IL BEL PAESE DELL’ARTE, GAMEC, BERGAMO, SEPTEMBER 28 – FEBRUARY 19 2011
Curated by Giacinto Di Pietrantonio and Maria Cristina Rodeschini
With: Giorgio de Chirico, Alberto Savinio, Tano Festa, Francesco Lo Savio, Gianni, Joe Colombo, Alessandro e Francesco Mendini, Gianluca e Massimiliano De Serio, Paola e,Rita Levi Montalcini, Giacomo Trecourt, Enzo Cucchi, Maurizio Cattelan, Claire Fontaine, Alighiero Boetti, Mona Hatoum, Claudio Parmiggiani, Flavio Favelli, Alice Guareschi, Luciano Fabro, Claudia Losi, Salvo, Mario Cresci, Alterazioni Video, Tobias Zielony, Mimmo Jodice, Giuseppe Bartolini, Giuseppe De Nittis, Giovanni Migliara, Giovanni Iudice, Marco Gozzi, Ippolito Caffi, Francesco Guardi, Loredana Di Lillo, Renato Guttuso, Armin Linke, Marco Cingolani, Antonella Mazzoni, Francesco Arena, Elmgreen&Dragset, Emilio Isgrò, Teofilo Patini, Cesare Tallone, Sebastiano Tecchio, Pietro Roccasalva, Maurizio Cattelan, Enzo Umbaca, Paola Di Bello, Salvo, Gang Song Ryong, Andrea Mastrovito, Matteo Rubbi, Marco Colombaioni, Gianni Di Rosa, Tobias Rehberger, Cesare Viel, Luca Vitone, Fausto Radici, Felice Gimondi, Giacomo Agostini, Giacinto Facchetti, Norda Foppapedretti Bergamo, Atalanta Bergamasca Calcio, Gino De Dominicis, Vettor Pisani, Piccio, Alberto Garutti, Aleksandra Mir, Nan Goldin, Kiki Smith, Antonio Riello, Vanessa Beecroft, ex voto, Gabriele Di Matteo, Patrick Tuttofuoco, Elisabetta Benassi, Enzo Bassotto, Sislej Xhafa, Gino De Dominicis, Steven Claydon, Rossella Biscotti, Letizia Battaglia, Alfredo Jaar, Tullio Pericoli, Yan Pei-Ming, Giuseppe Luigi Poli, Giuseppe Diotti, Giuseppe Gaudenzi, Giovanni Maria Benzoni, Antonio d’Este, Mario Dondero, Democrito Gandolfi, Frédéric Xavier Liwer, Gianfranco Ferroni, Giacomo Manzù, Francesco Messina, Mimmo Paladino, Piccio ed Enrico Scuri, Made in Italy, Gino Severini, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Giovanni Rizzoli, Nemanja Cvijanovic, Giuseppe Stampone, Gabriele Picco, Riccardo Beretta, Patrizio Di Massimo, Francesco Jodice, Felix Gonzales-Torres, Tobias Rehberger, Antonio Visentini, Canaletto.
Curated by Giacinto Di Pietrantonio and Maria Cristina Rodeschini, it showcases the image of Italy around the world in the multiplicity of its visual expressions: from cinema to art, literature, design, and both the élite and pop culture, as viewed through 200 works by great Italian and international artists and ‘things and events’ from the 19th century to nowadays, such as the writings of Rita Levi Montalcini that earned her a Nobel Prize.
The exhibition, staged to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Unification of Italy, demonstrates the decisive influence of artistic creation on the practical organization of the country’s social life, above all in the past century and a half of history. The Wonderful Land of Art thus offers significant historical examples, such as the portraits of approximately 200 Garibaldians from the Bergamo area who took part in the Expedition of the Thousand, or a series of caricatures of members of the Italian Parliament, sketched by Senator Sebastiano Tecchio on parliamentary letterhead in the late 19th century. In these works, memory captured by art is reflected as the convergence of past and present in ethics and aesthetics, in related fields such as architecture and design as well as very different ones such as the local landscape, religion and politics.
Each room also showcases objects – votive offerings, books, sports trophies – become icons of the Italian identity. Indeed, their presence establishes a comparison between the pure ideal of avant-garde art and the testimony of spontaneous, popular or industrial creativity. The exhibition also investigates the idea of country or nation and the cultural, social and aesthetic processes that have characterized its formation. As opposed to other European nations, in Italy the main unifying culture element has been art or, rather, the arts. Hence the exhibition title The Wonderful Land of Art, as Italy is a place of excellence for its continuity and unique aesthetic touch.
With this exhibition, visitors have the chance to explore the places and moments that were part of the origin and construction of the nation-state as a united entity – the flag, the language, the national anthem, borders, the map, the religious culture, monuments and sports – also through works that mimic or define forms of political, aesthetic, geographical or identity-related representation. Through them, the exhibition moves beyond the limitation of the artistic object to engage directly with reality and its structures, with examples such as biking champion Felice Gimondi’s pink jersey, Giacinto Facchetti’s football jersey, the European Ski Cup and the uniform of Fausto Radici’s Valanga Azzurra, the alpine ski team.