Fausto Melotti's ceramic production on display at the Ragghianti Foundation

The Ragghianti Foundation is hosting an exhibition on Fausto Melotti's ceramic production to commemorate the first meeting between Carlo Ludovico Ragghianti and the artist's ceramics.

From March 25 to June 25, 2023, the Ragghianti Foundation in Lucca presents the exhibition Fausto Melotti. Ceramics, curated by Ilaria Bernardi, to commemorate the first meeting between Carlo Ludovico Ragghianti and Fausto Melotti’s ceramics, and the 20th anniversary of the edition of the General Catalog of the artist’s ceramics.

In 1948 Carlo Ludovico Ragghianti wrote an essay in the catalog of the exhibition Handicraft as a fine art in Italy curated by Bruno Munari, hosted at the House of Italian Handicraft in New York. Among the works on display are Fausto Melotti’s ceramic vases, which together with works by Afro, Casorati, Consagra, de Pisis, Fontana, Fornasetti, Guttuso, Morandi and many others, were intended to demonstrate how the production of so-called applied arts in Italy was to be considered fine art to all intents and purposes.

The exhibition aims to be a journey through the works of an absolute protagonist of the Italian artistic renewal of the 20th century, recounting and deepening this production, wrongly considered secondary.

Sculptor, painter, draughtsman and poet, Fausto Melotti (Rovereto, 1901 - Milan, 1986) was a refined ceramist and, from after World War II until the early 1960s, in this technique he found a tool for the invention and transformation of his sculpture.

Produced in collaboration with the Fausto Melotti Foundation and the MIC - Museo Internazionale delle Ceramiche in Faenza, and with the contribution of the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Lucca and the patronage of the Region of Tuscany and the Province and Municipality of Lucca, the exhibition is divided into four sections. The first places and historicizes Melotti’s ceramic production within his life and activity, through an illustrated chronology from his birth in 1901 to his death in 1986. The chronology will be accompanied by display cases to house important documents from his archives related specifically to his ceramic production, including three of his notebooks never before exhibited. The second section will be devoted to the best-known types of ceramic sculptures conceived by the artist: from ceramics with a sacred character to bas-reliefs, from animals to female figures, from the so-called Onu to the Teatrini. Also among the works featured is the valuable Lettera a Fontana (1944), exhibited in 1950 at the Venice Biennale. In the third section, the video In the First Person. Painters and Sculptors. Fausto Melotti (1984), by Antonia Mulas, includes the only interview in which the artist, analyzing his own path and his conception of art, talks about ceramics. Anticipated by a focus on the multiform vases made by the artist, the last part of the exhibition’s itinerary includes different types of ceramics, such as cups, cups, lamps, and plates, which, although inspired by everyday objects, were conceived by the artist by releasing them from their function and making them true sculptures.

Alongside Melotti’s works will be exhibited those of important artists and designers with whom he directly or indirectly had contact, granted on loan by the MIC in Faenza, which holds the world’s largest collection of ceramic art: from Giacomo Balla to Lucio Fontana, from Leoncillo to Arturo Martini, from Enzo Mari to Bruno Munari, and again Gio Ponti, Emilio Scanavino, Ettore Sottsass and many others.

With this exhibition, the Ragghianti Foundation wishes not only to pay tribute to an artist who knew how to combine the classical tradition with the European avant-garde, scientific-mathematical knowledge with musical knowledge, poetic-literary skill with that of draftsman, painter and sculptor, but above all it wants to recall his multiform and innovative production in ceramics through an exhibition that, by identifying the most recurrent typologies, can outline a new mapping of what Germano Celant called the Melotti galaxy.

Accompanying the exhibition will be a book-catalogue published by Edizioni Fondazione Ragghianti Studi sull’arte, with reproductions of all the works on display, period documents and materials, and essays by Ilaria Bernardi, curator of the exhibition; Edoardo Gnemmi, director of the Fondazione Fausto Melotti; and Claudia Casali, director of MIC - Museo Internazionale delle Ceramiche in Faenza, and with a preface by the director of the Fondazione Ragghianti, Paolo Bolpagni.

For info: www.fondazioneragghianti.it

Image: Fausto Melotti in his Milan studio.

Fausto Melotti's ceramic production on display at the Ragghianti Foundation
Fausto Melotti's ceramic production on display at the Ragghianti Foundation

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