The MAR - Art Museum of the City of Ravenna, as part of the VI 2019 edition of the Contemporary Mosaic Biennial, thanks to the contribution of the Fondazione del Monte of Bologna and Ravenna and Edison, presents the exhibition of the internationally renowned American artist , Chuck Close.
Climbing to the forefront of the art scene between the late 1960s and the early 1970s, with self-portraits and portraits, painted on a monumental scale by the reprise of photo shoots, Chuck Close has explored over time a wide range of pictorial, graphic and photographic, textile and, in recent years, mosaics, innovating the international art scene with original and high-impact linguistic and formal solutions. The works of Chuck Close testify to a tireless search for the possibilities of construction, reconstruction and visualization of the human face, inextricably linked to the neuropsychological condition of the artist. Suffering from prosopagnosia - a cognitive disorder that does not allow people to be recognized solely by physiognomic characters - Close has managed to transform a condition of disadvantage into the trigger of an artistic path that leads to a reflection on the relationships between people. Starting from the two-dimensionality of photography, which proved to be a significant aid to the recognition of people, Chuck Close developed an artistic practice with which to investigate the infinite ways of representing the same subject, from photographic realism to the limits of abstraction.
It is an emblematic research, that of Close, which reveals itself to be of topical relevance today, in a society accustomed to the communication of faces by means of selfies and their automatic recognition, thanks to the latest technologies and allowed by the applications of artificial intelligence and of computer vision. In his continuous exploration of techniques and media, Chuck Close comes to the mosaic following his involvement in the art project for the New York Metro. In fact, since 1985, the public art program coordinated by the Arts & Design department of the Metropolitan Transport Authority has been dealing with the installation of permanent works of art in the underground passages and stations of the city network. From 2017 the twelve works of the Subway Portraits series, portraits of important figures of art, music and culture including Cecily Brown, Philip Glass, Zhang Huan, Alex Katz, Lou Reed, Cindy Sherman and Kara Walker, are admired by whom transits to Second Avenue-86th Street station in New York City.
To accompany the mosaics, and in a relationship that is consistent with their processing, the first part of the exhibition displays a selection of works that well represent Chuck Close's interest in other extra-pictorial techniques. Examples are the Polaroid photographs, in color and in black and white, the tapestries worked on a jacquard loom, a hand-woven silk carpet, a precious pochoir print in 165 colors and a suggestive self-portrait obtained with oil painting distributed by hand for half of felt molds.