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Critics

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
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
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
Elogio di "Funny Guy" Picabia, inventore della Pop Art
This work in praise of the “funny guy” Francis Picabia as the inventor of Pop Art was born out of the posthumous discovery of a set of twelve ink drawings on paper that he produced in 1923. Intended as covers for André Breton’s literary revue Littérature but never published, the drawings are copies of advertisements taken from magazines and department store brochures complete with the name and price of the article concerned. Picabia added his initials to this simple advertising material, perhaps as an ironic comment on his inability to sell himself and perhaps to play down the failure of his show at the Dalmau gallery in Barcelona, which Breton witnessed. They mark a stylistic and thematic turning point with respect to the artist’s previous projects. Picabia was the first to use marketing material as a strategy of artistic subversion, elevating crude advertising to the status of artwork. He thus invented Pop Art and can be seen as a forerunner of Warhol, Lichtenstein and Rosenquist. The author reconstructs the context and circumstances in which the drawings were produced. The period 1922–23 saw the implosion of the Dada movement and its drift into Surrealism, the publication of Littérature as a forum for the artists and writers involved to air their sometimes conflicting views, the friendship and collaboration between Picabia and Breton, and the journey by car to Barcelona for the show at the Galerie Dalmau preceded by a lecture at the Ateneu Barcelonés. This is not a text for specialists and the author, while addressing a little-known and highly specific part of Picabia’s superabundant and kaleidoscopic oeuvre, succeeds in introducing the ordinary reader to the artist’s universe and the context in which he worked. Lebel is no denigrator of American Pop Art. Picabia’s drawings had yet to be rediscovered and were never seen by Warhol and the other Pop artists. There is thus no suggestion that the Americans “stole” the idea from him. The text is accompanied by a previously unpublished material in the shape of a letter from Picabia to Breton dated 1923 and a drawing of the same year that accompanied it.    
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Elogio di "Funny Guy" Picabia, inventore della Pop Art

Jean-Jacques Lebel

pages: 52 pages

This work in praise of the “funny guy” Francis Picabia as the inventor of Pop Art was born out of the posthumous discovery of a set of twelve ink drawings on paper that he produced in 1923. Intended as covers for André Breton’s literary revue Littérature but never published, the drawings are copies of advertisements taken from magazines and

Di tutto un pop

Un percorso fra arte e scrittura nell'opera di Mike Kelley

Marco Enrico Giacomelli

pages: 72 pages

Known primarily as a visual artist, Mike Kelley was in actual fact an irrepressible, multifaceted figure. In addition to using the most varied means of expression, from drawing to video, performance and installation, he often went beyond the traditional boundaries of the work by incorporating writing in the creative process and producing statements
Joachim Schmid e le fotografie degli altri
Joachim Schmidt (Balingen, 1955), paradoxically known as “the photographer who takes no photographs”, has worked with photography since the early 1980s without producing any images of his own. Asserted in 1989 on the 150th anniversary of the invention of this medium, the principle of taking no new photographs until use has been made of those already existing is one to which he still adheres. In the present-day civilization of images characterized by an ever-greater proliferation of photographs to the point of habituation and meaninglessness, Schmidt has decided to halt production and confine himself to seeking out, collecting and using photographs already taken by others. This boundless material also include picture cards, exhibition invitations, posters, postcards, photos found in flea markets and archives, and images downloaded from websites and social networks. The German artist captures them from the great flow of contemporary communication, files them, appropriates them, combines them with one another and sometimes manipulates them in search of possible new meanings. A collector, recycling enthusiast, cataloguer and environmentalist therefore rather than a photographer, Schmid has left his imprint on theoretical debate about this medium. His stance combines two fundamental themes of contemporary art, namely Duchamp’s idea of the ready-made and the “death of the author” envisaged by Roland Barthes. Having investigated all the forms of mass photography and all of the different associated languages, he has probably seen but above all used more images than anyone else in the world over the last few decades. His new and ironic call today is therefore for people not to stop taking photographs.
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Joachim Schmid e le fotografie degli altri

pages: 88 pages

Joachim Schmidt (Balingen, 1955), paradoxically known as “the photographer who takes no photographs”, has worked with photography since the early 1980s without producing any images of his own. Asserted in 1989 on the 150th anniversary of the invention of this medium, the principle of taking no new photographs until use has been made of those al
Pino Pascali - Il libero gioco della scultura
Pino Pascali blazed like a shooting star in the history of Italian art. Born in Bari in 1935 and killed just thirty-three years later in a car crash, he is regarded as one of Italy’s most innovative avant-garde artists of the post-war period together with Boetti and Manzoni. Despite his very short career, he won almost unanimous acclaim in his lifetime through the staggering originality of his talent. In 1968, a few months after his death, the Venice Biennial devoted a room to his work and posthumous recognition soon followed with a series of international prizes and shows in the most illustrious museums of contemporary art. His work now sells for millions. This book focuses solely on Pascali’s plastic art of the period 1964–68 with brief mentions of his activities in the spheres of advertising, stage design, drawing and performance. In defining the formal processes of his sculpture, Tonelli deliberately eschews exegetic stratifications designed to mythicize the artist and impede effective understanding of his work. Setting aside all curiosity about Pascali as a man and his legend, the author examines his work in thematic and chronological terms, addresses the numerous interpretations put forward by critics and uses Pascali’s own statements to redefine the field of action and meaning of his visual language and trace its origins and precedents. While Magritte, Savinio and De Chirico constitute inescapable points of reference, Pascali is embedded in a wholly contemporary context, playful, iconoclastic and adaptable, looking forward to some avant-garde movements of the period and possessing an intuitive grasp of the relations between exhibition space, the theatrical nature of exhibition and the limits of sculpture. The book thus attempts the necessary operation of freeing Pino Pascali from his own myth and correcting a partial and misleading image. The reader will discover that the artist’s work is far less ingenuous, child-like, primordial and wild than previously believed.
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Pino Pascali

Il libero gioco della scultura

Marco Tonelli

pages: 144 pages

Pino Pascali blazed like a shooting star in the history of Italian art. Born in Bari in 1935 and killed just thirty-three years later in a car crash, he is regarded as one of Italy’s most innovative avant-garde artists of the post-war period together with Boetti and Manzoni. Despite his very short career, he won almost unanimous acclaim in his li
La Scuola di Düsseldorf - Fotografia contemporanea tedesca
Photography has come to be identified internationally with the artistic production of Düsseldorf over the last few decades, and the consolidated Düsseldorf School today epitomizes excellence in its highly varied and innovative practice of the medium. The extraordinary success of this phenomenon, developed in a very precise geographic and artistic context, has not given rise as yet, however, to in-depth examination. This book intends to fill the gap with an organic study of a German movement that is comparable in terms of global impact and resonance solely to the Bauhaus in the 1920s. It all started with Bernd and Hilla Becher, who inaugurated the photography course at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in 1976, precisely when their “typologies” were gaining recognition on the national and international artistic scene. Starting from the renewal of documentary photography pursued by the Bechers with the utmost coherence and commitment, the three generations of artists of the Düsseldorf School have broadened the photographic horizons considerably, venturing with their works into the spheres of multimedia experimentation and digital art. Highly prized on the market and sought after by the world’s leading museums, the works of the Bechers’ former students shed light today on the future developments of the art of photography. Eleven different aesthetic stances and eleven very personal approaches to harnessing the medium’s potential are gathered together in a book that presents the most significant photographs selected jointly with the individual artists concerned. The text by Stefan Gronert (1964) examines the phenomenon and focuses on the members of the Düsseldorf School. An art historian, curator at the Bonn Kunstmuseum since 1993, teacher in the art history department of Bonn University since 2001 and lecturer in the universities of Dresden and Cologne, Gronert has written numerous publications and papers on the photography of the 20th and 21st century.Preface by Lothar Schirmer.
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La Scuola di Düsseldorf

Fotografia contemporanea tedesca

Stefan Gronert

pages: 320 pages

Photography has come to be identified internationally with the artistic production of Düsseldorf over the last few decades, and the consolidated Düsseldorf School today epitomizes excellence in its highly varied and innovative practice of the medium. The extraordinary success of this phenomenon, developed in a very precise geographic and artistic
Macchina e stella - Tre studi su arte, storia dell'arte e clandestinità: Duchamp, Johns, Boetti
The machine and the star, emblems bequeathed by Duchamp to the second half of the 20th century, provide the basis for three short essays on the theme of inspiration and its intermittency, a crucial point for the modernist tradition that is often overlooked by scholars. Michele Dantini seeks to shed new light on the metaphor of the artist as machine and how the first ready-mades (c. 1913) undermined the creative process as an ordered professional routine that had traditionally characterized the transposition of idea into image. Though liberating in some respects, this revolution also had alarming implications experienced in all their urgency by the Art Informel generation. How to find protection against the discontinuity of inspiration? How to endow interior time with duration if everything boils down to the unrepeatable exceptionality of the instant? Ranging from the American movements of the 1950s to Conceptual Art and Arte Povera, Michele Dantini focuses on three fundamental stages, namely Duchamp’s “monster works”, the flags and the rotating devices of Jasper Johns, and the drawings and embroideries of Arrigo Boetti. The reinvention of the artist’s profession is analyzed step by step: the curious adoption of the ready-made in order to restore plausibility and vigour to traditional techniques; the indefinite dilation of the time of execution: the art of repetition and the creation of satisfying routines (series, catalogues and encyclopaedias) through “automatic” procedures that are impersonal and can even be delegated. It is the task of the “wretched viewers” and their perspicacity to identify continuity in transition within the works, to reconstruct the underlying metaphors and “to interpret a routine suddenly swept clean of recognizable points of reference and techniques”.
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Macchina e stella

Tre studi su arte, storia dell'arte e clandestinità: Duchamp, Johns, Boetti

Michele Dantini

pages: 96 pages

The machine and the star, emblems bequeathed by Duchamp to the second half of the 20th century, provide the basis for three short essays on the theme of inspiration and its intermittency, a crucial point for the modernist tradition that is often overlooked by scholars. Michele Dantini seeks to shed new light on the metaphor of the artist as machine

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