Curated by: Lorenzo Canova, Riccardo Passoni
The Civic Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art in Turin (GAM) proudly presents a grand exhibition in honour of Giorgio de Chirico (Volo, Greece, 1888 - Rome, 1978).
Entitled Back to the Future, Neometaphysics and Contemporary Art, this event is a dialogue between Giorgio de Chirico’s Neometaphysical painting and generations of artists who, particularly from the Sixties onwards, were inspired by his work, acknowledging him as the master who guided their own innovative artistic visions. An artist whose Neometaphysics placed him in a direct exchange with younger burgeoning creators.
The exhibition has been curated by Lorenzo Canova and Riccardo Passoni and has been organized and promoted by the Turin Museums Foundation, GAM Turin and Associazione Metamorfosi, in collaboration with the Giorgio e Isa de Chirico Foundation. The exhibition features approximately one hundred artworks from important museums, institutions, foundations and private collections.
Giorgio de Chirico’s Metaphysics, as expressed in both his original and futuristic vision, have influenced diverse creative approaches and genres, not only in the field of visual arts, but also in literature, cinema and new digital technologies, making a remarkable impact on videogames and videoclips. The artist has attracted global interest from Europe to the United States, reaching as far as Japan.
Today, posterity, free from the stereotypes of certain condemnations, can “have its say”, as Marcel Duchamp intuitively perceived in his genius, writing about de Chirico in 1943.
New attention is being paid to de Chirico’s Neometaphysics period (1968-78) in the context of contemporary art, a re-immersion that represents both a return to the past and a new departure, a phase of new creativity and a circling back to images of the past, channelled through a brand new perspective and cutting-edge formal and conceptual solutions. In 1982, Maurizio Calvesi was already emphasising the relevance of de Chirico’s Neometaphysics for contemporary art, glorifying the master in the pages of his indispensible book La Metafisica Schiarita: “…we remember your colourful chiaroscuro, your spheres, your signs and your arrows, your backrests and your chimneys, your enamelled objects and now as if detached from the paintings, a measure of your lightning inspiration and your suspended states, surge into a new moment in art that is spreading like a refreshing rain shower or a swelling symphony”.
It is not by chance that de Chirico’s Neometaphysics seems to dialogue with pop art and international art, particularly American art, Andy Warhol himself explicitly recognized de Chirico as one of his role models, paying tribute to the master with a famous series of works in which he presented a revisited interpretation of Metaphysics.
With a painting style characterised by intensity and ‘chromatic happiness’, the Neometaphysical de Chirico seems to respond to the tributes by these young disciples, creating an animated and vibrant exchange from a distance. The nature of de Chirico’s artistic essence continues to guarantee his contribution as one of the most directly referenced sources of art for many generations of both Italian and international artists, suspended between images of urban elements, the goods of mass civilisation and the memories of a classical and lost beauty: a juxtaposition that de Chirico himself anticipated in his novel Hebdomeros.
This exhibition highlights this intense and profound transgenerational artistic relationship, linking de Chirico’s Neometaphysical works with subsequent trends in Italian and international art like Andy Warhol’s pop art and the work of other artists such as Valerio Adami, Franco Angeli, Mario Ceroli, Lucio Del Pezzo, Tano Festa, Giosetta Fioroni, Gino Marotta, Ugo Nespolo, Concetto Pozzati, Mimmo Rotella, Mario Schifano and Emilio Tadini. The exhibition also features a great selection of metaphysics torch bearers such as Fabrizio Clerici, paintings by Renato Guttuso and Ruggero Savinio, along with top international artists such as Henry Moore, Philip Guston and Bernd and Hilla Becher. The display also features masters of the Arte Povera art movement such as Giulio Paolini and Michelangelo Pistoletto and the conceptual visions of Fabio Mauri, Claudio Parmiggiani, Luca Patella and Vettor Pisani, along with Giuseppe Uncini’s geometric shadows, photography by Gianfranco Gorgoni, sculptures by Mimmo Paladino, paintings by Alessandro Mendini and Salvo, the enigma that was Gino De Dominicis, Luigi Ontani’s tableaux vivants, and a group of international protagonists from recent generations like Juan Muñoz, Vanessa Beecroft and Francesco Vezzoli.
In addition to the Neometaphysical works loaned by the Giorgio e Isa de Chirico Foundation, this exhibition introduces digital animation by Maurice Owen and Russell Richards, along with works by contemporary artists from the GAM’s collections.
Among these artists are Claudio Abate, Gabriele Basilico, Luigi Ghirri, Franco Fontana and Fausto Melotti. A special section of the exhibition, like a precious insert, is reserved for the theme of citation and copying, de Chirico’s favourite exercise throughout his long period of research on the paintings by the great masters. This section also unveils an original drawing by Michelangelo from Casa Buonarroti, displayed alongside drawings de Chirico dedicated to the study of Michelangelo’s frescoes in the Sistine Chapel and further works inspired by Michelangelo that form part of a famous series by Tano Festa, a painter who was among the first to understand the innovative power de Chirico’s painting style possessed in its connection to the art of the past and free-falling through time, to piece together the art of the future. The exhibition is accompanied by a Gangemi International catalog, featuring texts by Lorenzo Canova, Riccardo Passoni and Jacqueline Munck.