Thursday 10 February, the National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art inaugurates the exhibition "Sobre sí mismo": Franco Nonnis 1959-1965, curated by Maurizio Farina, Francesco Mozzetti and Guido Rebecchini, which marks the rediscovery of an artist with a lively curiosity intellectual and a strong interest in experimentation in the arts, including painting, music and scenography. This exhibition presents a large body of works by Franco Nonnis (1925-1991) produced between the second half of the 1950s and the mid-1960s.
A nucleus of paintings on canvas and paper and a selection of heterogeneous projects and materials document the breadth of his interests which, in addition to painting, extended to music, poetry and theater. A multifaceted and complete intellectual artist, Nonnis was a restless and independent spirit and maintained intense contacts with artists such as Achille Perilli and Gastone Novelli , with the literary neo-avant-garde of the Novissimi and Gruppo 63 and with the world of the New Theater, coming to form very close partnerships with Franco Evangelisti and Alfredo Giuliani. The protagonist of an important exhibition at the Laboratory Museum of Contemporary Art of the Sapienza University of Rome in 1991, Nonnis's work was subsequently almost forgotten, if not by a few specialists and by those who knew him and with whom he had collaborated.
Through this exhibition, the National Gallery promotes the reintegration of a figure of the highest value in the panorama of his time. Around 1960, Nonnis found himself experiencing a fundamental hub of artistic culture in Italy, tense between the informal currents, the American novelties that were beginning to appear on the national scene, and the first conceptual interventions. Common to many of these researches was the tendency to consider the painting as a concrete object that resolves itself into its surface, just think of Fontana on a more conceptual side and Burri on that instead of matter. It was precisely to the works of Burri, which Nonnis knew, that his paintings responded most intensely, without however abandoning the poetic search for enigmatic and personal meanings, often exclusively suggested by evocative titles. Characterized by a strong experimental tension, this path led him to first create oil paintings and then, progressively, on the one hand to experiment with new techniques such as the use of earth, sand and corrugated cardboard in paintings, and on the other to create visual poetry collages made in collaboration with Alfredo Giuliani.