press release

The first major retrospective of the works of Carlo Alfano hosted by a museum, the monographic exhibition explores the oeuvre of an artist who has left an indelible mark in the development of Italian conceptual art. In collaboration with ARCHIVO ALFANO.

The Mart continues its exploration of artists who defied the limits of traditional artistic practices in the second half of the twentieth century and significantly contributed to redefining the boundaries of contemporary art. The monographic exhibition is the first major retrospective of the work of Carlo Alfano hosted in a museum. Starting from a nucleus of works that for many years have been absent from international art shows or rarely exhibited at all, the exhibition illustrates the artist’s creative path from the mid-1960s to his death in 1990. 50 works, many of which assume monumental dimensions, illustrate the developments in an artistic quest that has yet to be fully explored.

After his debut in the 1950s in association with the Informalism movement, Carlo Alfano (1932-90) went on to explore the mechanisms of vision and perception, extending his quest from works of kinetic art to the creation of three-dimensional environments. Starting in the late 1960s, his distinctive analytical approach began to assume increasingly evident characteristics of conceptual art. Amply represented in the exhibition, this stage in his career is characterized by linguistic and philosophical elements that explore space and time, the individual and the other. Among the most famous works we note the "Distanze" series and the work Stanza per voci, installed for the first time in the dual-frame version, and the Frammenti di un autoritratto anonimo cycle, which he began in 1969 and continued working on to the end of his life. During the 1970s and with even greater continuity in the following decade, Alfano returned to figuration, turning his gaze to mythological subjects and iconographic references to the history of art, without, however, abandoning the self-reflective dimension that distinguishes his entire oeuvre.

The exhibition illustrates the developments in Alfano’s art with special attention to how the works are displayed, giving the visitor the experience of the theatrical inclination that is one of his hallmarks. The exhibition includes works from major private collections and public institutions, such as the Galleria Nazionale d’arte moderna and the Museo d’Arte contemporanea Donnaregina.

The monograph with contributions from Flavia Alfano, Maria De Vivo, Stefano Ferrari, Denis Isaia, Gianfranco Maraniello and Andrea Viliani represents the most complete compendium of the artists works currently in existence. Published in Italian and English, it was made possible thanks to the ARCHIVIO ALFANO.

Curated by Gianfranco Maraniello and Denis Isaia.