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Foreign Rights

For publishing rights enquiries: ufficiodiritti@johanandlevi.com 

Books available for translation:

L'archivio d'artista

Princìpi, regole e buone pratiche

publisher: Johan & Levi

pages: 464 pages

Tied to memory, archives have always spoken to the need to collect and safeguard evidence of the past. An artist’s archives are critically important both to preserving material evidence of participation in certain cultural circles and to determining, defending and certifying the authenticity of works while ensuring they can be accessed and shared

Il Novecento di Baudelaire

L'arte evanescente

Adolfo Tura

publisher: Johan & Levi

pages: 120 pages

The focus of this essay is an evolutionary moment in painting driven by the modern age which Charles Baudelaire contributed to ushering in. In his insightful observations on culture, he did not simply admire and comment on many of the leading painters of his day, but also foresaw, and even encouraged, a new art whose first audacious manifestations
Whether alone or in company, aware or unaware of being observed, rebellious or ironic, innocent or sensual, figures seen from behind speak a language that enchants us and constitute a constant presence in the history of art. The first to turn her back on us was the Flora of Stabia in Roman times, a symbolic bridge between the profiles of ancient Egypt and the Italian painting of the 14th century, the period in which subjects seen from behind first appeared. Recurrent presences during the Renaissance but mostly in group scenes, they came to the fore in the 17th century thanks to Flemish painting. And while geishas in Japan have concealed their faces from time immemorial but left their necks exposed as a point of access to carnal intimacy, it was in the 19th century and in the West that the back of the head became a focal point and indeed a pictorial and literary leitmotif on a par with the Rückenfigur, the icon of romantic contemplation. In the 20th century, the world seen from behind offered eccentric and shattering visions and presented a new perspective on art and its viewers. Eleonora Marangoni’s figures seen from behind are chosen from the spheres of literature and photography, cinema and painting, video art and comic books over the centuries, grouped together by association or presented in iconic isolation. Elucidating their symbolic character and poetic significance, she demonstrates that the power of these images is born out of what they do not say, out of the inexhaustible outpouring of the imagination to which they give rise.
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Viceversa

Il mondo visto di spalle

Eleonora Marangoni

publisher: Johan & Levi

pages: 160 pages

Whether alone or in company, aware or unaware of being observed, rebellious or ironic, innocent or sensual, figures seen from behind speak a language that enchants us and constitute a constant presence in the history of art. The first to turn her back on us was the Flora of Stabia in Roman times, a symbolic bridge between the profiles of ancient E

Autobiografia di un impostore

narrata da Laura Leonelli

Paolo Ventura

publisher: Johan & Levi

pages: 152 pages

There was once an impostor. There was once Paolo Ventura, photographer, painter, and set and costume designer. There was once because this autobiography is actually a fairy tale in which every reader will find something of their own story, their childhood and their city, if they were born in Milan, and Milan equals one hundred years of Italian life
One day, between three and two and a half million years ago, an Australopithecus was wandering in the Makapan valley in South Africa when something suddenly caught his attention. It was a pebble of jasper, whose appearance, shaped by the work of natural agents, made it look like a human skull. Three cavities on a rounded surface and lo, a face appeared: in a world that until then had been limited to pure existence, this was the first “image” ever to be born. Our ability to see figures in stones or clouds presupposes an innate faculty in man: to misinterpret reality wisely in order to give it meaning. Since the Paleolithic period, this delirium of interpretation, to cite Dalí, has never ceased to have repercussions on artistic production, making those who practice it a “seer”. But if it is true that from the sputum on the walls of a hospital Piero di Cosimo could make out battle scenes, the twentieth century also produced a counter-movement: allowing a figure to degenerate into a stain, the doors of anti-clairvoyance swung open. Max Ernst’s obsession with cracks in the shapeless, living material of wood for his famous frottages, and Pierre Bonnard’s predilection for domestic scenes in which the usual contours dissolve into illegibility thus reveal themselves to be two sides of the same coin. These two trends are linked to Jean Dubuffet’s work, which with its imprints, the result of the random impression of crumbs, salt and dust on a slab, and his textures – in which even a beard ends up becoming an incongruous visual experience – have given substance to the propensity of contemporary art to disrupt our gaze on reality. Making Dubuffet his fil rouge, in his acute yet unpredictable way Adolfo Tura pursues the thousand paths of art, philosophy and literature (to name but a few) in which clairvoyance and anti-clairvoyance emerge as apparently antithetical tools that are capable of whispering answers to the same twentieth-century anxieties.
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Breve storia delle macchie sui muri

Veggenza e anti-veggenza in Jean Dubuffet e altro Novecento

Adolfo Tura

publisher: Johan & Levi

pages: 111 pages + 4 (inserto)

One day, between three and two and a half million years ago, an Australopithecus was wandering in the Makapan valley in South Africa when something suddenly caught his attention. It was a pebble of jasper, whose appearance, shaped by the work of natural agents, made it look like a human skull. Three cavities on a rounded surface and lo, a face appe
An anomalous figure on the Italian and international scene and a pioneering experimenter in the fields of painting, photography and cinema, Paolo Gioli (b. 1942) creates timeless images, concentrating a vast iconography into a series of virtuoso operations with artistic and photographic techniques. His work shatters all disciplinary constraints and develops like a complex of interweaving reflections that involve numerous fields. From the painting and nude studies of the early 1960s in Venice and the discovery of the artistic avant-garde, photography and experimental cinema after a stay in the United States all the way through over half a century of prolific and magmatic activity, Gioli has always operated as a kind of media archaeologist, combining the study of images and observation of the human body in its anatomical, aesthetic, ideological and erotic aspects. While his early films establish an essential analogy between celluloid and skin as a sensitive interface between the self and the world outside, his Polaroid transfers use the body and parts of it as a way of examining the history and theoretical foundations of photography. Other cycles of works – like the self-portraits, the “unknowns” and the “dissolute” and “luminescent” figures – blaze an existential and narrative trail that crosses the boundaries into cinema in the same way as some of his film, e.g. the “stenopeic” and “contact” series, are photographic operations in terms of conception and structure. This study retraces Gioli’s activities from the beginning to the present, systematically investigating their complex ramifications in terms of media and interweaving historical and theoretical reflections with the artist’s analytical description of his working methods.
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Paolo Gioli

Cronologie

Giacomo Daniele Fragapane

publisher: Johan & Levi

pages: 142 pages

An anomalous figure on the Italian and international scene and a pioneering experimenter in the fields of painting, photography and cinema, Paolo Gioli (b. 1942) creates timeless images, concentrating a vast iconography into a series of virtuoso operations with artistic and photographic techniques. His work shatters all disciplinary constraints and
The history of art, as Benjamin wrote, is a history of prophecies. Certain works of art can only be understood when the circumstances that they anticipated have matured. The century of the avant-garde movements was teeming with subversive enterprises, but there are some whose telluric power jolted modernity forever, creating a new paradigm to fill in the cracks. In fact, the seed of the contemporary first took root in one precise moment: the exhibition of Duchamp’s Fountain. The artist had bought a typical urinal in a plumbing supply shop in New York and sent it to the Society of Independent Artists exhibit in 1917, paying six dollars for the privilege to exhibit. The radical break was visible to all: indeed, the very nature of art was being brought into question. After this “alien spore” of non-art, the movement mushroomed through the continuous and systematic transgression of the limits of art. Exploring – to use Arthur Danto’s term – the art world of the dramatic catastrophes of the 20th century, this book recounts the stories behind revolutionary works, inseparable from the personalities and ideas of their authors, precariously balanced between provocation and prophecy. We learn, for instance, that the disconcerting rigour of Cage’s 4'33' of silence has everything to do with the emphasis on the conceptual and the obliteration of the boundary between art and life; that the impetuous Klein’s experiments with the void and Manzoni’s acerbic paradoxical works inaugurate the practice of constructing the myth of the artist, which becomes a work of art in and of itself, and that Warhol’s iconic Brillo Box upends the modernist hierarchies, spectacularly manifesting the cultural turning point that would come to be known as the postmodern. Luigi Bonfante reveals the importance of a retroactive vision able to recognize the most relevant characteristics of the contemporary in these fractures while simultaneously interpreting the ambiguity of the present, without being seduced by the unsolvable question dominating today’s aesthetic: Are we on the brink of an apocalypse or a regeneration?
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Catastrofi d'arte

Storie di opere che hanno diviso il Novecento

Luigi Bonfante

publisher: Johan & Levi

pages: 184 pages

The history of art, as Benjamin wrote, is a history of prophecies. Certain works of art can only be understood when the circumstances that they anticipated have matured. The century of the avant-garde movements was teeming with subversive enterprises, but there are some whose telluric power jolted modernity forever, creating a new paradigm to fill
October 1937. As a fruitful conversation at the White House between President Roosevelt and Vittorio Mussolini was drawing to a close, the former expressed the hope that he would meet Vittorio’s father: “One day we must meet”. These were encouraging words for Mussolini’s son, dazzled by the American way of life and there to represent the younger modernist spirit of Fascism.  At the time, the “great country” was becoming ever more frequently a key mediator at the centre of the dense network that was parallel diplomacy. Modern art and architecture were used persistently and pervasively by the Fascist government as cultural ambassadors to create myths that would seduce the masses and win over public opinion. It was a practice that created opportunities and tangible results: on one hand, the imposing national pavilions built for the iconic 1933 World’s Fair in Chicago, on the other, the great exhibitions of contemporary art – Casorati, Sironi, Levi, Carrà and de Chirico, among others – alongside the celebrated old masters, whose artworks were sent on daring transatlantic journeys thanks to the enterprising spirit of the likes of Dario Sabatello, Mimì Pecci Blunt and Giulio Carlo Argan.Sergio Cortesini focusses appropriately on the re-evocation of place and on the lively cultural climate of the period. He draws on hundreds of previously unpublished documents to look back at the course of Italian modern art in America between 1933 and 1941. From the early successes he goes on to describe the steady deterioration in political relations up to the final tragic moment when Italy entered the war. This event marked the end of all illusions of grandeur: the pavilions were demolished and the artwork was put into storage. For those who sincerely believed in an Italianismo that could be expressed through the forms of modern aesthetics and the renewed communicative power of national art, Roosevelt’s words were destined to be lost in translation.
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One day we must meet

Le sfide dell’arte e dell’architettura italiane in America (1933-1941)

Sergio Cortesini

publisher: Johan & Levi

pages: 325 pages

October 1937. As a fruitful conversation at the White House between President Roosevelt and Vittorio Mussolini was drawing to a close, the former expressed the hope that he would meet Vittorio’s father: “One day we must meet”. These were encouraging words for Mussolini’s son, dazzled by the American way of life and there to represent the yo
The legend of the Etruscans has stood the test of time over centuries. Since the 15th century, when Leon Battista Alberti was one of the first to reassess the Tuscan order, to more recent years that saw the first major exhibitions, interest in this enigmatic civilization has never faltered. It has, however, been fed by such very different instances – depending on whether the point of view was that of academics or of artists and writers – that one can talk of two distinct Etrurias: a “scientific” one, which from the 19th century and with the important excavations of the early 20th century became ever more precisely and clearly defined, and an “evoked”, imagined Etruria, as fantastical as it was irretrievable.This is the Etruria of painters and sculptors: of Enrico Prampolini, who lent his avant-garde skills to a magazine on the subject; of Arturo Martini, Massimo Campigli and Marino Marini, who, each with their own accents, claimed direct descent; of artists apparently remote from this world, such as the French Edgar Degas and the English Henry Moore; and of figures that occupied what were considered marginal territory (e.g. ceramics) such as Gio Ponti and Roberto Sebastian Matta.Martina Corgnati takes the reader on a long well-structured journey from the end of the 19th century to the threshold of the 21st century, through hybridization and rewriting of the past, adopting more or less explicit suggestion and precise references. There are also forays into the literary debate, particularly lively in Italy, where a foundation myth more authentically italic in respect of Greek or Roman ones has always been fertile terrain. Through the prism of the “Etruscan phenomenon” one can see the art of the 20th century in a new light, exploring the various paths in the shadow of this ancient people.
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L'ombra lunga degli etruschi

Echi e suggestioni nell'arte del Novecento

Martina Corgnati

publisher: Johan & Levi

pages: 240 pages

The legend of the Etruscans has stood the test of time over centuries. Since the 15th century, when Leon Battista Alberti was one of the first to reassess the Tuscan order, to more recent years that saw the first major exhibitions, interest in this enigmatic civilization has never faltered. It has, however, been fed by such very different instances
The story of the tableaux vivant is as old as Pygmalion immortalized by Ovid. A story that unfolds over the centuries, encompassing practices as far removed from each other as medieval sacre rappresentazioni – which became increasingly profane from one celebration to the next – and the most recent video installations by Bill Viola that recreate Pontormo’s Mannerist visions. They are static figurations in which models or actors, arranged in expressive poses, reproduce the image of famous paintings or sculptures. What is more, all tableaux vivants are based on art, not life. And perhaps because of this status as art born out of art, what’s more contaminated by popular genres and subgenres, the art of “living pictures” has often been deemed to be one of the secondary visual arts.  However, it has managed to survive by keeping up with changing times and cultural mores, boosted by the trait that has always marginalized it: the fact that it cannot be traced back to any specific set of rules, fluctuating tirelessly between academic regulations and pure entertainment. In this perennial renewal, the tableau vivant also becomes merged with photographic and film experiments (from Rejlander and von Gloeden to Artaud and Pasolini), dance and theatre (from Isadora Duncan to Grotowski) and has even been incarnated in performances by Luigi Ontani, Gilbert & George and Cindy Sherman. The profusion of names who continue to devote themselves to it shows how the genre, which is now a permanently consolidated part of the repertoire of contemporary languages, is more alive than ever today. Flaminio Gualdoni takes us on a sparkling, cultured and bubbly excursion packed with lascivious anecdotes and unforgettable figures,  such as Lady Hamilton, a comely young woman with a tumultuous past who, as the bride of her Pygmalion, became an expert in impersonating figures from classical iconography: her attitudes, slow silent pantomimes praised by Goethe, eternalized by Tischbein and admired by aristocrats, artists and writers, encode the genre within a horizon situated between the respectability of art, the bon ton of bourgeois taste and sexual marketing.
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Corpo delle immagini, immagini del corpo

Tableaux vivants da san Francesco a Bill Viola

Flaminio Gualdoni

publisher: Johan & Levi

pages: 192 pages

The story of the tableaux vivant is as old as Pygmalion immortalized by Ovid. A story that unfolds over the centuries, encompassing practices as far removed from each other as medieval sacre rappresentazioni – which became increasingly profane from one celebration to the next – and the most recent video installations by Bill Viola that recreate
Well before the spread of social networks and recording methods turned all of us into potential archivists, contemporary artists came up with new cataloguing systems using the languages and media available to them, often taking inspiration from the visual compendia and “portable museums” of illustrious 19th century predecessors, such as Warburg’s Bilderatlas and Malraux’s imaginary museum. From Gerhard Richter’s atlas, a collection of thousands of images used as iconographic sources for painting, to Hanne Darboven’s album, a monumental cosmology that condenses personal history and collective memory, to Marcel Broodthaers’ museum, a clever critique of art institutions, to Hans Haacke’s archive, a method of research and socio-political commitment: the archival furore took possession of artistic practice. That behind every taxonomic urge is a desire for order, a search for identity, impatience with the traditional organization of knowledge and power, or simply a horror vacui that urges disposophobics to create sanctuaries for the banal, basically there is always a need to restore a deeper logic to relics and traces; collected, assembled and reinserted in a new context, they take on an unexpected value. So the archive is no longer just an inert pile of documents which gives rise to the unease that Derrida associated with the mnestic process, but becomes, in a Foucaultian sense, a critical device capable of regenerating the customary logic of safeguarding, using and spreading knowledge, of reactivating memory and political awareness. From this point of view, the artist becomes the principal actor of social and cultural change. In this book Cristina Baldacci ranges over the long, involved history of archives, putting together the rich mosaic of roles and meanings that the archive has assumed over time, elucidating its relevance as work of art, and therefore as a classification system that is atypical and, in a sense, impossible.   
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Archivi impossibili

Un'ossessione dell'arte contemporanea

Cristina Baldacci

publisher: Johan & Levi

pages: 224

Well before the spread of social networks and recording methods turned all of us into potential archivists, contemporary artists came up with new cataloguing systems using the languages and media available to them, often taking inspiration from the visual compendia and “portable museums” of illustrious 19th century predecessors, such as Warburg
The work of art and the space around it exist in a relationship of close interdependence: this essay looks at this symbiotic relationship by means of an extensive and detailed account of the major avant-garde installational and environmental experiments right up to the present. It traces the evolution of the art system and the itinerary that led to the post-modern paradox whereby the placing of any artefact in a particular context is, on its own, enough for it to be transformed into an artistic device. It is the chronicle of a relationship in constant tension, the one between text and context, between content and container. And testing it, bringing about the evolution, not only of art, but also of the characteristics of the exhibition spaces, are always and above all the most avant-garde artists. Their investigations are structured within a dense dialogue with real space, which is gradually involved in a constitutive way in the creation of the works. The first stage is to overcome the conventional limits of the pedestal and the frame: the painting, unadorned, comes into the world to receive fragments of reality within its enclosure. It cites the emblematic case of Fontana, who in the post-war years invaded the surrounding area to give life to the first works created using space and light alone. It moves on to the creation of installations that have a great impact on the environment – often site-specific with process artists, exponents of arte povera, conceptualists and land art among others. And finally reaches an awareness, nowadays totally taken for granted, that the work of art should find its raison d’être in relation to the setting and to the interplay between them. The discussion is both clear and systematic, also documenting the most paradigmatic exhibitions and international shows including the most recent ones. But nor does the author ignore the importance of the curators, now omnipresent figures due to their ability (real or presumed) to stage shows that are seen as creative productions in their own right, subordinating the space of the work of art to the space managed by them.
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Mettere in scena l'arte contemporanea

Dallo spazio dell'opera allo spazio intorno all'opera

Francesco Bernardelli, Francesco Poli

publisher: Johan & Levi

pages: 264 pages

The work of art and the space around it exist in a relationship of close interdependence: this essay looks at this symbiotic relationship by means of an extensive and detailed account of the major avant-garde installational and environmental experiments right up to the present. It traces the evolution of the art system and the itinerary that led to
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

publisher: Johan & Levi

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
If it can be said that every era has its own approach to collecting, the contemporary period is marked by a reciprocal bond with artistic practice, to the point that the two activities often overlap or even merge. Examples abound: from Joseph Cornell, who hunted down oddities to put in his mysterious boxes, to Claes Oldenburg, who exhibited a collection of sentimental items as a work in its own right; from Marcel Broodthaers, who was inspired by collecting to become an artist, to Hans-Peter Feldmann who, channelling Malraux, has long been cutting out, classifying and sticking images to create an unusual museum. Collecting is no longer just the preserve of non-artists accumulating large quantities of objects, but has become a means of expression for artists who gather things to construct works of art, inspired by Warburg’s notion of assemblage. From another point of view, collectors are artists who express themselves using images charged with symbolism that become an extension of their personas. As soon as the eye alights on them, the objects gain extra properties: stripped of their original function and knowingly combined, they interact in an organic whole that resists defacement. And thus the collection rises to the status of work of art. Eclectic, transversal and highly personal, these collections are poles apart from the closed, predestined world of museum collections. It is to this private, creative dimension that Elio Grazioli refers in his exploration of collecting, from the Wunderkammer to the collage and the assemblage: collecting not to serve a purpose, but to pursue a passion; a collection that is not a showcase but a game for aficionados who appreciate the unexpected. And this form of collecting is a practice that has much to teach the institutions, with its greater freedom and stonger urges.
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La collezione come forma d’arte

Elio Grazioli

publisher: Johan & Levi

pages: 128 pages

If it can be said that every era has its own approach to collecting, the contemporary period is marked by a reciprocal bond with artistic practice, to the point that the two activities often overlap or even merge. Examples abound: from Joseph Cornell, who hunted down oddities to put in his mysterious boxes, to Claes Oldenburg, who exhibited a colle
A prodigious sculptor skilled in creating images and narrating myths, Arturo Martini (1889-1947) gave himself over entirely to this “mysterious and egoistic” art that saps the energy of those who practise it, as the artist himself wrote.  A life without epic moments is completely given over to reinventing the iconography, to the extent that he could have said, with the poet Lucio Piccolo, “life comes to me in images”. A childhood afflicted by poverty and family arguments in a Treviso that was still mediaeval, the early talent at modelling clay, his employment while still a young boy in a goldsmith’s workshop, the unexpected bursary that allowed him to study in Venice with the sculptor Urbano Nono – these were the early milestones in the life of an individual born “in wretched circumstances” who was however destined to renew the plastic arts. The trajectory of his life then took him to Munich in 1909, a difficult time economically but with plenty of stimuli, and to Paris in 1912. At the same time, he was also one of the “rebels” of Ca’ Pesaro and was a signatory to Futurism. By the end of the war, Martini was already thirty years old and, although recognized as one of the best interpreters of the new classic ideals as represented in Novecento and Valori Plastici, he still struggled to maintain himself and his wife Brigida. Only as he approached 40 was he able to enjoy a period of happiness that coincided in 1930 with falling in love with Egle, and in 1931 with the legendary prize of 100,000 lire at the Quadriennale di Roma. In this period, he produced magnificent work in terracotta and executed new masterpieces in stone and in bronze. His period of serenity, however, came to an end with a volte-face. At the peak of his fame, and with unprecedented rage, Martini railed against sculpture and accused it of being a “dead language”. To this inexplicable rejection was added, mercilessly, illness and the humiliation of having to undergo a purge in 1945, which weakened him to the point that he died just short of 58 years old. Elena Pontiggia narrates the everyday and artistic events in Martini’s life with exemplary lucidity and clarity, embellishing the book with new information that sheds a new light on his artistic development.
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Arturo Martini

La vita in figure

Elena Pontiggia

publisher: Johan & Levi

pages: 304 pages

A prodigious sculptor skilled in creating images and narrating myths, Arturo Martini (1889-1947) gave himself over entirely to this “mysterious and egoistic” art that saps the energy of those who practise it, as the artist himself wrote.  A life without epic moments is completely given over to reinventing the iconography, to the extent that he
In Sironi's words, "Art does not need to be nice, it needs to be great", and what better way to describe his own paintings: depictions of city scenes as forbidding yet impressive as modern cathedrals. A Futurist from 1913, in the 1920s Mario Sironi (Sassari 1885 – Milan 1961) began painting the bleaker side of city life and contemporary society, creating cityscapes that nonetheless possess the dignity of classical architecture and monumental figures with the poise of ancient portraiture. With his modern take on classicism, he was one of the leading artists between the two wars: first with the Italian Novecento movement, which formed in Milan in 1922; then with the visionary dream of reviving fresco and mosaic.A personal friend of Mussolini's and early adopter of Fascism, Sironi's mural paintings of the 1930s gave form to the nationalist and social doctrine of the regime, though not its racial laws, which he never approved of. Yet his first love remained the decorative art of antiquity, inspired by witnessing "the magnificent ghosts of classical art" during his youth in Rome. And in any case, his powerful, harrowing works never became an art of state.Life was not kind to Sironi, who lost his father when he was only thirteen. He not only lived through the war but also depression, poverty, family problems, artistic controversy, and overwork to the point of burnout. He survived the fall of Fascism and the disintegration of his political ideals, only narrowly avoiding a summary execution (thanks to the intervention of Gianni Rodari, a member of the resistance but admirer of his), and experienced the tragic loss of his daughter Rossana, who committed suicide at the age of 18 in 1948. Yet his art represented a stubborn creative act in the face of life's (existential and historical) vicissitudes; at least until his late period, when, deserted by his dreams and illusions, he painted crumbling cities and visions of the Apocalypse.
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Mario Sironi

La grandezza dell'arte, le tragedie della storia

Elena Pontiggia

publisher: Johan & Levi

pages: 304 pages

In Sironi's words, "Art does not need to be nice, it needs to be great", and what better way to describe his own paintings: depictions of city scenes as forbidding yet impressive as modern cathedrals. A Futurist from 1913, in the 1920s Mario Sironi (Sassari 1885 – Milan 1961) began painting the bleaker side of city life and contemporary society,
Champion of a violently revolutionary art, Umberto Boccioni (1882-1916), painter and sculptor, is, jointly with Marinetti, the greatest exponent of Futurism and the first in his circle to have tapped into the new sensibility ushered in with the century of the machine and technology. It is no accident that Apollinaire immediately saw in him the theoretician of the group, the one who was to distil in the celebrated “striding figure” his investigation of an almost metaphysical dynamism of Aristotelian origin. Boccioni had a quick intellect and singular way of thinking, which ranged over every field. He had the characteristics of genius, he absorbed and processed his reading and experiences, remaking them in extraordinary inventions that fixed the principles of a new aesthetic. Although he followed in Balla’s wake during his apprenticeship in Rome, he was, however, the one to draw the maestro into the adventure that was the Futurist painters’ manifesto in 1910, to which Carrà, Severini and Russolo were signatories. They were a lively bunch with the poet Marinetti in the role of leader who missed no opportunity to launch his companions on the path to international fame, achieved in February 1912 with the first Futurist exhibition in avant-garde Paris. This was an event Boccioni had longed for more than anything and it brought all his expectations into focus. This was followed by London, Brussels and Berlin, before going back to the Italian tour of Futurist shows, where the young artist was to give further proof of his magnetic personality and keen intelligence. These qualities also had their effect on women, some of whom were well known, such as the art critic Margherita Sarfatti, the writer Sibilla Aleramo and Princess Vittoria Colonna Caetani, his final desperate passion. But prior to them was Ines, the woman immortalized in many portraits, a continuous thread running through Boccioni’s very brief existence. He signed up as a volunteer for the Great War, and died at the age of 34 when he was thrown from his horse. He left behind a mystery regarding his legacy – revealed in these pages – and a great heritage for the future of art.
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Umberto Boccioni

L’artista che sfidò il futuro

Gino Agnese

publisher: Johan & Levi

pages: 400 pages

Champion of a violently revolutionary art, Umberto Boccioni (1882-1916), painter and sculptor, is, jointly with Marinetti, the greatest exponent of Futurism and the first in his circle to have tapped into the new sensibility ushered in with the century of the machine and technology. It is no accident that Apollinaire immediately saw in him the theo

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