Galleria Civica di Modena

December 19, 2007

Contemporary works from the Carlo Cattelani collection
20th December 2007 – 24th February 2008

Opening, 20th December 2007, 6pm

The Castle, piazza Calcagnini, Formigine
(Modena — Italy)

For info tel. +39 059 416373 / 145
cultura [​at​] comune.formigine.mo.it


He looked on art as a language still able to speak of spirituality, able to exploit all the means of the contemporary world, even the most far-fetched and contradictory, in order to reveal the most deeply hidden side of our existence. Be it through the light creases left on a sheet of folded paper, through a tangle of intertwining colours, or through the bloody violence of rites of sacrifice and purification.

Carlo Cattelani was one of the most important collectors on the Modenese scene, and undoubtedly the most original: his collection work stands out on the Italian panorama thanks to the acute intuition with which he approached art and the manner in which he managed to bring this passion together with his profound religious beliefs.

Lo Spirito dell’Arte. Contemporary works from the Carlo Cattelani collection: this is the title of the exhibition curated by Angela Vettese and which is set to open on 20th December at 6pm at the Castle of Formigine (MO), in piazza Calcagnini. Organised and produced by the Comune di Formigine, by the Galleria Civica di Modena as well as by the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Modena, and with the support of Coop Estense, MZ s.r.l., Siti – B&T Group S.p.A. And Enìa Energìa, the exhibition will remain on show until 24th February 2008.

Celebrated in numerous events both in Italy and abroad, from the exhibition at Volpaia Castle (1994, curated by Angela Vettese) to that in Valencia (1998, curated by Carles Marco) as well as that at Palazzo Forti in Verona (2006, curated by Giorgio Cortenova), Carlo Cattelani has never really achieved outright recognition in the Modenese area, where he spent his whole life.

And so now is the time, almost ten years after his passing away, to pay tribute to him here as well, in his homeland. Compared to that which he himself desired when alive, this exhibition is less bound up in the close link between contemporary art and religion, also giving space to the purchases made with his son, Tiberio. Yet this is an exhibition that follows in the footsteps of a man at odds with any diktat imposed by the art system, one who set no store by the economic value of artworks despite his being well enough aware and well enough informed never to make naïve judgements: it was not for a matter of being badly informed that the ex-butcher — and he was never ashamed of the work he did — decided to sell the Rothkos and the Pop canvases he purchased in America during those first, fantastic journeys. Instead, it was in order to pursue the idea that art might collaborate with the Church, that contemporary art in particular may regain its role as spiritual language, even when its contents appear somewhat hard to accept. Or rather, especially in these cases: God witnesses our existence as it unfolds day after day, and exercises his providence on us mortals as beings in flesh and blood, as sinners, and for this very reason in need of the beautiful and the good and all the other manifestations of thought — be it in words or images — that are able to lift us higher.

The exhibition will host works of the most diverse trends: there are no movements more suited than others to speak to us about God. From a Homage to the Square by Josef Albers, the great Bauhaus master, up to the drawings by Lucio Fontana. From Sol LeWitt to the accounts of Viennese actionists such as Hermann Nitsch; from new realists like Daniel Spoerri and Ben Vautier, to Joseph Beuys, and from the conceptual momentum of Gino De Dominicis, Franco Vaccari, Agnes Denes, Dan Graham, to that of Fluxus, with Alison Knowles, Yoko Ono, Wolf Vostell, Atsuko Tanatka, and the magnetic self-portraits of Gilbert & George, right up to the most recent generation of ‘90s artists with works by Carsten Höller, Karen Kilimnik, Sue Williams and Sherrie Levine.
Fifty years of art history summed up in the works of these and other artists in a series of highly powerful images, as powerful as the existence that we are called upon to experience: full of joy, yet well aware of all its more dramatic sides.

Produced and organised by: Comune di Formigine, Culture Councillorship; Galleria Civica di
Modena; Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Modena

Saturday and Sunday 10am – 1pm and 3pm – 7pm, Thursdays by prior arrangement.
26th December and 1st January 3pm – 7pm
Entrance: free

Galleria Civica di Modena
December 19, 2007

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