New exhibition for contemporary art at GAM: painting space sculpture

A new and interesting exhibition of the collections of contemporary art was presented on Friday 15 February at GAM – Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in Turin: this is the first edition of a various program, consisting of different orders, which will follow one another in a couple of years.



Exhibition - Paolo Robino's Photo

This first edition, curated by Elena Volpato, focuses on two decades and it’s dedicated to the Italian artists’ artworks between the Sixties and the Eighties, in a relationship of chronological continuity with the art exhibited in the collections of ‘900. The artworks that will be on display in the exhibition, are entirely part of the museum’s collections: many of them come from the many acquisitions made under Pier Giovanni Castagnoli’s direction, in the decade from 1998 to 2008. These acquisitions were made possible thanks to the generous contribution of the Fondazione per l’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea CRT. The great power of these innovative installations on a two-yearly basis, lies in showing and making known to the public the richness of the collections of the museum, giving voice to numerous readings and critical interpretations.

From Giulio Paolini to Giuseppe Spagnulo, from Giovanni Anselmo to Paolo Icaro, till Marco Bagnoli, Mario Merz and Luigi Ontani, the artists represented are part of various groups. There are those who are linked to the events of Poor Art; those who have dedicated themselves to Analytical Painting; those who have instead experimented with Conceptual Art, but then are returned to the traditional languages and to the expressive codes of the past. The artistic researches of those years are represented, but they have never been completely recognized by the most widespread historical interpretation and criticism. Now, decades later, will be possible to admire these exhibitions, allowing us to look at the most personal and individual aspects of these artists’ poetics.



Nanni Valentini - Casa (1985) - Installation: terracotta, pigments, metal elements

And it is precisely in the personal voice of each of them that a strong and at the same time unresolved bond with the history of art and its ancient languages seems to resonate more clearly. In the mid-sixties, the big names on display, unlike many other artists of that period who wanted to subvert the traditional artistic languages, rebelling themselves and denying the history of past art, began to question on the meaning of sculpture, painting and drawing, and how to overcome the limits that those languages had placed until then. The history of art of their time, exhibited in museums or fed by the everyday life of the landscape, had been the trigger of their first falling in love, of their inevitable need for expression. Only in response to that art, any possible sense of thinking and considering oneself an artist could arise, as well as any subsequent desire to overcome it and go beyond it.

Each of the artists represented gives their own personal interpretation to the relationship with the past, each one makes their own the interpretative language they prefer, but all share an authentic desire for art, a visceral sense of belonging, the meaning of art until then, and everything that art could still represent in the future, by virtue of that tradition. Those exhibited are artworks where form and meaning are indissolubly linked to each other. Their accomplishment in real space opens them up to welcome and to nourish within them the sense of a transcendent, sacred time.



Exhibition - Paolo Robino's Photo

The artworks on display in the new exhibition of contemporary collections are divided into various sections. In the first part of the exhibition, the artworks are characterized, in very different ways, by a new essentiality of painting and sculpture. These are:

Giuseppe Spagnulo, Archeologia, 1978: 16 iron elements

Marco Gastini, Macchie, 1969-70: lead and antimony fusions on the wall

Giulio Paolini, Senza titolo, 1966: copying pencil and tempera on raw canvas

Claudio Olivieri, Interferenze nero-verde, 1971: oil on canvas

Claudio Verna, The Four III, 1970: acrili on four canvas placed side by side

Alighiero Boetti, Rotolo di cartone ondulato, 1966: corrugated cardboard

Marisa Merz, Living Sculpture, 1966: aluminium sheet sewn with staples

Giorgio Griffa, Impronta del pollice, 1968: oil on canvas


In the second part, Poor Art’s artists speak traditional languages and bring sculpture back to its origins:

Pier Paolo Calzolari, Senza titolo, 1968: loom-mounted clip, cotton thread, rose petal, drawing on paper, wind instrument bed

Luciano Fabro, Attaccapanni (di Napoli), 1976-77: bronze, linen canvas, acrili painting, cotton thread

Giovanni Anselmo, Senza titolo, 1984-86: canvas, stone (grey diorite), steel cable, spool knot

In this room, space and time are the dimensions that art welcomes for the first time inside it, inside the artwork, but also inside the material itself that composes it:

Paolo Icaro, Davanzale per un colore (Davanzale per un turchese), 1982: chalk, straw and pigment

Paolo Icaro, Innesto, 1982: plaster and jute

Eliseo Mattiacci, Cultura mummificata, 1972: 134 casts of books in cast aluminium

Eliseo Mattiacci, Essere respirare, 1978: copper, iron, black perspex, 2 foils, loudspeaker, recording of a breath

Eliseo Mattiacci, Predisporsi ad un capolavoro cosmico-astronomico, 1981-82: pencil and pastels on paper



Mario Merz - Animale terribile (1981): Tubular iron, mixed media on canvas

In this part, space and time are represented, involving the viewer to observe the absolute image of the limit and the beyond. Here we find:

Marco Bagnoli, Vedetta Notturna, 1986: onyx

Marco Bagnoli, Iris, 1987: detached fresco

Claudio Parmiggiani, Ab Olympo, 1997: tempera on canvas and wood

Claudio Parmiggiani, La tela filosofica, 1977: gold leaf on canvas, 3 elements in marble

Hidetoshi Nagasawa, Era, 1986: brass, wood, steel cable


These artworks bring out within them, the evidence and the representation of the figure:

Mario Merz, Animale terribile, 1981: tubular iron, mixed media on canvas,

Salvo, L'uomo che spaccò la statua del Dio, 1972: black marble, gilding

Salvo, San Martino e il povero, 1973: oil and paper applied to canvas

Ketty La Rocca, Pietà, 1974: 7-panel polyptych, b/w photos with ink lettering

Luigi Mainolfi, MDLXIV, 1976: pencil, ink, typographic ink on parchment paper

Luigi Mainolfi, Tamburi, campane e campanacci, 1988-89: wood and bronze, 9 elements of different sizes

Luigi Ontani, DadAndroginErmete, 1987: papier-maché and wood


In the latter room, sculpture and painting meet once again, but while sculpture speaks of architecture, painting is born in a natural way mixed with dust and time, along the walls of the city and houses, made of the free drawing of stains and cracks:

Nanni Valentini, Casa, 1985: installation of terracotta, pigments, metal elements Franco Guerzoni, Affreschi, 1972: photolithographic print on canvas with application of fragments of plaster

Franco Guerzoni, Archeologia, 1973: fragments of stucco with pigments and serigraphy on original photo

Franco Guerzoni, Archeologia, 1973: coloured plasters on original photo retouched


Finally, a selection of artist’s books, purchased thanks to the Fondazione per l’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea – CRT, is presented, an ideal element of conjunction between the artworks exhibited in Painting space Sculpture, imprinted with traditional languages, and the use of new strategies for the dissemination and democratization of art.



Contemporary exhibition - Giorgio Perottino's Photo

Painting space sculpture. Collections of Contemporary art.

Period: 15 February 2019 - 4 october 2020

Opening hours: every day from 10.00 am to 06.00 pm

closed on Mondays

Where: Gam - Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea

Via Magenta, 31 - Turin

Entry: regular 10 €, reduced 8 €


-Giulia Zamponi