Critics’ Picks

Donemico Gnoli, As You Like It (Banished Duke), 1955, ballpoint pen, India ink, and watercolor on paper, 13 3/4 x 10".


Domenico Gnoli

The Marignoli di Montecorona Foundation
Piazza Fratelli Cairoli, 1
July 2–October 1, 2017

Curated by Michele Drascek and Duccio K. Marignoli, and realized for the Festival dei Due Mondi, this show pays tribute to Domenico Gnoli and, in particular, the extraordinary technical skills that characterize his production, beginning with his set designs.

Constructed as an all-encompassing archive of his drawings for the theater, the installation features anthracite-gray walls hung with sketches in museum-style passe-partouts. The exhibition (the design of which was produced by Giovanni di Natale with Giorgio Gentili) and its catalogue (by di Natale) have an interdependent relationship and are best experienced synergistically. For example, a notebook in a display case becomes significant next to its drawings reproduced in the catalogue. The book also contains images of Gnoli’s notes on everything from Pantone codes to the fabrics for his costumes to the names of actors for whom the outfits were intended.

Gnoli, who made work in the spirit of the “non-eloquent” tradition that emerged in Italy in the 1400s, was in many ways faithful to classicism. For example, he took up Flemish painters’ predilection for an elevated viewpoint, a practice he continued even after 1964, when he arrived at the visual approach—marked by the highlighting and enlargement of image fragments—that came to characterize his compositions. Though he turned his back on assured success in the theater to concentrate on painting, this exhibition, by focusing on his theatrical work, reveals a artist gifted with extraordinary cultural expertise.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.