Venice, an exhibition dedicated to Paolo Gioli at the Galleria in Corte

Venice pays tribute to Paolo Gioli, a painter, photographer and filmmaker who passed away earlier this year, with an exhibition featuring his Venetian beginnings in the 1960s, April 14 through Sept. 17, at the Galleria in Corte in Venice.

Galleria in Corte, a new exhibition space dedicated to contemporary art in Venice, offers from April 14 to September 17, 2022 the exhibition Paolo Gioli. The Venice Years (1960 - 1969), curated by Nico Stringa, dedicated to the early creative experiences of Paolo Gioli (Rovigo, 1942 - Lendinara, 2022), an important and multifaceted artist who was a painter, photographer and experimental filmmaker.The exhibition stems from the desire of friends and collectors, Venetian and otherwise, to organize an anthology of pictorial and graphic works of the future film-maker and photographer, making available to all drawings and paintings made during the 1960s in the lagoon, works that still today, more than half a century later, do not cease to enchant and amaze.

The exhibition aims to make better known the period of formation that coincides with his first maturity; such, in fact, can be considered the time span 1960 -1969, when with incessant work, Gioli confirmed to himself himself, through increasingly consequential works, the centrality of image movement, understood not so much as finalized progress, but rather as a strategy to flush out from the oblivion of habit the original potential of the gaze. The shocks to which the artist subjects us with the dramatic plasticity of the Cycle of Creatures and immediately afterwards with the articulated path of the kaleidoscopic sections also called Scomponibili, are as many devices developed by Gioli in the elaboration of his poetics since the Venetian period: the image is in danger, artists will save it with painting, with a “primordial” photography, with experimental cinema.

The exhibition offers a selection of medium- and large-format drawings and paintings made in Venice in the 1960s and concludes with a last work completed in New York in 1969, a work symptomatic of a turning point that matured in contact with the American scenario that Gioli knew directly during his long stay in Manhattan.

Says Nico Stringa about the works exhibited: "The basic homogeneity of the first and last Gioli, the persistence and recurrence of the great themes that he made his own, the intersection between the tension to the conscious image and the great turning points of the 1960s built on the trivialization of mass-media and advertising bombardment, lead him to temporarily abandon the investigation of the torso (treated in Creatures, which he will resume in new forms with Polaroid photography and the stenoscopic technique) and to develop that heritage of imagery-actions that we possess and recreate, conscious and unconscious, sedimented within us, which the visual arts and literature help us to decipher, illuminating in ’snapshots’ the obscurity of origin, the enigma of the visual imprint, the not always conscious path toward the autonomy of form. These works, already examined by the most shrewd and sensitive critics, are not the original inventions of a debutant, they are instead the documents of an experience fulfilled in the effervescent climate of the 1960s in a Venice city open to the most diverse experiences that were taking place in Europe and the USA."

Born in Sarzano di Rovigo in 1942, Paolo Gioli came into contact as a young man with the sculptor Virgilio Milani, with whom he established a deep association, and at the age of eighteen he began to frequent the Venetian artistic milieu that revolved around the Scuola Libera del Nudo of theAccademia di Belle Arti and the Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa for young artists. Paolo Gioli thus witnessed the last fires of the Informal season, met Giuseppe Santomaso who was moving towards an original form of “minimalism,” saw the emergence of neo-avant-garde groupings in Padua and Venice, visited the Biennales starting with the XXX edition in 1960 and the major exhibitions organized at Palazzo Grassi by Paolo Marinotti.

Gioli’s solitary and even sometimes secretive work was immediately understood by Cesare Misserotti, who hosted the young artist since 1964 in his Galleria dell’Elefante first in Mestre then in Venice and printed his first portfolio; also at the Bevilacqua La Masa he won important awards, such as the Prize for Painting and the purchase of Figura Figura Figura of 1966 kept at the Ca’ Pesaro Museum. In 1967 he moved to New York where, through the interest of Ruth Friedlich, he obtained a John Cabot Fund scholarship; at that time he met Paolo Vampa, then an undergraduate and later a cultural animator committed ever since to enhancing his work. Starting in 1969 he devoted himself to experimental cinema and photography in Rome and Milan, qualifying as one of the most original creators in this field, with constant appreciation on the international scene.

In 1991 the Fortuny Museum in Venice dedicated to him a major exhibition curated by Paolo Costantini, Sandro Mescola, Silvio Fuso, and Italo Zannier; in 1996 Roberta Valtorta curated the major anthological exhibition at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome; in 2008 his graphic and pictorial work was the focus of the exhibition Arte al bivio. Venice in the 1960s, in dialogue with works by Eulisse, Soccol, Anselmi, Plessi, Giorgi, Lodi, and Armano, organized at Palazzo Giustinian dei Vescovi by graduates and doctoral students of the Contemporary Art History Course atCa’ Foscari University. At the LVI Venice Biennale in 2015 he had a solo exhibition in the Italian Pavilion. The following have written about his work: R. Valtorta, P. Costantini, M. Dalai Emiliani, I. Zannier, S. Fuso, M. Senaldi, G. D. Fragapane, F. Dolzani, N. Stringa, E. Bullot, G. M. Bouhours, D. Bordwell, Ph. Dubois, C. Cherouz, B. Di Marino, P. Rumble.

Photographs, Film and Video can be found in major public collections in Italy, Europe and America. Major Institutions include: theHarvard University Film Archive (HFA), Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Art Institute of Chicago, MoMA in New York.

For all information, you can visit the official website of the Gallery in Court.

Pictured: Paolo Gioli, Homage to Ionesco (1965; oil on canvas, 200 x 140 cm)

Venice, an exhibition dedicated to Paolo Gioli at the Galleria in Corte
Venice, an exhibition dedicated to Paolo Gioli at the Galleria in Corte

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