Where to go, what to see

Dec 22, 2022 | Art-Test News, Cutural Heritage, Exhibitions

Between a gift to the aunt and the one to the nephew, plan a gift for yourself! Treat yourself to time! A good use of it is certainly going to exhibitions.

 We did. We have seen three nice ones. Three different genres. Three different cities. Here our review according to our inquiring eye.

Untitled (Prophet I), 1981, private collection


(until 8 January 2023)

The Albertina dedicates an entire floor to this exhibition which can be accessed after descending an escalator that is somewhat reminiscent of Basquiat American underground

A totally white scenic backdrop on which many photos of Basquiat, his family and artistic life welcome visitors. A succession of rooms host the works of this boy genius as if they had always been there. Most are protected by glass. Almost all of them are from private collections.

Our curiosity for this exhibition stems from the desire to understand the Basquiat phenomenon. But mostly we were interested in studying his technique: the supports and in general the heterogeneous materials he used. At a closer look you notice how there are often footprints (as he often created by placing the support on the ground), how his writings are the result of a scratch. How color is a succession of stratifications and the quotes are scattered here and there. His art does not appear to be abstract but to be a vision of reality. There are no shortage of quotes to “classic” subjects but the thing that surprised us most was how he synthesized complex concepts of optics (see the cover), a myth!

I Macchiaioli, Palazzo Blu, Pisa

8 Ottobre 2022 – 26 Febbraio 2023

There are currently 3 simultaneous exhibitions dealing with the Macchiaioli season: Pisa, Bologna and Trieste. We visited the Pisan exhibition, curated by Dr. Francesca Dini and hosted in the Palazzo Blu headquarters in Pisa.

Of this exhibition we immediately find interesting what we can describe as the “prequel”.
At the entrance we are greeted by their studies of the ancient masters. Almost in contrast to what one might think, the Macchiaioli find their roots in the primacy of drawing.

The itinerary of the exhibition guides us through their school, introducing us to the protagonists and showing us many works from private collections, a significant fact because it makes this exhibition even more precious, with contributions to the knowledge of these authors who are not normally enjoyed by the public.

We also find some “friends”, one of all “the Shepherdess” by Giovanni Fattori on which we acquired an IR reflectography finding a little sheep (the reflectographic image is published in the catalogue).

The visible image of the painting “the Shepherdess” by Fattori, compared with its IR image, where a sheep appears under the paint layers in the bottom left corner.

The Macchiaioli almost always set up a compositional system.

Their preparatory drawing should not be understood as something finished and detailed, but instead it was often relaying synthetic strokes and not always executed with pencil or charcoal, but with a brush with a thin tip. On some paintings, significant shifts of figures or pentimenti on figure orientation are visible.

This exhibition is worth a walk in Pisa during your Christmas holidays!

Bansky, Church of Santo Stefano al Ponte, Florence
(until 26 febbraio 2023)

Immersive exhibitions for many are not exhibitions but just pure marketing. I, until a few days ago, thought the same way. I do not deny a certain skepticism in approaching it. But curiosity prevailed and therefore I accepted the invitation to be present at the press conference and to be able to enjoy a privileged and exclusive view.

I can say that in this case I had to change my mind and reconsider, at least for this exhibition, my initial skepticism.

The reason why such exhibition makes sebse is the way of working of this artist.

Bansky, known to all for his surprise raids around the world, is in this case to be considered a new “caveman”.

We all remember the paintings of the Lascaux caves a tangible prove of the urge that mankind felt to express themself with permanent signs. Bansky uses “new graffiti” in the same way.

Basky new man of the cave, leaving clear and understandable messages.

After years in which the question has been who Bansky is, an individual artist or a group, perhaps today we should focus more on these messages. This anonymity is functional to the message you want to leave. Shared art, enjoyable by all and which is a constant denunciation of contemporary, often even uncomfortable, themes.

On the walls of the Church of Santo Stefano in Florence, today an exhibition center, there are graffiti, collages and stencils, all works that normally have “walls” as a support.

As far as we are concerned, we can say that this type of exhibition “gives us” the time to reflect on those images that quickly scroll through the news headlines as an artistic scoop.

This exhibition immerses us in the messages that this artist(s) wants to send us, forcing us to suffer with them. Images have always been used to communicate even with a not educated public, in this case they reach teh peak of effective contemporary artistic expression.

Happy diving!

Emanuela Massa
Emanuela Massa