February 23, 2008 - Mart Rovereto - Chen Zhen and Vincenzo Agnetti
February 23, 2008

Chen Zhen and Vincenzo Agnetti

Chen Zhen
Purification Room
Oggetti trovati, argilla, muri, pavimento
350 x 800 x 600 cm
Ph. Ela Bialkowska
Courtesy Galleria Continua, San Gimignano-Beijing

Chen Zhen.
The Body as Landscape

23rd February 2008 to 1st June 2008

Vincenzo Agnetti
23rd February 2008 to 1st June 2008


Chen Zhen. The Body as Landscape
Curated by Gerald Matt and Ilse Lafer
Co-produced by Mart and the Vienna Kunsthalle
MartRovereto, 23rd February 2008 to 1st June 2008

Vincenzo Agnetti
Curated by Achille Bonito Oliva, Giorgio Verzotti.
In collaboration with: Archivio Vincenzo Agnetti, Milano
MartRovereto, 23rd February – 1st June 2008

The Mart – Museo di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto – will be showing “Chen Zhen. The Body as Landscape”, the first anthological selection to be hosted in Italy following the premature death of the Chinese artist Chen Zhen (Shanghai 1955 – Paris 2000)

Mart is also the first museum to present an anthological exhibition dedicated to Vincenzo Agnetti (Milan 1926-1981). Curated by Achille Bonito Oliva and Giorgio Verzotti, the exhibition is offered in collaboration with the Archivio Vincenzo Agnetti in Milan.

Both shows will be on display at MartRovereto from 23rd February 2008 to 1st June 2008

The Chen Zhen exhibition will present not only a rich selection of works and installations, produced from 1989 to 2000 and on loan from international museums and private collections, but also a section dedicated to unfinished projects, never before shown to the public.

Having grown up during the Cultural Revolution in China, Chen Zhen has lived and worked in Shanghai, New York and Paris. All his work goes beyond the borders commonly marked between Oriental and Western thinking, and even evades systematic classification on the basis of labels commonly associated with
art movements.

Deliberately avoiding rigid membership of any group and consolidated expressive languages, Chen Zhen placed a striving for synthesis as the basis for his work, questioning himself, for instance, on the strength and universality of human desire to avoid wars in favour of peaceful mediation.

A protagonist in the most radical research in the field of the visual arts, Vincenzo Agnetti may be considered the leading Italian exponent of conceptual art, characterising at least a decade of international visual culture.

After a brief period of exploring informal art, in 1960 Agnetti embarked upon an intense activity as writer and theorist of contemporary art, supporting artists such as Piero Manzoni and Enrico Castellani, and such groups as the Azimuth, active in Milan in the early 1960s.

At the end of the decade, Agnetti continued his theoretical reflections on art, its role and languages, but shifting his attention to the actual production of art.

Agnetti’s works are proposals of a mental nature. Frequently, they involve a self-analysis based upon a comparison of image and word, aiming to verify the function of verbal and visual languages. The numerous invitations he received to international exhibitions like Documenta at Kassel, in 1972, and to various editions of the Venice Biennale, gave Agnetti a recognition that placed him at the same level as artists involved in the “deconstruction” of artistic languages, such as John Baldessari or Joseph Kosuth in the United States, or Daniel Buren and Victor Burgin, in Europe.

His premature death at the age of 55 prevented Agnetti from maturing the form of his art, which in the last years was returning to a manual approach, but modified by the use of photography.

The Mart’s exhibition constitutes the first step in a necessary critical re-examination of Agnetti’s work, which has hitherto been the object of only sporadic and incomplete studies.

The catalogue, featuring critical texts by Achille Bonito Oliva, Tommaso Trini, Giorgio Verzotti and Chiara Bertola, will be a particularly broad-ranging monograph and will document the entire corpus of Agnetti’s work, including works not on display.

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