A virtual exhibition investigates the relationship between Carlo Levi and Italo Calvino

The Carlo Levi Foundation presents the virtual exhibition series "Around the World of Carlo Levi" from January 10, 2024. It starts with an exhibition on the relationship between Carlo Levi's pictorial work and Italo Calvino's art criticism interventions.

Starting January 10, 2024, the Carlo Levi Foundation will present a cycle of virtual exhibitions entitled Around the World of Carlo Levi, which, at irregular intervals, aims to recount the relationships between Carlo Levi and intellectuals, painters, writers, historians, art critics, as well as various personalities who have marked Italian and international culture. An itinerary that intends to put the character and thoughts of the protagonists in dialogue with Carlo Levi’s pictorial and literary production, but also with unpublished archival documents and photographs.

It starts with the virtual exhibition Carlo Levi and Italo Calvino: a “special predilection and friendship,” accessible to all on the Foundation’s institutional website, in the Virtual Exhibitions section.

The exhibition focuses on the relationship between Carlo Levi’s pictorial work and Italo Calvino’s interventions in art criticism. The relationship between the two was not always without shadows; in reviewing (1946) Fear of Freedom, Calvino called the author “a man of modern interests and outcomes but of outdated, reactionary sensibility.” It then developed into a “special fondness and friendship” around the mid-1950s, when Calvino, as well as a writer and editor at Einaudi, published a series of essays on Levi’s works that revealed interest in his output. Their friendship was definitely consolidated with the writing La compresenza dei tempi, which appeared in 1967 in Galleria, in which Calvino defines the recognition of the historical and literary importance of books, such as Christ Stopped at Eboli and The Clock.

In Calvino’s nonfiction production one can trace numerous interventions dedicated to Levi that are not limited to his literary activity alone, but also extend to his pictorial work. Calvino has always shown a particular predilection for visual art, fascinated by images and their communicative power, becoming also one of the most careful critics of Levi’s painting.

Thus, the exhibition aims to tell the story of the relationship between Calvino’s careful observations and Levi’s paintings, drawings and lithographs. The digital experience is proposed as a catalog in which it is possible to read an introductory text, browse through pictorial images selected from those presented by Calvino himself, scroll through quotes from the Ligurian writer describing Levi’s painting and a brief description of the paintings. Finally, it allows viewing some historical archival documents (invitations, catalogs, letters) digitized for the occasion and multimedia materials. The narrative intends to retrace Levi’s painting activity, from his youth to his maturity, accompanied by Calvino’s words.

The scientific project of the cycle Around the World of Carlo Levi is curated by Daniela Fonti and Antonella Lavorgna, the presentation text of the exhibition Carlo Levi and Italo Calvino: a “special predilection and friendship” is written by Luca Beltrami, the curator is Antonella Lavorgna. The activities of the Carlo Levi Foundation are carried out thanks to the grant given by the General Directorate of Education, Research and Cultural Institutes of the Ministry of Culture.

For info: www.carlolevifondazione.it

A virtual exhibition investigates the relationship between Carlo Levi and Italo Calvino
A virtual exhibition investigates the relationship between Carlo Levi and Italo Calvino

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