Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Modena

November 28, 2003

30/11/2003 - 07/03/2004

Foro Boario, via Bono da Nonantola, Modena, Italy

The Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Modena
The Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Modena, in collaboration with the Peggy Guggenheim Collection presents:


Curator: Luca Massimo Barbero

At 6.00 p.m. on Saturday 29th November 2003, the exhibition FROM MODIGLIANI TO THE CONTEMPORARY: SCULPTURE FROM THE GUGGENHEIM COLLECTIONSopens at the Foro Boario in Modena. The aim of the project, promoted by the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Modena in collaboration with the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, is to focus the attention of the public on a number of themes characterizing sculpture in the 20th Century.

The vaulted halls of the Foro Boario gallery provided the point of departure for the design of the event, which is conceived as a veritable journey of exploration, with visitors able to walk around and study the exhibits as if in a sculpture park.

The exhibition, which has been ideated for the Foro Boario gallery in Modena by Luca Massimo Barbero associate curator of Peggy Guggenheim Collection – is certainly not intended to be exhaustive, but presented rather as a digest of the collections owned by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. Seen together for the first time will be sculptures from the collections of the New York and Bilbao Guggenheim museums, and from the former private collection of Peggy Guggenheim.

Spanning the period from 1882 to the present day, the exhibits are organized in three main sections: The Human Figure: evolution in tradition – The Animal Form: a modern bestiary; The Avantgarde: in search of the abstract; and The advent of Anti-sculpture: the contemporary, each ordered chronologically.

Almost as a provocatory gesture, and to demonstrate the vitality of the collections owned by the American museum, the exhibition opens with a brand new work by Maurizio Nannucci, a neon sign created for the Guggenheim Foundation and the Foro Boario Gallery to mark this particular occasion.

Nannucci, an artist with an international reputation as an originator of challenging and conceptual material, will be known to the wider public for his neon creations commissioned by important international architects. He has collaborated with Renzo Piano on the Rome Auditorium and the new Times Building being erected in New York, and with other designers who recognize a new kind of innovative and topical sculpture/environment in Nannuccis work.

The Nannucci sign affords a gateway to the first part of the exhibition, a section dedicated to the Human Figure and having as its leitmotif the manner in which a theme, its variations and its developments have tended traditionally to evolve in art. And it is a prologue of high quality, with sculptures by Degas, Rodin and Maillol, the three names acclaimed by critics as initiators of the New Sculpture in France. The pieces come from the permanent collection of the New York Guggenheim. Pivotal to this first section is a sculpture by Amedeo Modigliani, a head that has become emblematic of the artist and one of his best known works.

The theme of body and portrait, and the changes that have occurred under the influence of successive artists, are illustrated in the works of Moore, Arp, Ernst, Giacometti, Armitage and Richier, also in the interesting group of glass sculptures created by Pablo Picasso and blown by Egidio Costantinis Fucina degli Angeli studio (Murano). More than twenty prized pieces have been brought from the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, allowing the public to admire their transparent and solid blue colouring. Mythological bodies and animal and human metamorphoses bear witness to the extraordinary and limitless artistic compass of the Spanish master.

As if to ensure continuity, the Picasso creations function as a preamble to a special section, dedicated to the Bestiary. Sculpture has always found one of its chief sources of inspiration in the animal form, and accordingly, there are works following this tradition from the early 20th Century to the most recent of contemporary trends. Worthy of note, among others, are the Lions by Mirko (an artist whose work Peggy Guggenheim was already collecting in the 1950s) and the sculptures of Eduardo Paolozzi and Luciano Minguzzi. Also of singular interest are two works by contemporary artists Louise Bourgeois and Joseph Beuys. The notional epicentre of this section is the impressive Maiastra by Costantin Brancusi, a mystic gold-plumed bird of Romanian folklore, considered one of the artists masterpieces.

Alexander Calder provides yet another gateway along the route. His mobiles mark the passage into the section dedicated to abstractism, to the disappearance of stylistic frontiers associated with body and nature. The Museum of New York has furnished masterpieces of early 20th Century avantgarde, from Gabo to Moholy-Nagy; and other works are secured thanks to agreements made by the Museum with the Nasher and Noguchi Foundations, which have lent works symbolic of the movement. This section has sculptures by Lipchitz, Duchamp-Villon, Pomodoro, Nivola, Pevsner and Vantongerloo, among others.

Another moment for reflection a change of address is offered by the space dedicated to two artists, Joseph Cornell and Marcel Duchamp: a small section entitled Provocation/the advent of anti-sculpture. Cornell is considered a master of sculpture consisting in assemblages of commonplace objects combining to form metaphysical and surreal theatres-in-boxes, like the famous ensemble containing a stuffed parrot, which caused a stir in American circles during the 1940s. Duchamp, for years a friend and advisor of Peggy Guggenheim, is represented by his historic Boite en Valise, containing small-scale reproductions of all the works in his oeuvre. In effect, the artist created a portable museum, arranging his works in an intriguing carry-case like object made by the Louis Vuitton company. The one on display in Modena is the valise No 1-De Luxe dedicated to Peggy Guggenheim shortly before his American patron left Europe for the United States.

These two fascinating and enigmatic artists provide a gateway to the part of the exhibition dedicated to the Contemporary, together with Carl Andre, Flavin (represented by one of his important neon works), Kounellis, Penone and Michelangelo Pistoletto. This section also contains confrontational works like Untitled (Public Opinion) by Felix Gonzales Torres, from 1991: a whimsically conceived heap of black liquorice rods from which visitors are invited, symbolically, to help themselves.

The exhibition is designed so that people can pass physically through the creative experiences of many artists who have left their mark on the twentieth century and are featured here, courtesy of the Guggenheim Foundation, in a collection that is fascinating and always full of surprises.

Press Office

Roberta Lombardo Hurstel Tel. 0033 1 53260426 Fax 0033 1 53300026

Cecilia Lazzeretti – Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Modena Tel. 059-239888 Fax 059-238966

Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Modena
November 28, 2003

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