ROME – Open Painting

ROME – Open Painting

ZKM | Center for Art and Media

Agenore Fabbri “Rottura” (The Rupture),
wood, oil paint, 1950.
MART – Museo di Arte Moderna e
Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto,
Fondazione VAF
Copyright: Volker W. Feierabend.
Photo: Archive VAF-Stiftung/ MART.

April 3, 2008

Rome – Open Painting: The Material Picture in Italy of the 1950s and 1960s.
An exhibition at the ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art in the framework of the 19th European Days of Culture Karlsruhe
April 5, to August 24, 2008
Opening Fri 4 April at 6 p.m. in the ZKM_Foyer

Lorenzstrasse 19
76135 Karlsruhe, Germany
phone: +49-(0)721-8100-1200
info [​at​]

About the exhibition:

The artistic dissolution and destruction of the panel painting began in Italy of the late 1950s. The endeavor to separate the picture from the panel commenced: a development that would have far reaching consequences for art history. Many artists – from Alberto Burri to Lucio Fontana – no longer followed the path of abstraction. They thus veered from the general trends, for example, of the Abstract Expressionism dominant in New York of the 1950s. Not only was a depiction of the representational world refused, but also the means of painting: oil and canvas. The Italian avant-garde artists sliced and bored through canvases. They curved them in space, pressed, layered and stretched them. These works no longer contain images, instead, they are simply the canvas itself. Using this model, others such as, Giuseppe Uncini, Agenore Fabbri, and Paolo Scheggi, replaced even the canvas itself: with plastic film, wood, metal, marble, or concrete. The step was taken from color and painting to material panel. This retreat to the material was not only a radical and early “point of origin” for painting, but also the beginning of material art. This cleared the way for filling the canvas with materials and objects from outside of art, as Pop art would subsequently carry out in the 1960s. From a painterly context, the first phase of the avant-garde, from Wladimir Tatlin to Kurt Schwitters presented a precursor to this trend. Robert Rauschenberg and others who spent time in Rome in the 1950s on grants, absorbed the impulses and transported them back to the US.

The majority of the exhibited works are from the collection of the VAF-Stiftung, the most important collection of Italian Modernism and partner of the ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art. Additional works from public museums and private collections add to the spectrum of works shown.

Curated by Peter Weibel.

An accompanying program will feature films on the theme of Rome in the 1950s, including, among others: Roberto Rossellini “Roma”, “città aperta”, Federico Fellini “La dolce vita”, Pier Paolo Pasolini “Accattone”.

Artists in Exhibition:

Getulio Alviani • Giovanni Anceschi • Enrico Baj • Franco Bemporad • Remo Bianco • Alberto Biasi • Agostino Bonalumi • Davide Boriani • Alberto Burri • Arturo Carmassi • Nicola Carrino • Enrico Castellani • Ettore Colla • Gianni Colombo • Roberto Crippa • Dadamaino • Gabriele De Vecchi • Lucio Del Pezzo • Agenore Fabbri • Lucio Fontana • Pinot Gallizio • Edoardo Landi • Ugo La Pietra • Francesco Lo Savio • Edgardo Mannucci • Piero Manzoni • Enzo Mari • Gino Marotta • Sandro Martini • Manfredo Massironi • Fabio Mauri • Mattia Moreni • Ennio Morlotti • Pierluca • Enrico Prampolini • Andrea Raccagni • Mimmo Rotella • Angelo Savelli • Salvatore Scarpitta • Paolo Scheggi • Giuseppe Spangnulo • Giuseppe Uncini • Grazia Varisco

About the Publication:

An extensive volume including illustrations and other material will be published in June in conjunction with the exhibition, edited by Peter Weibel, with texts by Peter Weibel and Klaus Wolbert, as well as numerous source texts and extensive biographies (ca. 300 pages, 150 illustrations).

ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe
Opening Hours:

Wed-Fri 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Sat, Sun 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Mon, Tue closed

Guided Tours:
Sat 2 p.m

Press Contact:
Karin Bellmann
phone: +49-(0)721-8100-1821
fax: +49-(0)721-8100-1139

RSVP for ROME – Open Painting
ZKM | Center for Art and Media
April 3, 2008

Thank you for your RSVP.

ZKM | Center for Art and Media will be in touch.

I have read e-flux’s privacy policy and agree that e-flux may send me announcements to the email address entered above and that my data will be processed for this purpose in accordance with e-flux’s privacy policy*

Thank you for subscribing to e-flux

Feel free to subscribe to additional content from the e-flux platform.