The Italian Institute of Culture in Prague and AlbumArte present:
Anteprima#4 | Gianni Politi
Artist-in-residence at the Italian Institute of Culture in Prague
Prague, 20th August – 30th September, 2014
Solo exhibition of the artist entitled giovane pittore romano
Italian Institute of Culture in Prague – Vlasska 34, 118 00 Prague 1, CZ
opening reception September 15th, 2014 at 6 p.m.
curated by Paola Ugolini
As part of the Anteprima programme of cultural and artistic exchanges, organized by AlbumArte, which has now reached its fourth edition, the Italian artist Gianni Politi (born Rome, 1986) will be invited to be the artist-in-residence at the Italian Institute of Culture in Prague. In addition to his residency, Politi will put on his first solo exhibition in Prague. Curated by Paola Ugolini, it will be held in the evocative and historic building of the Italian Institute of Culture (Vlasska 34, 118 00 Praha 1) for which the artist will elaborate a particular scheme for displaying his works.
What led AlbumArte to choose Gianni Politi was the innovative nature of his painting, and his complete and total adherence to painting as his chosen means of expression, with a particularly rigorous stance that is rather rare among young artists today. Thanks to his philosophical approach to the construction of his canvases and his very individual use of paint Politi succeeds in communicating the most widely varied emotions regarding his own personal experiences, while also projecting his ideas into the future, and this makes him an exceptionally perceptive and determined artist. The exhibition is part of a programme of collaborations with external curators and it is specifically designed for the Italian Institute of Culture in Prague.
Anteprima # 4 | the project
by Paola Ugolini
Gianni Politi is a young Roman artist (b. 1986) who has chosen painting as his principal medium of expression. After experimenting with the act of painting as a moment of intimate reflection on his childhood and adolescent memories connected to the memory of his father’s face, his research is now moving towards a broader reflection on the theme of painting by means of the re-examination of various genres that are sometimes clichéd or over-exploited, such as those of still life, landscape and abstraction. He reflects upon these themes also by using the technique of pieces of paper of various sizes, stuck onto the canvas. In his recent work his decisive and firm brushstrokes are sometimes almost furious and the visual effect produced by superimposing them upon paper glued onto the canvas is aesthetically effective as well as impressively mature. Politi’s particular reflection on painting as a intimately private and almost meditative moment of reflection, and also as an outlet for the inner drives of a creative fury or “furor”, has led to a series of works that show us the artist’s inner landscapes and that also reveal the actions he performed in order to realize some previous works in his studio.
The original aim of Gianni Politi’s period as an artist-in-residence in Prague was to investigate the aesthetic and conceptual relationships, as well as the profound contrasts, between the work of a young contemporary painter and the technical ability of Giovanni Pietro Scotti, who created the grandiose decorations of the so-called “Italian Chapel” of Prague in 1736.
But, and this is the beauty of artistic residencies, the project changed during the course of the work and, inspired by the architectural monumentality of the Institute, a magnificent seventeenth century building, the artist chose to focus on the outer courtyard of the chapel, for which he has conceived and created three major canvases in which the thick painted surfaces are in some points illuminated by delicate golden brush-strokes that light up the paintings in different ways depending on the angle at which light strikes them and give these canvases movement, making them almost seem three-dimensional. The Baroque style of painting was all about motion, surprise and drama and with these precious creations Gianni Politi pays tribute to that unique moment in the history of art. His innovative three new paintings have a technique that diverges significantly from his previous productions, inaugurating a painting style with a new approach to material qualities and a sensitivity to an almost monochrome whiteness that moves ever closer towards the twisting and swirling virtuoso sculpture of the Baroque era.
Painting and sacred art in general in the 17th century was often intended as an “instrumentum regni”, or as a means of ruling or exercising power, very unlike that of the non-iconic and seemingly more immediate creations of modern and contemporary visual art, which was conceived and developed in a radically different social and historical context, and which expresses a set of very dissimilar spiritual values and practical needs. But these two approaches can be linked and reconciled, and it is important to point out that the work of Gianni Politi focuses on a need to understand tradition and to establish a vibrant and dynamic dialogue with it. His work constantly looks towards the time-honored currents and styles of the history of Italian art, although his research is also closely linked to autobiographical events and thus profoundly connected to the world of private emotions. I believe that similar contrasts and comparisons, which may seem a little incongruous at first, can provide us with a perfect opportunity for engaging in a deeper reflection on the way in which the practice of painting is constantly evolving in the work of artists in recent generations.
Starting from his main interest in painting as a practice with an inherent value, Politi has recently moved on to explore various less canonical forms of representation that involve concepts such as space and time, the before and the after. What he used to reject during the creation of his works as waste or a “by-product” is now reused so that it can become an integral part of a whole new artistic landscape.
In this context, the artist’s new series of six works made of sheets of paper superimposed in layers and framed like a canvas is particularly interesting. With this technique he creates a sort of collage upon which gold gothic-style letters seem to emerge, one on each sheet, seemingly suspended upon the textured paper surface into which various geometric signs are impressed, seemingly arranged in a totally random and haphazard way. Similarly to the use of white in his large monochrome canvases the whiteness of the paper is the perfect backdrop for these golden signs that illuminate these works made of paper that the artist has now for the first time decided to frame, so as to emphasize their great value.
Gianni Politi was born in 1986 in Rome where he lives and works. His research is closely linked to autobiographical events that he processes through the painting medium. Solo shows: 2014 Untitled (upcoming), GNAM, Rome (IT); 2013 From the studio (Nightrider) CO2, Rome (IT); 2012 Viva la muerte omaggio a S. Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, curated by Costanza Paissan, catalogue by Cura, Biblioteca Casanatense, Rome (IT); 2011 Le cose non saranno mai più come prima, curated by Alessandro Facente, Palazzo Collicola arti visive, Spoleto (IT); A brief history of pain, Artist book, 27 days of pain by Cura CO2, Rome (IT). Group shows: 2014 Display – Mediating Landscap, curated by Flip, Project Space Sala Murat, Bari (IT) La XIII luna with: Lupo Borgonovo, Enzo Cucchi, Raphael Hefti, Morten Norbye Halvorsen, Jessica Warboys, Furini arte contemporanea, Arezzo (IT); 2013 The Ritual of the Snake, a project by Gianni Politi with: Alessandro Agudio, Lupo Borgonovo, Giulio Delvè, Andrea Dojmi, Helena Hladilova & Namsal Siedlecki, Matteo Nasini, Fondazione Pastificio Cerere, Rome (IT) The cock-cro with: Giulio Delvè, Andrea Dojmi, Ettore Favini, Helena Hladilova, Ilja Karilampi, Mike Ruiz, Samara Scott, Jesse Wine, CO2, Turin (IT); Artissima 20 with: Giulio Delvè and Andrea Dojmi, Booth CO2 Oval Lingotto, Turin (IT); Genius loci curated by Paola Ugolini, various locations, Pesaro (IT); Yellowing of the lunar consciousness curated by Andrea Bruciati, Galleria Massimo De Luca, Mestre / Palazzo Bonvicini, Venice (IT); 2012 Re-generation curated by Maria Alicata and Ilaria Gianni, MACRO, Rome (IT); Teoria del valore with: David Casini, Stanislao Di Giugno, Ettore Favini, Francesco Fonassi, Ma Liang, Giovanni Oberti, CO2, Rome (IT); 2011 Su nero nero/Over black black, a project by Franz Paludetto Castello di Rivara, Torino (IT); Cabinet des dessins curated by Lorand Hegyi with: Dennis Oppenheim, Tony Cragg, Omar Galliani, Piero Pizzi Cannella, Rolando Deval, Marco Neri, Marine Joatton, Denica Lehocka, Ugo Giletta, Nina Kovacheva, Valerio Berruti, Felice Levini, Veronica Holcova, Christina Lhopital, Lazlo Revesz, Marina Paris, Anila Rubiku, Villa La versiliana, Marina di Pietrasanta (IT); Pain thing; a project by Gianluca Marziani, 52° Venice Biennale, Palazzo Zenobio degli Armeni, Venice (IT); In the long tunnel we are all alive, curated by Alessandro Facente with: Tom Pnini, Rosini and Mitzi Pederson, Reload – Ex officine Rosati, Rome (IT). Residencies and grants: 2010 Celeste Prize NY winner of the painting section, Brooklyn, New York (USA). Bibliography: 2013 Il rituale del serpente published by Cura; 2012 Viva la muerte, texts by Ilaria Marotta, Costanza Paissan, published by Cura; 2011 Twenty-seven days of pain, published by Cura.
Paola Ugolini lives and works in Rome. Graduated in Literature and History of Art at University of Rome “La Sapienza”, she is an independent curator and art critic. Since the 80s she has been the curator of contemporary artists’ exhibitions taking place in public and private exhibition halls in Italy and abroad. Among her main curatorial projects are: 2014 And What is left unsaid…, Chittrovanu Mazumdar solo show, MACRO Museum, Rome (IT); 2013 Genius Loci, Italian Young Artists group show, Pesaro (IT), different venues; 2010-2011 Ulysses’s syndrome, Gabriele Giugni solo show, MADRE Museum, Naples (IT) and The Museum of Rome in Trastevere, Rome (IT); 2010 Crossing Cultures and CortoArteCircuito at MAXXI Museum, Rome (IT); 2008 Dump Queen, goldiechiari solo show, Pescheria Foundation, Pesaro (IT), 2006 Gino de Dominicis, solo show, co-curated with Andrea Bellini and Laura Cherubini, PS1 and MoMA, New York (US). Since 1990 she has regularly collaborated with several sector magazines, writing reviews and critical essays for Exibart, Il Giornale dell’Arte, Il Segno, Arte e Critica and – previously – for Opening, Flash Art, Tema Celeste, Next and Art in Italy. Since 2007 she is the scientific and art advisor for CortoArteCircuito, a cultural association producing short movies about art. Within the Association, she is also involved in the project Crossing Cultures in cooperation with Asiatica Film Mediale of Rome whereby Asian directors are asked to shoot a short film on Italian artists at work. In 2010 CortoArteCircuito produced four short movies on artists such as Maurizio Mochetti, Luigi Ontani, Sandro Chia and Giuseppe Gallo, whereas as in 2011 the association produced another four short movies on Alfredo Pirri, goldiechiari, Pietro Ruffo and Nunzio. In 2012, CortoArteCircuito produced four short movies on Alessandro Piangiamore, Alessandro Sarra, Alberto di Fabio and Marco Tirelli. Since 2011 she is the curator of the project CortoArteCircuito in Maxxi producing the “making of” of the most important contemporary art exhibitions hosted by MAXXI Museum in Rome: Michelangelo Pistoletto. Da uno a molti and Città dell’Arte, Masbedo, C’est la vie pas le paradis, Indian Highway, as well as a short video for the section Maxxi-Architettura on the Campana Brothers. Between 1996 and 1999 she worked as art director and author of the art show ART’E’ broadcast on RAITRE. In the same years, she produced many episodes for a radio-documentary on history, culture and art that was on-air on RADIORAI TRE until 2000. In 1993, with Laura Cherubini she was the curator of the exhibition Macchine per la pace held in the former “Yugoslav Pavilion” of Giardini di Castello within the 40 Venice Biennale. In 1990, she worked as assistant curator of the exhibition Ubi Fluxus Ibi Motus curated by Achille Bonito Oliva and Gino di Maggio within the XXXIX Venice Biennale. In the same year, she curated Markus Lupertz’ solo exhibition in cooperation with the Cultural Association “Fonti del Clitunno” and professor Giovanni Carandente during the XXXIII edition of the “Festival dei Due Mondi” of Spoleto. Between 1992 and 1994 she worked with artist Aldo Mondino during the organization of his exhibitions. She also worked in Paris with the French artist Jean Jaques Lebel.
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