Sorprese d’arte del nord
Bus to Rovereto towards the Alps – Austria on the other side. Bruno said that an American air force base was nestled into the mountains; a grassy flat section slides off for missiles. But I looked it up and the missiles in Italy and Turkey were removed three months after the Cuban Missile Crisis, in exchange for Russia removing theirs from Cuba.
MART Museum (Modern Art Museum of Trento)
The giant letters around the pool in the entry court (see bottom of photo), by Chiara Dynys, spell MEMORIA OBLIO, or memory and oblivion.1
MART is celebrating its tenth anniversary with The Magnificent Obsession, a year-long exhibition. I am trying to interpret my notes because we were allowed no photos (hence these are off the internet) and none of the artworks is labeled, so that one contemplates solely the art – hard for one taking notes.
Andrea Malfatti’s Audible Forms, are plaster statues, which look like ancient Roman statues with instruments. (This is mine – I took it before I was told no photos.) Michele Spanghero added sound to Malfatti’s work by inserting microphones into the sculptures and amplifying the vibrations. Kinda weird.
The woman represented in Naked shoulders with the open back is the mother of the Calabrian. The light seems fragmented into a thousand flashes that are made on the woman’s skin through endless filaments of pure color, next to one another in line with the pointillist painting technique combined with Post-Impressionist influences.
A composition of fourteen original works from the MART collection of Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century paintings has been installed with the painted surface facing the wall. At the same time, on a contiguous wall, the artist has installed high quality photographic reproductions of each painting mirroring the composition of the original works.
Italian artist Emilio Isgrò copies text and then block out significant sections of it.
I delete words to safeguard them; it is a gesture of salvation.
Fascist architecture. Who did all of those marvelous wooden maquettes of Mussolini’s public buildings work after the bombing of WWI?
Then a model of Casa Malaparte in Capri by architect Adalberto Libera, which is a feature of Jean-Luc Godard’s movie Contempt with Brigitte Bardot, a clip of which was showing.
The Intonarumori were a family of musical instruments invented in 1913 by Italian futurist painter and musical composer Luigi Russolo. They were acoustic noise generators that permitted to create and control dynamic and pitch in several different types of noises.
In a rage of frustration, Lucio Fontana destroyed a painting by piercing his canvas. From this act of destruction, a new concept of art was formed, which Fontana referred to as Concetti Spaziali, or Spatial Conceptions.
Then there were sculptures of moon creatures. I can’t find any photos or the artist’s name. Anyone? (And why, when I google Modern Art Museum of Trento sculpture moon creatures 1930’s do I get Woody Allen’s face?)
During the 1970s Boetti set up the One Hotel in Kabul with his business partner as a kind of artistic commune, and after 1979 he shifted the production of the map tapestries to Peshawar in Pakistan where many Afghans sought refuge.
The collaboration between Boetti and his embroiderers … raised questions about authorship and authenticity in art which continue to this day with the likes of Damien Hirst and his spot paintings, which are almost exclusively executed by employees.2
In the Land Art movement, Richard Long’s “Trento Ellipse”. He creates works of the local stone, this made with Trentino’s porphyry, but has also used willow sticks and other wood.
There was lots more, but we had run out of time and so missed a walk (in the heat – 84°) to Casa Depero, Italy’s only museum dedicated to the Futurist Movement. (Few of us were disappointed.) Time for lunch at the Caffé Mart. (Unfortunately, it was dreadful: a two slices of pork, a slop of barley soup, a splat of polenta, dished up as if we were in the army. Many of us yearned for salad. Luckily the only bad meal.)
The German architects KSV Krüger Schuberth Vandreike won the competition for the new museum. Letizia did complain about the shutters, however. They close by computers but some are not working. At night the windows are to be opaque so that projections may be displayed on them. This night photo from the Web of the bridges linking the museum to the town over the river.
The show was that of artist Danh Vo, Fabulous Muscles.
When he was four, his family fled the chaos of the post-war Vietnam in a boat built by his father. They were hoping to reach the USA, but instead they were picked up in the Pacific by a Danish cargo vessel. In Denmark the family became Danish citizens and they have lived there ever since.
We the People, more than twenty fragments of monumental copper invade the fourth floor of the museum. The pieces reproduced life-size parts of the Statue of Liberty [as the original, out of copper, two pennies thick], an icon symbol of America, which is then revived dismembered.
I had read about Vo’s pieces of the Statue of Liberty being displayed around the world.
The objective of Vo’s project is not to erect another statue in its totality but to reconstruct its individual elements and allow them to be dispersed to various museums and art venues across the globe. The scattered fragments remain connected to this universal symbol but emphasize the abstract nature of the concept of freedom.
But I had wondered who actually constructed the pieces.
We were researching sites where the piece could be produced, including sites in China. Another advantage of China was that, in Asia, you still build these colossal Buddhas, and that’s basically made in this old technique of hammering the copper.3
Lady Liberty was outsourced, as were Boetti’s embroideries. But in addition to Vo’s huge sculptures, he had “other icons of consumerism”, crushed boxes of Evian and Budweiser with writing in gold leaf plus a letter from a French missionary in Vietnam who was hanged, written inside a box by his father, and a condensed milk wooden box with part of the marble torso of Christ inside (blood mixing with milk).
Just a comment on the towns of Italy. Buildings are often faced in stone, not stucco, and sidewalks are lined with roses or other flowers. All charming.
On to the private collection of Antonio Dalle Nogare. The house, by German architect Walter Angonese4, a friend from high school, and built by Nogare’s construction company, took three years to finish. It’s fabulous. A 21 meter hole in the mountain; the stone was ground up for the exposed aggregate. Bronze, copper, for sliding doors, walls. Here is a google translation from the Italian:
The slope marked by the stream that descends from the mountain was dug, then with the rock removed and crumbled – porphyry typical of this part of the Alps – we have created the concrete with which the building was constructed, with the intention to return to the mountain that which had been removed.
The four-story, 2400 square meter (almost 6,000 square feet) house is his home and private museum for contemporary art. (I’ve seen two conflicting sizes for the house; it seems larger than 6,000 square feet. That from this article: http://silviocarta.wordpress.com/2013/05/15/private-art-gallery-and-residence-bolzano/) Nogare said family collecting is a sickness. His curator is Luigi Fassi.
A window showing the driveway and the entry sculpture by Anthony Gormley next to a drip of blue paint which puddles on the floor, by William Anasazi. A hanging tire which blows itself up and then deflates, also by Anasazi, whose only work I can find on the web are pencil drawings.
Into a windowless black padded room for a video of a semicircle of light turning into a circle. It is part of Anthony McCall’s Line Describing a Cone series.
Over the course of thirty minutes this line of light traces the circumference of the circle as a projection on the far wall while the beam takes the form of a three-dimensional hollow cone
Because the room was full of smoke, the projector projected a growing cone of light. Curious. Obviously, the photo does not give the semi-cone justice. The general comment was Imagine dedicating an entire room to this one film of light.
Andre is an American minimalist artist recognized for his ordered linear format and grid format sculptures.
Then upstairs. Mark Mandes’ table and chair with reams of paper stacked.
I have written down that Marcello Jori took photos of himself recording water; you look at the photos and with earphones listen to water running combined with classical music, but that’s not at all like the crystal painting he is doing now. Do I have the wrong artist? Lots more, but I didn’t get enough artist names.
Then Nogare’s wife and daughter served us Prosecco and petits-four in the library overlooking the valley. What a view! The sliding bookcases were beautifully crafted, with a wet bar hidden behind a hinged section. The bookcases, floors, stair rails between floors all from the same wood. The steps leading to the deck were a bit unusual. (Note the triangular handrail.)
Note: lots of trees, hedges, grape vines, flowers, but nary an animal; one bird, some dogs on leashes. A few horses in paddock. No cows, sheep, cats, and definitely no wild animals, not even squirrels, to be seen.
Back to Verona and dinner. The adventure will continue.
Tags: Adalberto Libera, Andrea Malfatti, Anthony Gormley, Antonio Dalle Nogare, Audible Forms, Carl Andre, Casa Malaparte, Dan Flavin, Danh Vo, Emilio Isgrò, Fabulous Muscles, Giorgio de Chirico, Intonarumori, Lucio Fontana, Luigi Russolo, Marcello Jori, Mario Botta, Mark Mandes, MART, Modern Art Museum of Trento, Nudo di spalle, Paco Cao’, Richard Long, Rovereto, The Magnificent Obsession, torn canvases, Umberto Boccioni, Walter Angonese