Where: Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Villa Croce
When: October 15th, 2017 – January 14th 2018
Opening October 14th, 2017 h. 5pm – 8pm
Curated by Anna Daneri and Francesca Serrati
For the resumption of exhibition programming in the fall, and for the occasion of the Giornata del Contemporaneo, this year Villa Croce presents a major project by the artist Stefano Arienti, Finestre Meridiane. Intersections with the collection of Villa Croce, organized along the spaces of the piano nobile of the villa, starting from the large entrance staircase. The show is organized as a dialogue between a body of works never shown before by the artist, the Meridiane (Sundials) made starting in 2012, and a selection of works from the museum’s collection, like a sampling of its history.
The title suggest the nature of the exhibition project itself: the works – about 80 in number – by Stefano Arienti, with a uniform format in paper and plaster, are made in close relation to the sun and its movements. The Meridiane are drawn with light, at the window in the artist’s home or studio, with a technique developed by Arienti over the years, in which he directly translates, with his own body, the variations of light through the colors selected from moment to moment. The show also offers a perspective on the collection of the museum, whose spaces are paced by large windows facing south.
This is not the first time the artist has been attracted by a public collection; precedents include the project in 2010 for the storerooms of the Museion in Bolzano, together with Massimo Bartolini, or the installation of the collection of Palazzo Te in Mantua. In the case of Villa Croce the exchange becomes more direct, involving his own works shown for the first time on this occasion.
The operation takes its cue from historic picture galleries, where paintings and sculptures were arranged not in chronological order or by stylistic affinities, but in terms of lines of taste, aesthetic cadences; thus at Villa Croce, as Arienti suggests, “the works are arranged with great freedom, without respecting the usual museum criteria, focusing on the rhythm of observation and discovery.”
The selection from the museum’s holdings reconstructs the history of its formation over the course of thirty years, from the very first acquisitions like the large canvas by Enrico Paulucci, the group of photographs by Cesar Domela, and the original comic-book panels by Hugo Pratt. These are intertwined with leading names of historical abstraction and perceptivist research, from the collection of Maria Cernuschi Ghiringhelli: Fontana, Licini, Munari, Reggiani, Soldati, the true core of the museum’s content; with works from the collection of the Lab, the Laboratorio della Bassa Lunigiana; the donations of artists, often following solo shows; and the works donated by or acquired from private galleries, bearing witness to the cultural vivacity of the Genoa scene, especially during the 1960s. The choice also extends to the latest acquisitions connected with site-specific projects, like the pianoforte of Philip Corner, the result of a Fluxus performance, or the vibrant panel by Marta Dell’Angelo, created during the recent cycle of programming directed by Ilaria Bonacossa.
As an ideal continuation of the exhibition at Villa Croce, on 1 December the MAN museum of Nuoro will present An Abstract Vision. Works from the Collection of Maria Cernuschi Ghiringhelli, a show that will intensify knowledge of this fundamental collection of art.
Stefano Arienti was born in Asola (Mantua) in 1961, and since 1980 he has lived and worked in Milan, where he took a degree in Agricultural Science in 1986. He took part in the first group show in 1985 at the former Brown Boveri factory, where he met Corrado Levi, his first mentor. He came up on the Italian art scene in the moment of renewal following the period dominated by Arte Povera and the Transavanguardia. He has shown work in many group shows in Italy and abroad, including the biennials of Venice, Istanbul and Gwangju. Among his solo shows at important national and international institutions, as well as in many galleries, we can mention the exhibitions at MAXXI (Rome), Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo (Turin), the Querini Stampalia and Bevilacqua la Masa foundations (Venice), Palazzo Ducale in Mantua, Galleria Civica in Modena, ArtPace (San Antonio, Texas) and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston). During his many travels in Europe, North America and Asia, he has participated in residency programs for artists in the United States (San Francisco, Boston and San Antonio), India (Delhi) and France (Clisson). He has taught at the Accademia di Belle Arti Giacomo Carrara in Bergamo and the IUAV University of Venice.