press release

From the collection of the Mart that consists of over 20,000 works, some of the most important masterpieces are gathered for a journey through a century, to rediscover the work and protagonists of the 20th century and arrive with them to the present day. One great show, with two existing complementary souls, each linked to its own time.

The first part of the exhibition, curated by Daniela Ferrari and Alessandra Tiddia, takes as its theme what is described #modernaclassicità, models that recall classicism, the craft, artistic education, art movements which, in the same years, offered a fragmented vision of the world.

The historical avant-garde movements gave way at the end of the Second World War to a return to order with figurative art turning both to classicism and archaism, aesthetic categories that sought to rebuild part of a vanished world or to give expression to a nostalgia for it. What followed was a traditionalist reform, defined in terms of classicism, neoclassicism, realism, new objectivity. The period between the 1910s and the 1940s also favored the depiction of the body, nude or dressed, inserted into architectural contexts conceived as citations of classical culture.

The visitor is invited to reflect on the timelessness of the works, and thus their constant topicality, beginning with the anti-classicism of Medardo Rosso, via the masterpieces of Mario Sironi, Giorgio de Chirico, Carlo Carrà, Arturo Martini and Massimo Campigli. Artistic practice maintained a strong intellectual dimension, a condition that favored the processes of abstraction and rarefaction that, on the one hand looked to the work of Giorgio Morandi, and on the other followed Fausto Melotti.

The second section of the exhibition, #canonecontemporaneo, curated by Veronica Caciolli and Denis Isaia, seeks out what has transformed recent history and shaken its foundations. This part follows a chronological timeline embracing the closest reality, with its openings to new social situations and new media, a search that tackles the street, daily affairs and collective tensions. Art literally opens itself up to new idioms ​​that infects and hybridizes it, disrupting its certainties. The investigation continues via a different research methodology while ideally developing the same theme. Leading from the abstraction of Lucio Fontana to the dramaticism of Bill Viola and the realism of Teresa Margolles, this section presents works made between the years after the end of Second World War and the first decade of the new millennium. Starting from John Baldessari to Alberto Burri, via Bruce Nauman, Robert Mapplethorpe and Luigi Ontani. Until the 1970s, the focus is on Italian movements of international relevance. In the 1980s, the overseas influences become the clear protagonists of the museum's collections, Cindy Sherman, Peter Halley, Barbara Kruger and David Salle, for example. The 1990s open with a new poly-centrism and new aesthetic investigations that are evident at the Mart with the acquisition of mainly photographic works, from Thomas Demand, Andreas Gursky and Bernd and Hilla Becher to Gabriele Basilico. Rounding off the exhibition are the works of more recent artists, such as Wade Guyton, Wolfgang Tillmans and Vik Muniz.

collezionemart is complemented by sections curated by its Archivio del '900, a research centre of excellence, constituting what is almost an exhibition in its own right. The Archivio offers a thoughtful investigation of the very concept of "exhibition," conceived as a professional and dynamic event, designed to promote and enhance the works of art of the Mart, highlighting the richness and variety of the materials and documents. These include posters, invitations, brochures, catalogues and press clippings, correspondence, photographs, sound recordings and films. Two thematic rooms, designed as a fulcrum around which the two exhibition itineraries rotate, complete the extraordinary story of a rich and complex century.