A new space for high-end contemporary art opens: it's the Coppola Foundation in Vicenza, Italy

A new space for contemporary art is born in Vicenza: it is the Coppola Foundation, which will be based in the medieval Torrione.

A new space for contemporary art is born in Vicenza: it is the Coppola Foundation, which opens its premises in the Torrione di Vicenza on Corso Palladio 1, on the outskirts of the city, to the public. The project is the brainchild of patron and entrepreneur Antonio Coppola, who purchased and donated the medieval Torrione to the Municipality of Vicenza in exchange for a 30-year usufruct: after undergoing extensive restoration work by UP3 Architetti Associati, the Torrione is thus returned to the city with the aim of becoming a hub for contemporary art.

“Fondazione Coppola,” the presentation reads, “intends to place the observer in that dimension in which artists investigate the fundamental motives of being an artist. And although art does not contain certainties, it offers a pretext to touch the hearts of its estimators through the objects of the representations produced by the artists. Fondazione Coppola presents works by mostly unhistoricized artists: both young emerging and established artists who have participated in national or foreign exhibitions, in some cases receiving considerable recognition.”

The Torrione, a 14th-century building, was formerly part of the so-called “Castle” built during the years when the Scaligeri of Verona held power over Vicenza. Having lost its defensive role over the centuries, in the 17th century the Torrione became a private residence, and between the 19th and 20th centuries it underwent further remodeling. It was in 2017 that the Foundation purchased it and began the work that led to the opening of the new center. Its six floors will accommodate exhibitions, and on the top level there will also be a magnificent view of the city.

The first exhibition opens May 5 (runs through August 31), and could only be titled The Tower. Curated by Davide Ferri, it is the first solo exhibition in Italy of German artists Neo Rauch (Leipzig, 1960) and Rosa Loy (Zwickau, 1958). It is an exhibition that will present a series of never-before-seen works, including paintings and drawings, specially conceived for the spaces of the Torrione, and represents a chance to get closer to the work of two important figures of the international painting scene of the last decades. Rauch and Loy’s experience is strongly linked to the city of Leipzig, where, from the beginning of the twentieth century until the 2000s, a figurative language was formulated that formed an important school of painting(the Leipzig School, precisely) involving several generations of German artists.

Neo Rauch, in particular, played a crucial role in the years immediately following the end of the former GDR: a linking figure between different generations of artists, a point of reference for the painters who were part of the New Leipzig School, the artist was able to rework his figurative language through the contamination of different cultures: the illustrations of East German propaganda posters, Pop culture, the energetic and nervous realism of artists such as Max Beckmann and Otto Dix, and the hallucinated perspectives and narrative excitement of the great canvases of Renaissance masters such as Tintoretto and Rubens. Each of Neo Rauch’s paintings is based on the encounter and juxtaposition (and eventually collapse) of different motifs and narrative cores, with figures that can split and multiply within the same image and abrupt atmospheric and temporal shifts. The result of this convulsive overlapping are images that are only seemingly illustrative, decomposed and based on autonomous and often contrasting episodes, and shot through with continuous variations in perspective and disproportions. Neo Rauch’s paintings are thus true maps of forces, in which each element represents the junction of an energetic and visionary score rather than a coherent and organic narrative.

Seemingly more relaxed (and open to the possibility of lyrical abandon), but equally dreamlike and ambiguous, is the figurative language of Rosa Loy: at the center of her paintings is always the figure of the female double and the doppelgänger, and the enigmatic (and often sordidly violent) relationship between two figures moving within an intimate and familiar landscape, within a house or a garden. Like Neo Rauch’s paintings, Rosa Loy’s paintings also invite the viewer to confront archetypal images (dense with psychoanalytic implications) whose meaning is continually relaunched by the juxtaposition of potentially “symptomatic” details and elements and by an “elliptical construction devoid of stable nuclei”: an illustrative dimension counterbalanced by an impregnability of the narrative as occurs in the Surrealist tradition.

The exhibition is articulated along the six floors of the medieval complex as a proposal of dialogue between the works of the two artists, up to a close confrontation between the two poetics, and a path of progression (of the viewer) upward, toward the top floor from which the three hundred and sixty degree view of the city can be grasped in close relationship with the works on display. Moreover, the figure of the tower as an evocative element and a reference to the story, to a possible narrative, appears in many of Neo Rauch’s paintings, perhaps in the background, and serves as a reminder of the popular and fairy-tale imagery that has always fueled the artist’s visions.

Sponsored by the Municipality of Vicenza and the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany, the exhibition can be visited from May 5 to Aug. 31, Wednesday through Sunday, nonstop from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission costs 5 euros, free for those under 18. It is advisable to book your visit in advance as the particular architectural conformation of the Keep places limitations on access. Reservations are required: for info, phone 0444 043272, email info@fondazionecoppola.org, Foundation website www.fondazionecoppola.org.

A new space for high-end contemporary art opens: it's the Coppola Foundation in Vicenza, Italy
A new space for high-end contemporary art opens: it's the Coppola Foundation in Vicenza, Italy

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