthony Caro

    Sometimes the sense of harmony between works of art and the space they occupy is simply perfect. This was the case with the extensive Anthony Caro retrospective installed in the Mercati di Traiano, a large architectural complex built for public use during the early second century A.D. A severe rhythm reigns in this building, the large halls alternating with smaller ones, laid out on various levels and culminating in a grand outdoor semicircle. It was in this semicircle—which has an evocative view of the ancient Roman Forum—that Caro installed his most abstract, linear pieces.

    These works, which

  • “Profili”

    This exhibition was organized by the Ente Quadriennale, a government institution set up in the ’30s. The 33 artists in the show were chosen by a committee of six art critics (Renato Barilli, Achille Bonito Oliva, Rossana Bossaglia, Maurizio Calvesi, Antonio Del Guercio, Cesare Vivaldi) and one artist, Ugo Attardi, who showed the poor taste of including himself among the exhibitors. The committee members had the task of singling out a series of living artists whose work could be seen as a reflection of developments in Italian art over the last 40 years; their catalogue essays acknowledge the

  • Mimmo Jodice

    Place is the subject of Mimmo Jodice’s photographs. His Neapolitan landscapes—the gulf with Vesuvius in the distance, the humble farms, the surrounding archaeological sites, the sea as horizon line—document a free space—even if it is sometimes crowded with things and objects. There is no direct human presence in these pictures, yet he captures in the scenes artifacts that testify to mankind’s history. Jodice belongs to a generation of photographers that began working in the ’50s and ’60s—a generation preceded by a complete lack of understanding of photographic expression. Precisely for this

  • Felice Levini

    Working with stereotypes within the visual arts means working not only with immediately recognizable images, but also with images, the conventional significance of which is broadly understood. The work of Felice Levini has always dealt with myth, proverb, and the image-symbol, phenomena that are different from one another but all equally related to the sense of community, to those psychological-symbolic features that cement a culture and that come from the past.

    Levini relates to these icons of the past in singular fashion. His approach is “neither intimate nor nostalgic,” words we have seen

  • Robert Rauschenberg

    In this show Robert Rauschenberg presented ten medium- and large-scale pieces executed specifically for Rome. This can be considered a gesture of generosity and respect for the work ethic on the part of the artist; however, these paintings offer nothing new. Nevertheless, there is a positive aspect to this, not only in terms of the coherence of an almost forty-year-old esthetic, but particularly because Rauschenberg doesn’t make us witness a forced and embarrassing updating that artists with long careers so often feel compelled to produce.

    In these works the background images depict advertising

  • Julian Opie

    This was Julian Opie’s first exhibition in Rome, and he showed one simple and yet complex piece that was made specifically for the occasion. Two columns were positioned asymmetrically, facing each other in the small gallery space. Slightly elevated above the floor (the bases weren’t visible), they rose up, almost touching the ceiling. Thus their presence acted as a geometric element of measurement of the space into which they were installed. This means that, in some way, Opie respected the basic function of the column, which symbolizes a thrust upward and at the same time usually supports a

  • Peter Fischli and David Weiss

    In this exhibition, the Swiss artist team of Peter Fischli and David Weiss developed the theme of anonymity—a theme that has always been central to their work. An enormous number of photographs, divided into thematic groups, were hung along the gallery walls. For example, there were the images of Rio and Sydney, as well as those of anonymous suburbs; horror images such as skulls and mummies; views of snow-clad mountains; the sublime kitsch of “Holiday-on-Ice” spectacles; the presumed exoticism of holidays in Africa or in the Orient; typical Swiss scenes; and the mythical stones of Stonehenge.

  • INFINITE ORNAMENT

    POST-MODERN ESTHETICS HAVE replaced the Modernist ban on ornament and decoration with a broad reevaluation, expressed most obviously in the now-common taste for quotation and appropriation. This change of heart, however, can be puzzling, particularly in architecture, which by its nature must be functional. We’ve all seen buildings with decorations apparently glued or tattooed on a posteriori, used purely hedonistically and superficially. But these bad examples at least serve the purpose of showing us where not to go in framing an ancient question for the contemporary esthetic conscience—the

  • Vettor Pisani

    Art is a privileged approach to symbols; the materials it employs transcend their simple physical presence. Vettor Pisani makes the symbolic the primary obsession of his work. For more than twenty years he has undertaken a voyage through the symbolic, which has given his work a strongly individual and coherent itinerary, a complexity, and a multi-valence rarely found today.

    This show had three interrelated works, all referring to the figure of the Virgin, a key motif in Pisani’s work. A working refrigerator, Signorina Frigidaire, 1991, contained some small devotional objects: a map of the world,

  • Fabio Mauri

    Fabio Mauri’s development began in the late ’50s, at a time when many artists—both in Europe and in the United States—were looking for ideas to counter those of art informel and from action painting. Mauri’s solution (which he shared to a limited degree with Enrico Castellani and Piero Manzoni) was to reduce painting to “ground zero,” to its minimal conditions, so that the paintings become simple supports—empty, monochrome screens. This emptiness allows the imagination free reign; thus, film fragments, words such as “The End,” and later the profile of Frank Sinatra appear on surfaces that are