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Exhibitions 04 | 2008

April 5–August 24, 2008
Rome – Open Painting. The Material Picture
in Italy during the 1950s and 1960s
As part of the 19. Europäische Kulturtage Karlsruhe 2008

ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art
Exhibition: 04/05/–08/24/2008
Opening: 04/04/2008, 6 p.m., ZKM_Foyer

Information auf Deutsch

In the wake of the "material culture" of the Constructivists and the »poly materialism« of the Futurists a conception of image and painting had already developed in the 1920s, which refrained from the use of oil paints and canvas. In Italy, during the 1950s, an artistic dissolution and destruction of panel painting was initiated. One began separating panel from painting, a development which was to have far-reaching consequences for art history. A number of artists – ranging from Alberto Burri to Lucio Fontana – abandoned the path of abstraction. They distanced themselves from general tendencies, which predominated in the Abstract Express-
ionism of the New York scene during the 1950s. One not only rejected the portrayal of the object world but also the materials of painting, namely, of oil and canvas. The Italian avant-garde artists lacerated and perforated the canvas, curved it in space, pressed, layered or stretched it out. In these works there are no longer any pictures, but only the canvas itself. Based on this model, other artists such as Giuseppe Uncini, Agenore Fabbri or Paolo Scheggi, replaced the canvas by plastic sheeting, wood, metal, marble or concrete. From colors and pictures, one then took a step further to the material panels. This retreat to the material not only represented a radical and early "zero point" in painting, but also the beginning of material painting, which then freed the way to occupying the canvas with materials and objects foreign to art, as can be witnessed in the Nouveau Réalisme and Pop-Art of the 1960s, which followed. Robert Rauschenberg (see his "Combine Paintings") and others, who resided in Rome as art scholars during the 1950s, took up this impulse and transported it to America.
The majority of the exhibited works come from the collection of the VAF Foundation, which houses the most important collection of Italian modernity and is a partner of the ZKM | Museum for Contemporary Art. Further works from public museums and private collections extend the spectrum of the exhibited works.

Curated by Peter Weibel
Project Director: Andreas F. Beitin

In an accompanying program films on the theme of Rome in the 1950s will be shown: among others, Roberto Rossellini "Roma – cittá aperta", Federico Fellini "La dolce vita", Pier Paolo Pasolini "Accattone".

An illustrated- and material volume will be published in conjunction with the exhibition in June (ca. 300 p., 150 ill.), edited by Peter Weibel, with texts by Peter Weibel and Klaus Wolbert, as well as numerous source texts and biographies.

Guided tours: Sat, 2 p.m.

Artists in the Exhibition · Getulio Alviani · Giovanni Anceschi · Enrico Baj · Franco Bemporad · Remo Bianco · Alberto Biasi · Agostino Bonalumi · Davide Boriani · Alberto Burri · Arturo Carmassi · Nicola Carrino · Enrico Castellani · Ettore Colla · Gianni Colombo · Roberto Crippa · Dadamaino · Gabriele de Vecchi · Lucio del Pezzo · Agenore Fabbri · Lucio Fontana · Pinot Gallizio · Edoardo Landi · Ugo La Pietra · Francesco Lo Savio · Edgardo Mannucci · Piero Manzoni · Enzo Mari · Gino Marotta · Sandro Martini · Manfredo Massironi · Fabio Mauri · Mattia Moreni · Ennio Morlotti · Pierluca · Enrico Prampolini · Andrea Raccagni · Mimmo Rotella · Angelo Savelli · Salvatore Scarpitta · Paolo Scheggi · Giuseppe Spagnulo · Giuseppe Uncini · Grazia Varisco ·

Enrico Prampolini, Astrazione Plastica, 1954, MART - Museo di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, Fondazione VAF, © Foto: Archiv VAF-Stiftung / MART.

Mimmo Rotella, Buon compleanno, 1955, zerrissene Plakate auf Jute, 83 x 108 cm, Hannover, Sprengel Museum, Dauerleihgabe der VAF-Stiftung, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2007, Foto: MART

Giuseppe Uncini, Cementarmato lamiera, 1959, Zement und Eisen, 195 x 187 x 10 cm, MART - Museo di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, Fondazione VAF, © Giuseppe Uncini, Foto: MART

Alberto Burri, Wheat, 1956, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf, © Fondazione Palazzo Albizzini Collezione Burri, Foto: Walter Klein, Düsseldorf

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