Giulio Paolini. Del Bello ideale. Fondazione Carriero. The fall


Long live the chasm without salvation beyond which you are absent and happy to forget that you are there”. These are the words with which the artist Giulio Paolini ends the text written for Del Bello ideale, a solo exhibition dedicated to him, hosted by the spaces of the Carriero Foundation.


Giulio Paolini - Finis Terrae, 2018 - Installation view - Fondazione Carriero, 2018

Curated by Francesco Stocchi, the exhibition examines the 57 years of production of one of the conceptual artists par excellence of Italian art, detaching yet itself from the desire to be a retrospective and, rather, posing as a deep analysis of Pauline poetics. The portrait and the self-portrait (the author is absent), On the surface (line, perspective, horizon, tautology...) and One of two (the myth and the classic) are the three thematic groupings, emblematic of Paolini’s work, who has always been interested in the analysis of the constituent elements of making art, each developed respectively on one of the three floors of foundation.

To this analytical subdivision is added the great theme, dear to the artist and already anticipated by the title itself: the beauty. This, understood in a supreme, ideal sense, becomes the ultimate goal of the works on display and of the entire exhibition; the result is a beauty that, although constantly sought after, remains unfinished and indefinable. So the question: what is beauty? One could say that is something that exists but is not seen , an ideal goal that for Paolini is reified in a point of escape beyond the perspective line, in an overcoming of what belongs to our sensory dimension to open up to a mentalistic dimension. The unseen is therefore a deprivation that arises as the opening of a new mental perspective and the umpteenth creative and imaginative possibilities that follow.



Giulio Paolini - Mimesi, 1975 - Installation view - Fondazione Carriero, 2018

The potential state of Paolini’s work is manifested in this continuous yearning for ideal beauty: it’s in fact a sort of suspended aspect that characterises each of his works, making each part of a unique process proper to the artist’s entire work. The viewer himself seems to be invited to this suspension with In the sky (2018), one of the three works (with Deposition and Finis Terrae), created ad hoc for the exhibition and placed at the beginning of the expositive path. A parallelepiped in plexiglass, a material in the use of which Paolini was a forerunner, rises towards the ceiling, with an image of the sky on the inside; at the top, a pair of shoes that, with their front part, exceed the surface of the plexiglass on which they rest.

The work certainly invokes a suspension of action for its structure, but its being placed at the beginning of the expositive path means that it suggests, if you want, a fall, a possibility of letting go to that mental dimension in which the artist’s work develops. In the sky is maybe “the chasm without salvation”, mentioned at the beginning, that places the viewer in the right condition to understand the exhibition. To confirm this interpretation, we can consider the presence in the final room of Aria (1983-84), a work consisting in a double photographic collage of a winged figure mounted between two plexiglass shapes suspended from the ceiling to create the image of a “free fall” from the sky. It therefore seems to be ideally connected at the beginning of the path, to the necessary solicitation of the viewer to open up to a mental attitude, the only one capable of meeting the “beauty”.



Giulio Paolini. Del Bello ideale.

Period: 26 October 2018 – 10 February 2019

Opening hours: every day from 11am to 6pm

Closed on Mondays

Where: Fondazione Carriero

Via Cino del Duca, 4 – 20122 Milano

Free entry


- Giulia Zompa