Six previously unpublished works by Giulio Paolini on display at the Accademia di San Luca in Rome

In Rome, the Accademia Nazionale di San Luca is dedicating an exhibition to Giulio Paolini: the artist, winner of the Praemium Imperiale 2022, will be presented at Palazzo Carpegna from April 19 to July 15, 2023, with six new works.

TheNational Academy of San Luca presents from April 19 to July 15, 2023 the exhibition Giulio Paolini. A come Accademia, conceived by Marco Tirelli and Antonella Soldaini and curated by her. The exhibition is realized under theHigh Patronage of the President of the Republic. The exhibition, promoted and organized by the Accademia Nazionale di San Luca, opens just a few months after the artist was awarded the Praemium Imperiale for Painting 2022 (here is the interview Finestre sull’Arte had done with Paolini just after the awarding of the prize), and takes on, as Claudio Strinati, the Academy’s Secretary General, said: “an emblematic sense because it stands as yet another and happy confirmation of Giulio Paolini’s supreme artistic merits, which have very few terms of comparison in the artistic panorama of our time.”

The artist presents six new works specially created for Palazzo Carpegna, where the public is guided through a conceptual itinerary composed of different media-painting, photography and sculpture-that create an analytical and poetic space. An exhibition that investigates art in its essential components - the artist, the work, the institution, the public and the relationship with history - hosted not by chance inside the Accademia Nazionale di San Luca, which with this exhibition intends to show the process of transparent sedimentation of the making of the work, in which the past represents both the future of artistic creation and the very basis on which it stands.

In the words of Academy President Marco Tirelli, “The blood of the Academy is the Artists. The Artists of the present, who bring it to life and direct its meaning, the Artists of the past who are the pillars of the tower from which we can observe the world today, and the Artists of the future who will build the next floors of the tower by determining its height of vision.”

It is precisely for these reasons that Giulio Paolini more than others best expresses the dualism that binds the work to the word, beauty to the artist’s gaze, understanding to the public’s reading, and questions the current meaning and value of academic teaching: “In the face of an increasingly noisy present, the constant alarms or amplified exultations of the world of communication,” the artist declares in his text drafted for the exhibition, "I believe it is necessary to formulate a mute response and recall, at least by way of example, the splendid stillness of the ancient academies of the Platonic school.

“The questions posed since the beginning of his activity, which began in the 1960s,” stresses the curator, Antonella Soldaini, “concerning the role of the artist, his relationship with the work of art, the ineffability and impregnability of the latter, the position of us as observers towards the art object, the influence of history and the tireless need to make room for the new, resonate once again and with poetic poignancy in the exhibition at the Academy.”

As Marco Tirelli writes: "Paolini’s work brings us back (or rather keeps us), therefore, in a high, reflective, deep, enigmatic, metaphysical vision of art and, in its lightness, restores weight, meaning and interrogative value to Art. His research questions the nature of artistic expression and the role of its performer, which poses enigmas and presents his work as part of a long continuum with every artist who has ever existed and exists.

Introducing the visit to the enclosed spaces of the Academy is the work Al di là (2022), a flag installed on the balcony in the center of the facade of Palazzo Carpegna and on whose fabric is reproduced the effigy of a muse caught in the moment of throwing some frames into the sky. An image that invites you to cross the threshold of the exhibition and discover what lies within those rooms.

In the first room on the ground floor, the exhibition A come Accademia (I) (2010-23) opens, which, as the artist himself writes: "evokes a short history (a few centuries!) aimed at addressing right here the most diverse aspects but concentrated in only one: that is, what is, has been or will be, the ’rule’ always kept silent and still relevant to conceive or observe a work of art. The body of Sisyphus (the Artist) plummets to the ground (on the working plane) ready to renew the test (the work) without being able to give up the undertaking."

The next two rooms display A as Academy (II ) (2023) and A as Academy (III) (2023), two variations of the same theme: in fact, all three versions occupy rectangular surfaces of equal size. A as Academy (II) reflects on the double and the fragment through plaster casts of a female figure, while A as Academy (III) is characterized by a theatrical dimension, an evocation of the artist’s atelier.

Leaving the third room and walking along the portico, set alongside the Accademia garden and preceding the festooned columns that introduce the helicoidal staircase by Francesco Borromini (the creator of the renovation of the palace between 1630 and 1640), one encounters In cornice (2023), a plaster female statue placed on a base and surrounded by a set of frames arranged around the figure and dropped to the ground. Only one of them, of larger format, is fixed to the wall, the only one to find its proper place.

Leaving the arcade of the Academy and going up to the second floor, one reaches the large conference room where the last work in the exhibition is set up, Voyager (V) (1989-2023). This work consists of an open portable technograph hung upside down in the center of the room’s wooden ceiling, from which a number of sheets held by the same technograph fall. The work stands in direct relation to the space that houses it as the sheets offer photographic reproductions of details of the walls and the ceiling itself.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalog, published by Gangemi Editore, with an introduction by Marco Tirelli, an interview with Giulio Paolini by Antonella Soldaini and texts by Francesco Guzzetti, Giulio Paolini, Antonella Soldaini and Claudio Strinati.

For all information, you can visit the official website of the Accademia Nazionale di San Luca.

Six previously unpublished works by Giulio Paolini on display at the Accademia di San Luca in Rome
Six previously unpublished works by Giulio Paolini on display at the Accademia di San Luca in Rome

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