From Thursday 9 June 2022, Galleria Marchetti in Rome (Via Margutta 8) – which in this 2022 celebrates 25 years of activity – will host the exhibition ROMA 50-60 – An adventure between image and substance (curated by S. Pegoraro) as will remain on display until 28 July. It is a journey through works created in the 50s and 60s by 25 artists who were active in Rome during the two very intense decades of Italian sociocultural life, artists from different generations representing different stylistic tendencies and types of works: the development of Roman school (Giovanni Omiccioli, Carlo Quaglia, Antonietta Raphaël, Giovanni Stradone, Alberto Ziveri); the development of Forma 1 abstractionism and other research experiences on abstraction (Carla Accardi, Luigi Boille, Piero Dorazio, Gastone Novelli, Achille Perilli, Mimmo Rotella, Piero Sadun, Antonio Sanfilippo, Giulio Turcato); realism, between expressionism and social engagement (Ugo Attardi, Giovanni Checchi, Mino Maccari, Marcello Muccini, Renzo Vespignani); the Roman version of Pop Art (Franco Angeli, Mario Ceroli, Tano Festa, Renato Mambor, Mario Schifano, Cesare Tacchi). Catalog in the gallery, Graphic Editions Turato (Padua)
In twentieth-century art history in Rome, the two decades ’50s and ’60s give the impression of a generalized creative fibrillation, where the artistic research process can be perceived in all its dramatic vitality.
In the 1950s, Italy remained bound by old values, habits and hopes,
undergoes a deep metamorphosis and is the scene of a complete overhaul of traditional ways of living, which also nurtures the transformation of the language of art, in a dimension where the “new iconographic landscape” that surrounds us consists of road signs and billboards, is it “‘sublimated’ to a work of art” (Gillo Dorfles). During the sixties, the natural ability of art to predict, reflect and represent reality is strengthened and becomes “political”, in the broadest sense of the term, and also addresses the problem of “identity” concerning the definition of Italian modernity. This research develops through a new declination of gesture, substance, object, experience and artistic space, while the visual imaginary is expanded to include cinema, photography, advertising, graphics.
Some galleries – especially La Tartaruga by Plinio De Martiis – are crucial sites for post-war artistic renewal in Italy, which between the mid-fifties and late sixties has its most advanced point in Rome. Here the confrontation, even contradictory dialectic, takes place between the artists, to a large extent precisely in the space of this gallery, which quickly became one of the decisive points of art in the Roman “dolce vita”. Rome is originally a desolate as well as fascinating scenario for neorealistic film, and Rome thus becomes the stage for the intense activity of international artists. One of the most important sites for international exchange is the Rome-New York Art Foundation, which between 1957 and 1961 hosted nine exhibitions that were fundamental to the spread of American art in Europe. In fact, the decline in French art is becoming more and more apparent in Italy, especially in the Roman context, and at the same time an increase in American painting. On the other hand, as Alberto Arbasino wrote: “The external stimuli (…) have always evoked stimulating experiences. But once the loves were over, our painters continued to express themselves in their distinctive language, which is influenced by the ordinary .the background of our culture … “In addition to the strong need for a dialogue with international artistic voices, especially from the United States, the tendency of Italian artists to maintain contact with tradition is just as clear, to refer to the example of the great masters of our historical past, a tendency that it will not fail, even in moments of the most heated avant-garde protest.
In the 1950s and 1960s, some representative masters of the Roman school, who had already established themselves in the 1930s and 1940s, such as Raphäel, Omiccioli, Quaglia, Stradone, Ziveri, are still fully operational: artists who are very different from each other, but united by an iconic expression that reveals a deep connection to reality in its daily bodiliness, in its web of individual sensations and experiences, in its lyrical or tragic hint, but far from naturalistic realism as well as from ideological demands . Strongly ideologized, instead, is the painting of “social engagement” uniting in Rome, around the mid-1950s, artists of various origins and paths, including Renzo Vespignani and Ugo Attardi, united at the time, in the early 1960s’ from the experience of the “For and the Against” movement. But the “grotesque realism”, ironic and expressionist, of a strongly individualistic and in a way “anarchist” figure, like Mino Maccaris, was still very vital in those years.
On the other hand, research into abstraction, the exponents of what had been the Form 1 group (such as Accardi, Dorazio, Perilli, Sanfilippo, Turcato) continue to move. Perilli emphasized how, in contrast to geometric-essentialist abstractionism, for Forma 1 the connection between form and “reality” and with “the environment” was fundamental, and therefore questioned the centrality of the subject who perceives: form as a “synthesis of man” in his individual existence, it seems to be the central concept that the aniconical poetics of all members of the group revolve around in their different and personal developments. In each phase of the development of their research, this ability to reconcile the formalist and “purovisibilist” perspectives with an understanding of form that does not preclude the view of science and psychology remains remarkable. Perilli is also the protagonist, between the late 50s and early 60s, along with another great painter who started from abstract-informal research, Gastone Novelli, in an avant-garde research experience (close to the literary avant- gardes of “Group 63”) aimed at conquering a “new figuration”. The same “new figuration” that Mimmo Rotella will draw from in the early 60’s, which in the 50’s still creates magnificent abstract-informal décolleté with a strong pictorial hint that will remain even when working with the posters moves towards “figurative”, which makes it possible to recognize the image reproduced in them. As part of the research into abstraction, some fascinating figures are examined by more “isolated” artists: such as Luigi Boille, who moved to Rome in the second half of the 1960s, after living in Paris for many years, and working in the field of ‘Informal by Michel Tapié; and Piero Sadun, a reflective artist who is always far from the noise of the avant-garde, first reaching aniconism in the early 1960s, after a long journey dedicated to figuration.
The sixties, “the kind of dry cosmology that can hardly be traced by threads and marbling, by cracks and lumps, all a sensitive metaphysics and generalized rhythms of despair” – as Emilio Villa described the 1950s in the painting in a 1960 text – they have a tendency to replace these clumps of gesture and existential subjectivity with the apotheosis of the figure and the object. In Rome, the artists involved in this process are, for various reasons, part of the “School of Piazza del Popolo”, whose events are closely linked to pop art. The Italian taste of pop art in Rome is manifested primarily in a strong prevalence of artisanal / manual intervention (far from the purely industrial and serial techniques used by American pop) and in the restoration of historical-artistic iconography and its ” icons “: from Leonardo of Ceroli and Schifano to the metaphysical reinterpretations of Festa, to the juxtaposition of ancient symbols and contemporary icons of Angels and Tacchi. The use that the exponents of the Scuola di Piazza del Popolo make of the art and iconography of antiquity is somehow reminiscent of the theme that Walter Benjamin loves from the past: what has been is not in a linear and deterministic relative to the present, but it has returned in the experience of a present “full of reality”.
Exhibition: ROME 50-60 – An adventure between image and fabric
Current artists: Carla Accardi, Franco Angeli, Ugo Attardi, Luigi Boille, Mario Ceroli, Giovanni Checchi, Piero Dorazio, Tano Festa, Mino Maccari, Renato Mambor, Marcello Muccini, Giovanni Omiccioli, Gastone Novelli, Achille Perilli, Carlo Quaglia, Anton , Mimmo Rotella, Piero Sadun, Antonio Sanfilippo, Mario Schifano, Giovanni Stradone. Cesare Tacchi, Giulio Turcato, Renzo Vespignani, Alberto Ziveri
Edited by: S. Pegoraro
Location: Marchetti Art Gallery
Address: Via Margutta 8, 00187 Rom
Exhibition period: June 9 – July 28, 2022
Inauguration: Thursday, June 9, 2022, at 5:30 p.m.
Catalog: Grafiche Turato Edizioni, Padova
Hours: MAN 16.30-19.30; TIR-SA 10.30-13.00 / 16.30-19.30
tel. 06 3204863