Morandi's works fly to Brazil and Spain, and Bologna museum gets a makeover

Two exhibitions, one in Brazil and the other in Spain, dedicated to Giorgio Morandi opened to the public these days. Meanwhile, the Morandi Museum in Bologna has created a new exhibit featuring works that have not been on display for some time.

Two exhibitions dedicated to Giorgio Morandi open these days in Brazil and Spain: Giorgio Morandi. O legado de Morandi, curated by Gianfranco Maraniello and Alberto Salvadori, at the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, São Paulo, open from September 22 to November 22, 2021, and Morandi. Infinite resonance, curated by Daniela Ferrari and Beatrice Avanzi, at the Fundación MAPFRE Recoletos Exhibition Hall, Madrid open from September 24, 2021 to January 9, 2022. Both exhibitions will have a second exhibition period at different venues, the first at Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro from December 7, 2021 to February 14, 2022 and the second at Fundació Catalunya La Pedrera, Barcelona from February 3 to May 22, 2022.

The Brazilian exhibition opens on the occasion ofthe 34th São Paulo Biennial, an exhibition that awarded Giorgio Morandi the Grand Prize for painting in 1957. The current exhibition intends to highlight the key distinguishing features of Morandi’s oeuvre, returning to display some of the works he selected for his own participation in the Biennale, thus emphasizing thematic, formal and experimental developments in landscapes, still lifes and flowers. The works come from the Morandi Museum in Bologna, the only lender of the artist’s works with twenty-five works belonging to theIstituzione Bologna Musei, including 16 paintings, six etchings, two watercolors and one drawing, and from eight private collectors whose works have been loaned to the museum. Particularly interesting among the works on display is the Still Life of 1948, which was already featured at the São Paulo Biennial in 1957. It also includes a sheet from the studio in Via Fondazza, with the thick lines drawn by Morandi in pencil to delineate the exact positions of the objects in his still lifes, several panels reconstructing the studio through photos taken by Luigi Ghirri in 1990, and three works by Wayne Thiebaud, part of the donation made by the American artist on the occasion of his 2011 exhibition in Bologna. The exhibition aims to analyze the artist’s work in dialogue with some contemporary protagonists, such as Josef Albers, Lawrence Carroll, Franco Vimercati, Rachel Whiteread and Thiebaud.

The Spanish exhibition, on the other hand, offers the public not only an extensive retrospective of his work through 109 works, but also a comparison with that of other artists who were inspired by him: Alfredo Alcaín, Juan José Aquerreta, Carlo Benvenuto, Dis Berlin, Bertozzi & Casoni, Lawrence Carroll, Tony Cragg, Tacita Dean, Ada Duker, Andrea Facco, Alexandre Hollan, Joel Meyerowitz, Luigi Ontani, Gerardo Rueda, Alessandro Taiana, Riccardo Taiana, Franco Vimercati, Edmund de Waal, Catherine Wagner, and Rachel Whiteread, among them. Again, the Museo Morandi is among the main lenders with thirty works granted for the exhibition, including 10 paintings, one watercolor, six drawings and 13 etchings: among the most significant are the Still Life of 1941 and the Still Life of 1942, which belong to the heritage of the Istituzione Bologna Musei. Also arriving in Madrid on loan from Bologna were a work by Catherine Wagner and Tony Cragg’s celebrated Eroded Landscape (1999), an imposing installation composed of hundreds of sandblasted glass pieces belonging to MAMbo’s permanent collection.

The loans granted gave curators Alessia Masi, Lorenza Selleri, and Giusi Vecchi the opportunity to reflect on the collections and make a rotation to make works that have not been exhibited for some time visible to the public. Particularly interesting from this point of view is a new section in which a selection of youthful drawings, made by the artist between 1907 and 1915, from the museum’s owned corpus is displayed. The public will get to know a series of portraits and anatomical details: a pair of legs, but also a figure from the back. These are studies that Morandi made between 1907 and 1910, which is when, still a student, he was taking courses at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna. They are sheets, some of dust paper, of great interest for the quality of the sign and the singularity of the cut, so much so that in June 1910, after one year of the Preparatory Course and two of the Common Course, student Morandi was promoted with ten in figure from relief. For the next two years he himself chose to attend the Special Figure Course.

In chronological order, two ink-on-paper drawings are displayed next, sketches made in 1915 within a month or so of each other, in which one can recognize the webbed leaves and inflorescence of the castor-oil plant on the one hand and a rare example of a composition that can be called Futurist on the other.

Another renewed section of the current exhibition focuses on watercolors from the last years of the artist’s life. The sense of geometry in Morandi’s compositions is a constant found in all the techniques he experimented with. In the watercolors, which characterize the last season of his artistic production, the liquid and almost monochrome color, laid out according to carefully studied geometric grids, enhances shapes and volumes through different tonal gradations, where even white becomes color.

Beginning in the 1950s, his painting is defined by analternation of positive and negative, full and empty forms harmoniously tuned according to perfect compositional balances and through a skillful use of colors that determine from time to time the volumetric construction of objects. All the elements of the still lifes of maturity become little more than suggestions. The silhouettes fade into one another in a fusion of light and color, but the object remains in the artist’s memory and on the canvas as a stable and primary form, the founding element of a poetics that never prescinds from reality.

Finally, in the museum’s central room, the focus of the RE-COLLECTING cycle , Morandi tells. Il segno inciso: tratteggi e chiaroscuri, curated by Lorenza Selleri, extended until November 28, 2021 and with some engravings added to the original selection, while in the final room of the itinerary the black-and-white shots taken in Morandi’s studio in Bologna (1979) and Grizzana (1984) by Jean-Michel Folon and a video on Casa Morandi produced by TRC Bologna for the program Bologna Racconta return to the exhibition.

For info:

Image: Giorgio Morandi, Still Life (1941; oil on canvas; Bologna, Istituzione Bologna Musei | Museo Morandi)

Morandi's works fly to Brazil and Spain, and Bologna museum gets a makeover
Morandi's works fly to Brazil and Spain, and Bologna museum gets a makeover

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