Omar Galliani's monographic exhibition of more than 100 works at Milan's Palazzo Reale

The Royal Palace of Milan is hosting Omar Galliani's monographic exhibition "Diacronica. Suspended Time" from July 13 to September 24, 2023. On display are more than 100 works by the master of drawing.

From July 13 to September 24, 2023, the Palazzo Reale in Milan hosts the monographic exhibition Omar Galliani. Diacronica. Il tempo sospeso, curated by Flavio Caroli and Vera Agosti, promoted by Comune di Milano-Cultura and produced and organized by Palazzo Reale and Archivio Omar Galliani.

The title of the Diacronica exhibition is borrowed from linguistics and refers to the study of languages in their historical development. The subtitle Suspended Time alludes to the endurance of the artist’s making, which in an increasingly digitized and dematerialized world, sustains the beauty of the physicality of the work of art.

The exhibition will be held on the main floor of the Palazzo Reale and will present more than one hundred works by Omar Galliani (Montecchio Emilia, Reggio Emilia, 1954), a master of drawing, from the late 1970s to the present. An excursus through Galliani’s works presented at the Venice, Paris, São Paulo, Prague, Tokyo, and Beijing Biennales, as part of museum exhibitions, with the addition of a selection of unpublished works, created especially for the Milan exhibition. In addition to the drawings, cast in the shimmering blackness of graphite and conveyed in the intimate dimension of paper or in the monumentality of the etched or scratched poplar board, there will also be a number of oil-on-canvas works that the artist painted in the 1980s and, thereafter, every winter, resulting in only one major pictorial work per year.

Leading the way will be thematic and emotional suggestions that curator Flavio Caroli divides into world universes: Symbolic Universe, Mythical Universe, Psychological Universe, Erotic Universe, Scientific Universe, and Landscape Universe.

“Galliani’s poetics today,” writes curator Vera Agosti, “takes inspiration from art history, fashion, cinema or simple everyday life, thanks to images encountered by chance, on the road, in airports in the East and West. And again the travels around the world, particularly in Asia, which contaminate his imagery and to which a large room of the Royal Palace is dedicated.”

The exhibition’s guiding image is De rerum natura (2020), a large panel painting that takes its title from the poem by Titus Lucretius Carus and depicts a young woman and a hummingbird, a symbol of conjunction between heaven and earth, between the physical and spiritual worlds.

Among the major works in the exhibition are Omar Roma Amor from 2012, a Siamese female head, a bifid spine, and a mirrored Colosseum, and Princess Lyu Ji in her fifteenth year, shown in the solo exhibition sponsored by Caffè Florian in Venice in 2014. The latter panel is based on an ancient legend that Galliani learned about in the locality of Xi’an. Roses and scissors, slippers and knives remain of the maiden, a visual synecdoche of femininity and narrative. In China the artist has exhibited in major museums, in twelve cities, and his connection to the East combined with the influence of those places and cultures on his work are well present in the exhibition.

It continues with a large Mantra from the 1990s, played out between the mystery of black graphite and the sacredness of etched gold leaf. Next, NGC/7419 from 2020-2021, a work born of a recurring dream following the loss of his son Maximilian, also an artist. One number kept coming back constantly in the mind: 7419; searching the web it turned out to be a set of stars in the constellation Cepheus, shaped like a pencil. The stars, of carbon and gold, shine in the pencil-on-board work, silent and lyrical witnesses to those mysteries we are not meant to know. Made in the days of lockdown, on the other hand, is the large installation Stolen Kisses / Covid 19, consisting of sixty drawings measuring 50x50 centimeters. These are the kisses that went missing during the period of the forced lockdown and social distancing. Passionate and sensual kisses, like cinematic ones, images taken from the web made delicate and dreamlike by the softness of charcoal and graphite iridescent according to the refraction of light. And it is precisely to light that the master dedicates his large triptych Riflessi of 2022-2023, a work unpublished in its entirety, which enshrines his relationship with landscape. Finally, Grande disegno italiano, a monumental work in pencil on poplar panel, exhibited at the Turin State Archives in 2005, in dialogue with a small Announcing Angel by Leonardo (featured in the preparatory study for the Virgin of the Rocks), on display at the Royal Library.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a corsiero editore catalog, edited by Vera Agosti, with previously unpublished texts by Flavio Caroli, Vera Agosti, Italo Tomassoni and Alessandra Tiddia, a critical contribution by Eleonora Frattarolo, poems by Giuseppe Conte, Maurizio Cucchi, Seamus Heaney, Guido Oldani, Gian Ruggero Manzoni, Alda Merini, Roberto Mussapi, Alban Nikolai, Davide Rondoni, Massimo Silvotti and personal notes by Omar Galliani.

As part of the exhibition, several in-depth lectures will be held in September at the Natural History Museum and Planetarium.

For info:

Image: Omar Galliani, Stolen Kisses / Covid 19 (2020; charcoal and graphite on canvas, 300 x 500 cm)

Omar Galliani's monographic exhibition of more than 100 works at Milan's Palazzo Reale
Omar Galliani's monographic exhibition of more than 100 works at Milan's Palazzo Reale

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