Ultraromanticism is staged in Modena and province, amid restlessness and abandonment, with 50 contemporary artists

In the province of Modena a large group exhibition in six acts involving about fifty contemporary artists. A project to enhance contemporary artistic research and places of culture and the sacred.
From October 17, 2021 to January 16, 2022, the six-act group exhibition entitled Ultraromanticism will be held in the province of Modena. The Post Human, Between Unrest and Abandonment, which will lead the public to discover the museum venues and historical and architectural treasures of the province of Modena, thanks to the artworks created by about fifty contemporary artists including painting, sculpture, photography, video, installation, and ceramics.
Promoted by the municipalities of Castelnuovo Rangone, Pavullo nel Frignano, Castelfranco Emilia, Savignano sul Panaro, Spilamberto and Vignola, in collaboration with the cultural association Ricognizioni sull’arte, the project aims to be an example of a territorial network in the Italian scene, based on sharing and aimed at the enhancement of contemporary artistic research and places of culture and the sacred.
Produced with the support of BPER Banca and Galleria Ossimoro, the exhibition is curated by Sergio Bianchi, Alessandro Mescoli, Massimiliano Piccinini, Federica Sala, Laura Solieri and Andrea Barillaro, independent curators who are part of the cultural association Ricognizioni sull’arte.
“We believe that this exhibition mainly implies a feeling,” the curators explain. “A kind of untranslatable feeling that unites us, in the result, through cultural drifts and visual affections. Aspects that alone are not enough to narrate the objectification, justifying it, of an exhibition like this, but are its origin. Then there is a hidden and animist fulcrum that we intend to explore and renew in the visitor, consisting of the themes proper to Romantic thought, the historical, nineteenth-century one, transited down to us through painting and readings. Themes dear to man, a semantics of enchantment impossible to realize in the absence of places dense with history such as churches and ancient palaces. From the poetics of fog, so Emilian and Ossian at the same time, to the serenity of a melancholy without sadness, to the fascination of abandonment: of a place, of man, anatomically articulated on the threshold of time, between ruin and rediscovery, or of its wrecks. A special attention to the images of the unconscious and mystery, in the whole of which even sacredness understood as a hidden secret guarded by pigment (and the painter’s actions) will not be absent. As the last landing place remains the grotesque, also mediated by the change of the body. Bodily and prosthetic extensions as simulacra, often still in search of a new and taxonomic classification of the different, is delivered to us by these ”modern Prometheus“ in the form of artwork.”

The exhibition will be divided into four macro-themes: “The Body,” between fragmentation, anatomy, aberration and diversity; “The Landscape/Nature,” between sense of the sublime, ruinism, cataloguing and the transience of life; “Man/Romantic Hero,” with special attention to the past, to the recovery of lost cultures and civilizations between utopia and ideals; “The Unconscious,” between automatic writing, dream, mystery and new rituals.
“The desire, and above all the need, to open oneself to one’s unconscious in search of answers and solutions became unashamedly apparent during the artistic-literary period of Romanticism but has always (more or less explicitly) been an essential characteristic of artists, as indeed of every human being,” comments Giorgia Bergantin. “Artists constantly know and live the moment of launching themselves beyond the void, the enormity and the abyss, those heights in which the soul is caught up in very fine eddies and plummets. Incalculable greatnesses,” adds Enrico Turchi, “before which the very idea of infinity escapes.” “How-that is, from where, by what route, according to what chrisms-does our body possess (i.e., incorporate) its phantoms?” wonders Mattia Cattaneo. “How much and how does the contemporary conception of Nature come close to the Romantic one? Starting from the analysis of the works in the exhibition,” explains Maria Chiara Wang, “the main aspects that today’s artists have in common with those of yesterday will be highlighted: thus, we will come to talk about the sublime and the picturesque, vanitas and ruin, solitude and abandonment, sacredness, interiority and intuition.” “The Romantic spirit,” Eleonora Brizi concludes, “is alive and breathing even in the most contemporary forms and languages.”

In the different exhibition venues, works by established masters will be presented alongside works created by young artists selected by the curators. Along with the researches of contemporary authors, works from the 18th and 19th centuries by Felice Giani, Luigi Manzini, Giuseppe Obici and Giovan Battista Piranesi from the Ossimoro Gallery and private collections will also be on display. Also on display will be the Canapè del Duca, a famous dormeuse that belonged to the Dukes of Este.

The first section of the exhibition will be inaugurated on Sunday, Oct. 17, at 11:30 a.m. at Spazio CRAC and the Oratorio della Provvidenza in Castelnuovo Rangone. While Jessica Ferro’s paintings will be on display at the CRAC, a digital work by Ben Snell, visible from outside the church through an ancient jealousy, will be set up inside the Oratory. CRAC (Castelnuovo Rangone Arte Contemporanea) is a space that, as its name implies (crac in comics is the sound of breaking), wants to give a signal of rupture with respect to normal exhibition systems. Located in the historic center of the town, it is bordered by a section of the thirteenth-century castle walls. The Oratory of Providence, located along the former railway axis (now a bicycle route), is an ancient and small consecrated church a short walk from the center, which will lend itself in the future to experimentation aimed at promoting digital art. The exhibits will be open until Nov. 28, 2021, through free and continuous enjoyment of the works 24 hours a day. For information: T. +39 059 534802, cultura@comune.castelnuovo-rangone.mo.it, www.comune.castelnuovo-rangone.mo.it.

The second section of the exhibition will open Saturday, Oct. 23, at 4 p.m. at the Contemporary Art Gallery of Palazzo Ducale in Pavullo nel Frignano. On display will be works by Riccardo Albiero, Cristiano Baricelli, Elisa Bertaglia, Serena Biagini, Valentina Biasetti, Giulia Bonora, Luca Caccioni, Giulia Dall’Olio, Daniele Gagliardi, Omar Galliani, Federica Giulianini, Gabriele Grones, Carla Iacono, Silvia Inselvini, Matteo Lucca, Massimo Pulini, Romina Ressia, Marika Ricchi, Andreas Senoner, Laura Serri, Nicola Vinci, and Huang Zejian. The Ducal Palace was built at the behest of Francis IV in the first half of the 19th century and was for some years the summer residence of the House of Austria Este. Now inside it is the contemporary art gallery, the venue for the exhibition, which will be open until Jan. 9, 2022, Tuesdays and Thursdays 3-6 p.m., Saturdays, Sundays and holidays 4-7 p.m., by request Monday through Saturday 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Free admission. For information: T. +39 0536 29026, cultura@comune.pavullo-nel-frignano.mo.it, www.comune.pavullo-nel-frignano.mo.it.

The third section of the exhibition will open Saturday, Oct. 30, at 4 p.m. at the Church of San Giacomo in Castelfranco Emilia. On display, works by Elysia Athanatos, Elisa Caccioni, Maurizio L’Altrella, Herman Nitsch, Armenia Panfolklorica, Enrico Pantani and Alena Tonelli. The Church of St. James is located on Via Emilia in the center of the town. A consecrated church, it is hosting a contemporary art exhibition for the first time and has a painting by Elisabetta Sirani inside. The exhibition will be open until Dec. 19, 2021, Saturdays and Sundays 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 4 p.m.-7 p.m. (admission temporarily suspended during religious services). Free admission. For information: T. +39 059 959377, cultura@comune.castelfranco-emilia.mo.it, www.comune.castelfranco-emilia.mo.it.

The fourth section of the exhibition will open Saturday, Nov. 6, at 3 p.m. in the Exhibition Hall of the former library in the medieval village of Savignano sul Panaro. On display, works by Francesca Dondoglio, Tommaso Giusti, Elia Mazzotti Gentili and Mhox (Alessandro Zomparelli and Filippo Nassetti). The medieval village bears witness to an important and rich past. Thanks to a conservative intervention carried out in the 1980s and 1990s, it is now one of the most fascinating villages in the province of Modena. There are numerous historical testimonies guarded by the ancient settlement. The exhibition will be open until Dec. 6, 2021, Saturday 3:30-6:30 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m.-12 p.m. and 3-6:30 p.m. Free admission. For information: T. +39 059 759915, cultura@comune.savignano-sul-panaro.mo.it, www.savignano.it.

The fifth section of the exhibition will open Saturday, Nov. 13, at 4 p.m. in theFormer Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Spilamberto. Works by Tatiana Brodatch, Iside Calcagnile, Massimiliano Galliani, Luigi Ghirri, Gian Luca Groppi, Marco Luppi, Marco Piccinelli, Simone Stuto, and Flavia Tritto will be on display. The Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli, erected in the 15th century by the Confraternity of Santa Maria degli Angeli, also included an oratory and a hospital. Rebuilt between 1626 and 1631, it has been deconsecrated since the mid-20th century. It is now accessible after a long and complex restoration. The exhibition will be open until Jan. 9, 2022, Saturdays and Sundays 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 4-7 p.m. Free admission. For information: T. +39 059 789964, cultura@comune.spilamberto.mo.it, www.comune.spilamberto.mo.it.

The sixth section of the exhibition will open Saturday, Nov. 20, at the Rocca di Vignola. On display, works by Andrea Capucci, Andrea Chiesi, Elisa Florian, Luca Freschi, Michelangelo Galliani, Sergio Padovani, Simone Pellegrini, and Lilla Tabasso. The exhibition will be completed by a display case containing a selection of artist’s books, some of which were created for the occasion by the artists in the exhibition and Marika Ricchi. The Rocca di Vignola, presumably built in the year 1178, became in the 15th century the home of the Contrari family, invested with the fief by the Este family. In 1577 the fief was ceded to Jacopo Boncompagni, the natural son of the future Pope Gregory XIII. The Rocca is currently owned by the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Vignola, which in recent decades has undertaken careful and painstaking restoration work aimed at both architectural and pictorial recovery of the structure. The rooms of the Vignola Fortress have been granted free use by the Vignola Foundation. The exhibition will be open until Jan. 16, 2022, Thursday through Sunday 9 a.m.-1 p.m. and 3:30-6 p.m. Free admission. For information: T. +39 059 775246, cultura@comune.vignola.mo.it, www.comune.vignola.mo.it.

A catalog will be published on the occasion of the exhibition with an introduction by the curators, critical texts by Maria Chiara Wang, Giorgia Bergantin, Mattia Cattaneo, Enrico Turchi, Eleonora Brizi and a rich iconographic apparatus. There will also be a documentary film with direction and photography by Mauro Terzi and music by Le Piccole Morti.
For information about the event, the Cultural Association Reconnaissance on Art can be contacted: T. +39 059 783519, ricognizionisullarte@gmail.com, www.ricognizionisullarte.com
Image: Andrea Chiesi, Quis non quid (2020; markers and ink on paper, 100 x 140 cm; private collection)

Ultraromanticism is staged in Modena and province, amid restlessness and abandonment, with 50 contemporary artists
Ultraromanticism is staged in Modena and province, amid restlessness and abandonment, with 50 contemporary artists

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