Saggi d'arte - tutti i libri della collana Saggi d'arte, Johan & Levi - Johan & Levi Editore | P. 3
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Johan & Levi: Saggi d'arte

Vedere l'invisibile - Saggio su Kandinsky
Every phenomenon is the material trace of the invisible forces that generated it, the inseparable fusion of content and form, of internal and external elements. This is how such painting should be understood, a form of painting freed from figurative intentions, which aspires to embody sensations, emotions and passions: in a word, the intimate essence of life. This was the sense of the revolution brought about at the dawn of the last century by Kandinsky, the founder of abstract painting. It is the subject examined in this essay by Michel Henry, whose ideas on phenomenology all hinge on the theme of life, the life that the “pioneer of pioneers” aimed to represent pictorially in his pulsating invisibility. It was no longer a question of “abstracting from” some element of the visible world, nor of grasping an external appearance already constituted to give it back in the form of a more or less mimetic image. The challenge was to bring to light something that did not previously exist except in a secret dimension. But if the art of painting, by his own definition, is display of the visible that is shown in shapes and colours, how can it give shape to a reality hidden from view? Based on an analysis of the theoretical literature that has accompanied the development of Kandinsky’s abstract art and which provides an excellent route to understanding his work, Henry shows how the artist separates colour and line from the constraints of the visible form: every line is the product of a force, every colour is linked to an affective tone, an inner sonority. If we are essentially force and affect, then lines and colours allow our deepest inner self to emerge.   Rather than underpinning a simple art movement, Kandinsky’s abstraction therefore reveals to us the profound truth of art, which to a certain extent is all abstract, freed from having to stick to the external world. Grasping the principles of this revolution is equivalent to understanding that art is the highest expression of the potency of life and, ultimately, its most exemplary objectivization.
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Vedere l'invisibile

Saggio su Kandinsky

Michel Henry

pages: 176 pages

Every phenomenon is the material trace of the invisible forces that generated it, the inseparable fusion of content and form, of internal and external elements. This is how such painting should be understood, a form of painting freed from figurative intentions, which aspires to embody sensations, emotions and passions: in a word, the intimate essen
Una squisita indifferenza - Perché l'arte moderna è moderna
One day in 1823, on a football pitch in the north of England, a player picked up the ball and, with exquisite indifference to the rules of the game, he started to run with it: he had invented rugby. It is commonly held that around 1860 some artists invented modern art, rejecting all the rules and breaking the chains of tradition, such as perspective, which made up the commonly accepted and understood artistic language. But that is not how it went: Degas, Van Gogh, Rodin, Gauguin and Picasso did not restrict themselves to dodging the rules of the game, but, just like the inventor of rugby, they decided to seize the possibilities that lay hidden in traditional art to create a new game with a new system of rules. In this essay, brilliantly written and with a richness and depth of analysis second to none, Kirk Varnedoe offers us an overview of the birth and development of modern art, from what is an original and, in many respects, revolutionary perspective. According to the American scholar it is simplistic to attribute the new pictorial dimension adopted by Degas and Van Gogh to the influence of photography and the flat perspective of Japanese prints. And it is equally reductive to interpret the primitivism of Gauguin and Picasso as romantic yearning for exotic representations of distant lands. On the contrary, its innovative force comes from the free exchange of forms in juxtaposition which, removed from their original contexts, give rise to new ensembles of meanings. The analysis of fragmentation and serialization in Rodin’s sculptures is a key stage in shedding light on how the development of abstract art is not concerned purely with form. The sudden spread of the aerial point of view in the painting of the Belle Èpoque period and in the Russian avant-garde of the 1920s is one of the instruments Varnedoe gives us to understand not only how dialectical the relationship between art history and the history of ideas is, but even what it is that links Degas’ ballerinas to Pollock’s Abstract Expressionism and the minimalist trends that followed.
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Una squisita indifferenza

Perché l'arte moderna è moderna

Kirk Varnedoe

pages: 220 pages

One day in 1823, on a football pitch in the north of England, a player picked up the ball and, with exquisite indifference to the rules of the game, he started to run with it: he had invented rugby. It is commonly held that around 1860 some artists invented modern art, rejecting all the rules and breaking the chains of tradition, such as perspectiv
Mezzo secolo di arte intera - Scritti 1964-2014
If we know what we know about the extraordinary art revolution of the second half of the sixties, about Arte Povera, Conceptural Art, Process Art and Land Art; if we now see in Boetti, Pistoletto and Zorio some of the most important exponents of their generation; if we know what Lucio Fontana’s last comments were or we have read about recently discovered figures such as the ones by Agnetti, Baruchello, Dadamaino, Mulas and Griffa, it is also thanks to the news reports, the reviews, the essays, and the publishing and teaching work of Tommaso Trini (Sanremo, 1937).This anthology fills a gap that has long needed to be filled and contributes to drawing up a more accurate map of the panorama of Italian art criticism, leaving aside tired polarized ways of thinking. Through painstaking research and discussion carried out by Luca Cerizza in conversation with the author, the book brings together for the first time a selection of Trini’s art criticism: from pioneering texts dedicated to the future protagonists of Arte Povera, to the series of in-depth descriptions of other key figures in the post-war years, as well as newspaper reports and analyses – some of the earliest international ones – that define in real time the characteristics of the post-minimalist art movements that shook up the second half of the sixties. Trini is revealed here to be a keen-eyed witness and a perceptive interpreter of much of the best art in this half-century. This book gives art lovers (but also the general reader) sparkling well-paced criticism written with intelligence, where the “militant” stance never strays into sectarian or ideological positions.
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Mezzo secolo di arte intera

Scritti 1964-2014

Tommaso Trini

pages: 356 pages

If we know what we know about the extraordinary art revolution of the second half of the sixties, about Arte Povera, Conceptural Art, Process Art and Land Art; if we now see in Boetti, Pistoletto and Zorio some of the most important exponents of their generation; if we know what Lucio Fontana’s last comments were or we have read about recently di
Carlo Scarpa. L'arte di esporre - L'arte di esporre
The name of Carlo Scarpa (1906-1978) is intrinsically linked to the history of art, taste and museology of the 20th century, so much so that in the seventies the French art historian André Chastel wrote: “Many of those who travel round Italy know him without realizing it: he is the greatest organizer of art exhibitions in Europe”. He still stands tall in the pantheon of those who revolutionized museums in the post-war years (in spite of widespread resistance and provincialism) transforming them into outposts of the avant-garde. The resounding success of the installation created to host the work of Paul Klee at the Venice Biennale in 1948 was followed by many others in quick succession. The personal exhibitions of Piet Mondrian and Marcel Duchamp, the collaborations with Lucio Fontana and Arturo Martini and his work on many historic buildings trace the development of an original architect who up-dated the way art was displayed by setting out a model that takes bold liberties to incomparable lyrical effect. It becomes unfettered from the lofty grandeur of the pre-existing places, fostering a style that is light and spare. His career was a series of legendary solutions resolved in situ (always dealig with time constraints and a great lack of resources), in symbiosis with the mastery of the craftspeople around him.How to find one’s way around the huge number of exhibitions and museums for which Carlo Scarpa was wholly or partially responsible? Philippe Duboÿ, who worked with him and had access to many archives, is the ideal guide to help us understand the plans, reliefs, sketches, and photographs relating to each and every one of Scarpa’s projects. Rare documents written by Carlo Scarpa have been included in the book, which has been conceived according to the principle of synchronism between image and word, so dear to Le Corbusier. The author reveals the personal dialogue between this great figure of the European culture and the work of art.
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Carlo Scarpa. L'arte di esporre

L'arte di esporre

Philippe Duboÿ

pages: 268 pages

The name of Carlo Scarpa (1906-1978) is intrinsically linked to the history of art, taste and museology of the 20th century, so much so that in the seventies the French art historian André Chastel wrote: “Many of those who travel round Italy know him without realizing it: he is the greatest organizer of art exhibitions in Europe”. He still sta
Cacciatori d’arte - I mercanti di ieri e di oggi
Visionaries, businessmen and daring adventurers who are mad about art and childishly keen on taking risks. The most intrepid dealers have always been obsessed with running to ground the Van Goghs of tomorrow. It drives them to tramp unfamiliar streets, rounding up studies and betting everything on painters who are either misunderstood or ahead of their times. In recent years, however, the forgery swindle that ruined Knoedler, one of the most respectable New York galleries, has revealed something rotten in a profession that could soon degenerate into vulgar speculation. Yann Kerlau recounts the meteoric rise and the vicissitudes of some of the most famous art hunters from the 19th century to the present day: from the first ardent supporter of the Impressionists, Théodore Duret, who championed Japonisme, to which Gauguin, Van Gogh and Monet were so indebted, to Paul Durand-Ruel, who opened the doors of the American market to the Refusés; from a first-class sales strategist such as the indolent Ambroise Vollard, to the wily Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, who became Picasso’s dealer in spite of an unpromising start, and Peggy Guggenheim, the eccentric American heiress who tracked down the most avant-garde artists for her New York gallery with the help of first-rate advisers. He brings us up to the present day with a worn-out advertising executive, Charles Saatchi, who rose to the Olympian heights of art by turning the artist into a trademark, and a cynical self-made man, Larry Gagosian, who took the best in his stable to conquer a multinational empire, keeping one eye on his bank account and the other on the auction houses. Seven well-rounded portraits, each in his or her own way reflecting their own times.Seven variations on a trade which you need to have a nose for – not to find what is beautiful, but the precious gem that is hidden in every work of art. A phenomenal feat in which the excesses, passions and folly of the protagonists give the account of a heroic and romantic dimension.
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Cacciatori d’arte

I mercanti di ieri e di oggi

Yann Kerlau

pages: 250 pages

Visionaries, businessmen and daring adventurers who are mad about art and childishly keen on taking risks. The most intrepid dealers have always been obsessed with running to ground the Van Goghs of tomorrow. It drives them to tramp unfamiliar streets, rounding up studies and betting everything on painters who are either misunderstood or ahead of t
I primitivi traditi - L'arte dei "selvaggi" e la presunzione occidentale
What are we speaking of when we speak of “primitive art”? Which parameters do we use to define and evaluate works that have been captured, like African objects during the slave trade years, wrested from their original socio-cultural context and transplanted in strange lands where they appear in new contexts in order to satisfy the economic, ideological and cultural demands of an educated elite? Sally Price draws on an extraordinary variety of sources, including fashion advertising, cinema, anthropology and comics, to lead us in an investigation of tribal art and the misunderstandings that plague it in the West, whose “civilized” observers view distant cultures through a dense web of preconceptions and convictions that such products are the fruit of irrational urges, supported by religious rites and social dynamics utterly unlike their own. The long-standing opposition between an ethnographic object and a work of art – along with that between primitive and civilized – is consigned to history as the author sheds light upon the darkness obscuring primitive artists. In the end, she succeeds in invalidating the common belief that such primitive artists operate anonymously while the cult of individual expression is the exclusive prerogative of “our” artists. This mistaken presumption has contributed to an acceptance of the dehumanization of primitive art, meaning the refusal to acknowledge the intellectual environment in which these objects are created. Through interviews with museum curators, ethnologists and private collectors, bolstered by rewarding incursions into the world of art dealers, Price seeks to definitively demolish the framework of traditional anthropology and its paradigms of interpretation. According to the author, these paradigms form the bedrock of the persistent incomprehension of tribal creations and the long failure to adequately describe these societies and their cultural patrimony.
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I primitivi traditi

L'arte dei "selvaggi" e la presunzione occidentale

Sally Price

pages: 192 pages

What are we speaking of when we speak of “primitive art”? Which parameters do we use to define and evaluate works that have been captured, like African objects during the slave trade years, wrested from their original socio-cultural context and transplanted in strange lands where they appear in new contexts in order to satisfy the economic, ide
L'arte non evolve - L'universo immobile di Gino De Dominicis
Devoid of ascertainable origins, freed from the sequentiality of a before and after, the work of art demolishes the barriers of time and projects us into a space extraneous to progress. That art does not evolve, that is, it does not proceed by means of a linear temporal development but is instead capable of introducing new ideas not even hinted at before, is the thesis of this essay on the poetics of immortality in Gino De Dominicis. It is an investigation of a mystery – creation ex nihilo – and a meditation on the origin of all things.Guercio’s starting point is the artist’s most emblematic and controversial work, Second solution of immortality: the universe is immobile, exhibited in 1972 at the Venice Biennale in a room that is the summation of De Dominicis’ reflections and caused such a sensation that it was immediately closed to the public. The reason for the scandal was the presence of a young Venetian man with Down’s syndrome. Positioned facing three objects on the floor – a stone, a rubber ball and the outline of a white square – Paolo Rosa was not merely a provocation as the most reactionary thought, but the fulcrum around which the other elements are arranged, the key to the whole grouping. The multiple dynamics created by this figure allowed the artist to endow the work with an unprecedented power: to open a breach in eternity.Is it possible to read into De Dominicis’ Second Solution a paradigm of immortality that functions outside the closed system of his work? That is, can we establish a link between artistic creation in its broader sense and the search for immortality? This question, posed at the opening of the essay, engages the reader, drawing us into a complete examination of the artist’s themes, pointing up the ones that can support a presumption of contemporaneity over the present period, such as the primacy of the image over the word and the power of discontinuity when faced with a viral proliferation of connections.
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L'arte non evolve

L'universo immobile di Gino De Dominicis

Gabriele Guercio

pages: 128 pages

Devoid of ascertainable origins, freed from the sequentiality of a before and after, the work of art demolishes the barriers of time and projects us into a space extraneous to progress. That art does not evolve, that is, it does not proceed by means of a linear temporal development but is instead capable of introducing new ideas not even hinted at
L'arte nello spazio urbano - L'esperienza italiana dal 1968 a oggi
The term Public art is a term that refers to a wide range of experiences, including political or playful operations, ephemeral projects to transform places and landscapes, participatory actions, small everyday activities brought out into the open, and forms of active exploration of a given area. But what has been Italy’s experience with this artistic practice? Italian artists have followed many distinct paths, in their reinvention of the relationship between space and the public within the urban dimension. Alessandra Pioselli, with her unique critical and expressive experience, chooses to begin in 1968, setting public art against the background of the political and economic context of Italy at the time. Artists came into the city streets, challenging and lampooning authorities, highlighting social problems and giving voice to an insistent collective energy. Given their focus on the struggle for jobs and housing, their work appeared in outlying but critical areas, often in the form of militant acts or alternative interpretations of the concept of cultural assets. Then, through the 70s, the proactive role of Enrico Crispolti, Riccardo Dalisi, Ugo La Pietra, and others counterpointed groups like Collettivo Autonomo di Porta Ticinese and Laboratorio di Comunicazione Militante in Milan, which addressed the issue of protest and militancy in a non-authorial manner. As a result, environmental sculpture multiplied and gained a renewed civic function. With the waning of popular participation in the 80s, the front crumbled and differentiated. Art parks began to appear; works increasingly were set in highly problematic contexts and dealt with collective memory in increasingly emotional and subjective ways. Gestures, signs and relations assumed a symbolic, semantic value. While Maria Lai orchestrated poetic yet effective collective actions in her native Sardinia, Maurizio Cattelan playfully used intelligent provocation to expose the contradictions of an increasingly complex multi-cultural society. Today, new patrons and players acting in the context of a gentrified city hard put to recognize itself as a community call for a critical reinterpretation of the concept of participation, which is at the heart of this book.
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L'arte nello spazio urbano

L'esperienza italiana dal 1968 a oggi

Alessandra Pioselli

pages: 220 pages

The term Public art is a term that refers to a wide range of experiences, including political or playful operations, ephemeral projects to transform places and landscapes, participatory actions, small everyday activities brought out into the open, and forms of active exploration of a given area. But what has been Italy’s experience with this arti
Hybris - La fabbrica del mostro nell'arte moderna. Omuncoli, giganti e acefali
Once merely an exception and object of curiosity, the monstrous has become a common experience, overrunning everything with its troubled, deviant forms that defy the harmony of the classic canon. Indeed, in a disconcerting shift in perspective, disproportion, or hybris, has become the rule. The abyss opened in 1895, when the many revolutionary discoveries and theories – cinema, psychoanalysis, x-rays, Penfield’s neurological research and the first studies of hysteria – prevented artists from continuing to represent the body as they had always done. Jean Clair dissects the modern aesthetic with its proliferation of monstrous, exaggerated forms, beginning at the beginning with Goya, continuing with the malaise expressed in Redon’s symbolist paintings and arriving at the crossbreeds of the twentieth century in works by Miró, Ernst, Duchamp, Grosz, Picasso, Giacometti, and Balthus. Clair’s analysis focuses on three exemplary figures that weave themselves through the fabric of the centuries, eventually serving as tormented paradigms: the deformed, disjointed homunculus, the Behemoth, which, following on Swift and Voltaire, came to incarnate the deadly madness of the revolution that devours its own children, and the Acéphale celebrated by Bataille, the headless monster whose mutilated body is the unnerving child of the guillotine. Bringing to bear the work of thirty years, Clair offers an intriguing view of the contemporary. Continuing his exploration of themes from exhibitions such as ‘Identità e alterità’ and ‘Crime et châtiment’, the author traces a path that winds through centuries of terrifying, exaggerated creatures who force themselves into consciousness with the finality of facts, becoming instruments to gauge the degree of disorientation in our hybris-saturated present. Now a new monstrous creature has appeared in an unexpected light as a colossal, decapitated, senseless container of an immense, formless, frenetic mass: the global museum.
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Hybris

La fabbrica del mostro nell'arte moderna. Omuncoli, giganti e acefali

Jean Clair

pages: 166 pages

Once merely an exception and object of curiosity, the monstrous has become a common experience, overrunning everything with its troubled, deviant forms that defy the harmony of the classic canon. Indeed, in a disconcerting shift in perspective, disproportion, or hybris, has become the rule. The abyss opened in 1895, when the many revolutionary dis
Un desiderio ardente - Alle origini della fotografia
Before it was seen as a technology, at its outset photography sprang from a burning desire to capture the images produced in the camera obscura. This desire, which can also be seen in Dürer's work and has roots in the founding legend of art, grew in force between the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, when the romantic redefinition of space, time and subjectivity provided the right conditions for the first concrete achievements in the photographic process, leading to the "official" birth of the medium. As an invention it was heralded by the centuries-long, complex relationship between art and reality, but it is in fact the product of a specific aesthetic, social and cultural milieu. The incentive of industrialized modernity and the advent of mass production prompted the studies of scientists, experimenters and artists from different countries and cultures which culminated in the achievements of Talbot, Niépce, Daguerre, Bayard and other early photographers who were inspired, in parallel and simultaneously, by the desire to capture "the art of nature" by any means. The book reflects on both the origins of photography and its identity: inspired by Foucault's genealogy and the deconstruction of Derrida, Batchen tells the story from a new point of view. Not with the banal aim of deciding who was the first to "invent" the process, but to effect a broader survey that investigates the conception of the very idea of photography, intuiting the richness and complexity of the medium in the often figurative notions and discourse of the early days. Notions and discourse that, like photography, oscillate between nature and culture in challenging, intriguing ways, and are infused with the ambiguities and enduring echoes of a desire that forever changed our way of looking at the world.
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Un desiderio ardente

Alle origini della fotografia

Geoffrey Batchen

pages: 256 pages

Before it was seen as a technology, at its outset photography sprang from a burning desire to capture the images produced in the camera obscura. This desire, which can also be seen in Dürer's work and has roots in the founding legend of art, grew in force between the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, when the romantic redefinition of
Che cos'è l'arte
This is the eternal question that the philosopher and critic Arthur C. Danto tackles in an essay that is part philosophical dissertation, part autobiographical musings. Taking his distance from the view that reduces art to what is regarded as such in an institutional context, or those who even consider it to be indefinable, the author identifies various features that can help provide some clear outlines, including the ontological permanence of art, beyond the different forms in which it manifests itself. What makes art art is the ability to lend form to an idea, to express an idea by means of an artistic "modus operandi" that translates thought into matter in the most effective way, bypassing contingencies. But that's not the full story. Art has to embody something intangible: like a daydream, it has to induce a new emotive and sensory state in the viewer. Danto thus arrives at conclusions far removed from the relativism attributed to him for decades: understanding art does not depend on an open concept, but an open mind.Guiding the reader through the big names in philosophy and art of every age (particularly Michelangelo, Poussin, Duchamp and Warhol), the author takes an ambitious path from Platonic and Kantian theory to an analysis of the innovations - perspective, chiaroscuro, physiognomy and the advent of photography - that have shaped Western art, until its apparent burn-out with the arrival of conceptual poetics and the disappearance of aesthetics as a value.As well as exploring fascinating new developments, Che cos'è l'arte? distills the essence of decades of work, and thus represents an ideal introduction to the work of America's greatest visual arts critic.
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Che cos'è l'arte

Arthur C. Danto

pages: 126 pages

This is the eternal question that the philosopher and critic Arthur C. Danto tackles in an essay that is part philosophical dissertation, part autobiographical musings. Taking his distance from the view that reduces art to what is regarded as such in an institutional context, or those who even consider it to be indefinable, the author identifies va
Il cinema degli architetti
This is a story of conversations that never took place and arrested developments; an adventurous tale, never yet fully told, whose protagonists include Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius, Charles and Ray Eames and Yona Friedman, Bruno Munari and Frank Lloyd Wright, Giancarlo De Carlo and Ludovico Quaroni, Emilio Ambasz and Ettore Sottsass, Gaetano Pesce and Mario Bellini, Michele De Lucchi and Aldo Rossi, Superstudio and Andrea Branzi.  What these diverse players have in common is a deep fascination for film, the medium of the modern age. As the extraordinary art of "seeing space", it is a tool that can be used to explore architecture and describe its principles and volumes from the inside, a device that can be deployed to visualise the contemporary metropolis. Reluctant to embrace the rules of the film industry and grasp the specificity of cinematic language, these architects/directors see the seventh art as a free arena, a terrain to explore without having to pay lip service to customs and rituals, a place for the wildest experiments. Some elements are recurrent: the urgency of their accounts, their critical approach, their desire to recycle existing materials, their visionary momentum and conceptual attitude. While Le Corbusier and De Carlo used moving pictures to bring theoretical reflections already known to scholars and professionals to an audience of non-specialists, others - like Pesce, De Lucchi, Bellini and Branzi - adopted avant-garde models, rejecting the traditional dictates of discourse and the classic canons of communication. Others, like Acconci and Superstudio, use video to stage absurd, impossible projects.In this original book edited by Vincenzo Trione we meet many architects for whom the cinema, in the words of Giulio Carlo Argan, is not just a "pure and simple system of knowledge", but a "newly established system of meaning", the "most structuring" of artistic techniques.
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Il cinema degli architetti

pages: 270 pages

This is a story of conversations that never took place and arrested developments; an adventurous tale, never yet fully told, whose protagonists include Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius, Charles and Ray Eames and Yona Friedman, Bruno Munari and Frank Lloyd Wright, Giancarlo De Carlo and Ludovico Quaroni, Emilio Ambasz and Ettore Sottsass, Gaetano Pes

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