Bologna, MAMbo - Museo d'Arte Moderna
from 22nd January to 13th April 2009
Opening hours: tuesday - sunday 10.00 - 18.00; thursday 10.00 - 22.00
Ticket prices: full price euro 6,00, concessions euro 4,00
Nothing is abstract in my view: moreover, I believe that there is nothing more surreal and more abstract than reality." The life of Giorgio Morandi (1890-1964) was apparently "abstract" since it was all enclosed within the silence of his studio in Via Fondazza. He rarely emerged from his city Bologna; during the last stages of his life, Morandi even shied away from downtown strolls. Only one visit abroad has been reported: when he was getting along with his age, in 1956, he went on "pilgrimage" to Zurich in order to visit the retrospective anthology of his beloved Cézanne. Morandi spent his life in the constant and frantic search for a classic harmony of forms inserted within an immobile space and enhanced by grazing light. The art form of this painter from Bologna is expressed through objects that hang in space, immaterial and surprising in nature: abstract entities that are always identical to themselves and come to life by virtue of the artist's creativity, who knew how to render them different every time since his spiritual moments were always different. Still-life paintings, flowers, landscapes take the place of the human figure and allow the artist to capture the essence of reality, expressing a vision that is at times calm and regular, while at others is restless and at times even dramatic. A series of events definitely consecrate the renown of this solitary and pedantic artist, who experienced art as a practice of silence. The MAMbo - Museum of Modern Art in Bologna is hosting "Giorgio Morandi, 1890-1964", a retrospective anthology dedicated to the Maestro from Bologna, that is by far the most complete one on show over the past twenty-five years. Works belonging to American and Italian collections have been gathered together for the first time for the New York event, revealing unprecedented aspects of Morandi's art. The exhibition has been organized in collaboration with the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York. There are 116 paintings on show - including oil, tempera and water colours - that are divided chronologically and by subject, documenting the entire creative spectrum of the "reserved man who lives in Via Fondazza" (as he was described by the art critic, Cesare Bandi). The exhibition itinerary goes from his painting experiments at the beginning of his career (most of which were destroyed by the artist himself) that reveal the ephemeral curiosity and eternal passion of the young Morandi: the former is documented by "Nature morte di vetri" (1913) of cubism-futurism inspiration; while the latter is represented by the landscapes painted between 1913 and 1914 where form, defined by light and colour, tells of Morandi's attraction for Paul Cézanne. Subsequently come the still-lifes from the Twenties where meditating the works of Giotto, Masaccio, Paolo Uccello meet with the metaphysical themes of De Chirico and Carrŕ. It is the period of his "metaphysics of everyday objects": still-lifes where the perspectives are of prominent importance and the representation - of evanescent and enigmatical forms that evoke the spectral irony of De Chirico's paintings - is of disconcerting effect. A new Morandi was born during the Thirties. His essential and very pure palette produced the famous still-lifes that are pervaded by "a constant and relentless sense of meaning". At the close of the decade, Morandi's painting exploded with surprising shades of vivid reds, pearly strokes of white and turquoises studded with lapis lazuli. The exhibition includes the vivid still-lifes created from 1937 on and the unexpected landscapes that document the artist's vocation for seriality. The exhibition comes to a close with the works by the ultimate Morandi, those in which his art becomes ethereal, more and more essential and nearly abstract.