Art and Fascism, Luigi Serafini, Etruscans in 20th century art: exhibitions 2024 at Mart in Rovereto

The Mart in Rovereto presented its exhibition program for 2024: it ranges from art and fascism to the influence of Etruscan art on early 20th century Italian art.

Presented the exhibition program of Mart in Rovereto: coming up with major exhibitions ranging from art and fascism to Luigi Serafini to the influence of Etruscan art on early 20th century Italian art.

It starts with Felice Tosalli. Animals of Another Dream, which will open March 29 and remain on view until June 23, 2024. Based on an idea by Vittorio Sgarbi and curated by Alfonso Panzetta with Beatrice Avanzi, the exhibition is dedicated to Felice Tosalli (Turin,1883-1958), who distinguished himself as the main representative of animal sculpture in Italy, interpreting this genre with a refined, almost fairy-tale-like taste and often imbued with tenderness. The exhibition comprehensively explores Tosalli’s many areas of activity, ranging from sculpture to advertising to ceramic production, through a selection of about seventy works from prestigious public and private collections.
In the field of animal sculpture, the artist stands out for his originality and uniqueness, unparalleled in Europe. Critics now regard him as the most extraordinary of Italian animal sculptors, for his skill in the use of delicately watercolor wood, his profound knowledge of comparative anatomy, and his ability to convey empathy through his works. In his figurative sculptures, however, Tosalli demonstrates a profound international culture, with particular attention to the Central European cultural context.

It continues with Art and Fascism, scheduled from April 14 to September 1, 2024. The brainchild of Vittorio Sgarbi and curated by Beatrice Avanzi and Daniela Ferrari, the exhibition explores in detail the many intricate ways in which the fascist regime influenced artistic production in Italy, employing the language of art for propaganda purposes.
During the period of the Ventennio, the artistic field was characterized by considerable variety and diversity. In addition to the continuation of the avant-garde experimentation related to Futurism, a “return to order” emerged, which took shape in the Novecento Italiano movement, promoted by Margherita Sarfatti.
The return to antiquity, aimed at reaffirming Italian tradition, manifested itself in various forms, from the renewed interest in the old masters by the protagonists of the Italian Novecento to the more radical manifestations of a propaganda art intended to consolidate consensus. This same idea of harmony between tradition and modernity found support in the regime, which pursued the definition of a well-organized “system of the arts.”
In the same period, the new institutions of power became instruments for promotion through a language that embraced both classicism and rationalism, involving architecture, sculpture and mural art, reinvigorated under the impulse of a renewed celebratory will.
The exhibition calls to mind the main occasions when artists gave voice to the ideology, themes and myths of fascism through their participation in Biennales, Quadrennials, union exhibitions, competitions and public commissions. Through paintings, sculptures, documents and projects, the exhibition offers a look at more than 300 works created by artists and architects such as Mario Sironi, Carlo Carrà, Adolfo Wildt, Arturo Martini, Marino Marini, Massimo Campigli, Achille Funi, Fortunato Depero, Tullio Crali, Thayaht, Renato Bertelli and Renato Guttuso. Coming from public and private collections, these works will be placed in dialogue with some of the Mart’s great masterpieces and with numerous materials from the funds of the Archivio del ’900.

Instead, from April 14 to September 1, 2024, Pietro Gaudenzi will be on view. The Virtue of Women, from an idea by Vittorio Sgarbi, curated by Manuel Carrera and Alessandra Tiddia. With a selection of oil paintings and works on paper from prominent institutions and prestigious private collections, the exhibition offers a comprehensive overview of the artistic career of Genoese painter Pietro Gaudenzi (Genoa, 1880 - Anticoli Corrado, 1955). From the stages of his training between La Spezia, Genoa and Rome to the period when he retired to the village of Anticoli Corrado, Gaudenzi always remained faithful to realist figuration. Through a constant comparison with ancient painting, reinterpreted through twentieth-century sensibility, Gaudenzi tackled in his paintings the main themes of the artistic tradition: portraits, scenes of domestic life, maternity, still life and, only occasionally, landscapes.

Instead, the exhibition project curated by Andrea Cortellessa, Denis Isaia and Pietro Nocita, from an idea by Vittorio Sgarbi, will be dedicated to Luigi Serafini (Rome, 1949) and will run from June 14 to October 2024. Serafini has explored all artistic fields with the freedom typical of great visionaries, escaping the boundaries imposed by conventional categories and disciplines. His best-known work is the Codex Seraphinianus (published in 1981 by Franco Maria Ricci), a kind of “fantaencyclopedia” written in indecipherable handwriting and a nonexistent language that explores areas such as architecture, art, graphics, science, botany and more. Through a historiographical approach, the exhibition traces for the first time the entire creative path of Luigi Serafini, from his education to the Codex Seraphinianus experience; from his pictorial and sculptural works to the applied arts, which place him among the protagonists of Italian postmodernism. The exhibition also highlights the connections between Serafini and some forerunners of the fantastic and utopian, such as Paolo Soleri, Giorgio de Chirico, Alberto Savinio, Alfred Jarry, and Raymond Roussel, and fellow adventurers, such as the Memphis Group, Federico Fellini, Umberto Eco, and Italo Calvino.

From October 18, 2024 to January 26, 2025, the Mart in Rovereto will host, after the GAM in Turin (April 24-September 15, 2024), the exhibition Italo Cremona. Everything else is deep night, from an idea by Vittorio Sgarbi, curated by Giorgina Bertolino, Daniela Ferrari and Elena Volpato. An anthological exhibition that intends to retrace Italo Cremona ’s entire career through about a hundred paintings and a selection of drawings and etchings, from the first youthful trials of the mid-1920s to the works of the first half of the 1970s, from still lifes close to the atmospheres of Magic Realism to the visionary nature of the “independent surrealist,” as he liked to call himself. Italo Cremona, painter-writer, versatile and eccentric intellectual, explored in his art and writings the “Shadow Zone,” as highlighted in his book of the same name published by Einaudi in the white series of “Coralli.” All the rest is deep night becomes the title-guide, the key to explore an exhibition itinerary that highlights the most current and contemporary aspects of Cremona’s work and his figure as an unconventional intellectual, active in multiple creative spheres. Indeed, the nocturne represents one of his central themes, an expressive, existential and philosophical condition that generates dreams, nightmares, visions and fantastic images.

Finally, the 2024 exhibition program will conclude with Etruschi del Novecento, an exhibition from an idea of Vittorio Sgarbi, curated by Lucia Mannini, Anna Mazzanti and Alessandra Tiddia, which will be on view from Dec. 6, 2024 to March 16, 2025. The exhibition will explore theinfluence of Etruscan art on early 20th century Italian art, with a focus on the interwar period. Thanks to extraordinary archaeological finds, such as the discovery of the Apollo of Veio in 1916, studies, conferences were developed, and articles and books enriched with extensive illustrative apparatus were published. The dense, concise, sincere and “primitive” style of the mysterious Etruscan people, together with the characteristics of the techniques used in terracotta, metals, and wall and vase painting, fascinated numerous artists, frequent visitors to archaeological museums. Through different visual languages, the exhibition tells how the spread of styles, forms and materials influenced the work of artists such as Arturo Martini, Marino Marini, Massimo Campigli, Giacomo Manzù, Mirko Basaldella and many others. From the discovery of the Apollo of Veio to the 1950s, with some significant chronological extensions to the present day, with works by artists such as Alberto Giacometti, Henry Moore, Mimmo Paladino, Michelangelo Pistoletto and Pablo Picasso. The exhibition explores some of the main iconographic themes derived from Etruscan antiquity and the renewed use of traditional techniques, from terracotta to bucchero, spanning sculpture, painting, fashion, graphic arts and applied arts. From the turn of the century with the “Etruscan myth,” to which Gabriele d’Annunzio contributed greatly, to recent decades, the exhibition aims to restore the idea of a multifaceted and enduring fascination. The exhibition will also include period photographic reproductions and a selection of archaeological finds.

Art and Fascism, Luigi Serafini, Etruscans in 20th century art: exhibitions 2024 at Mart in Rovereto
Art and Fascism, Luigi Serafini, Etruscans in 20th century art: exhibitions 2024 at Mart in Rovereto

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