press release

From October 15th, 2009, to February 7th, 2010 MAMbo – Museo d'Arte Moderna di Bologna hosts one of the most relevant names in Italian Contemporary Art: Gilberto Zorio.

After Giovanni Anselmo, Luigi Ontani and Giuseppe Penone, Zorio – internationally acknowledged as one of the main artists of Arte Povera – is the protagonist of one of the most exhaustive exhibitions of his work so far, showcasing his research from its beginnings to the present day.

The works on display explore the different themes which have always characterized Zorio's work, and fully cover an arc of time stretching from 1966 to 2009. Reaching beyond a mere retrospective selection, the works are catalysts for reflections and discourses centered on their own practice: they compose much more than a simple chronological reconstruction, and – according to the artist's specific design – they set up a dialectical relation with each other.

Among the show's key features are the broadness of the selection of works – which rarely has been equaled in a single Italian Museum – as well as the spectacularly magical exhibition setup, allowing Zorio's art to exceed passive visibility and act within the museum's context.

The pivotal piece of the exhibition path is Torre Stella Bologna, a work specifically realized by the artist for the present show: a dramatic architectural intervention, a tower with a five-pointed star layout rising like a fortress in the "Sala delle Ciminiere".

The work, taking up Zorio's recurrent symbolism, has a somewhat mysterious dimension: its star-like shape, "the universe's projection in our consideration of things", isn't immediately evident, but can only be grasped by following its perimeter. The space absorbs its strong impact and is modeled by it; the star's points cut through the exhibition space and radiate energy in the museum's various areas, often reaching out of the rooms themselves.

Many other big-sized works in the show involve constant elements of Zorio's artistic language: the canoe, the javelin, the crucible in his intentions all gain an archetypical status as forms chosen by the human being to measure the incommensurable. Other key works are Macchia III (1968), set in the museum lobby as an introduction to the artist's universe; early works such as Letto (1966), Pelli con resistenza (1968), Luci (1968), Per purificare le parole (1969), Odio (1969); the star in its different versions, from Stella incandescente (1972), Stella di giavellotti (1974) and Stella di bronzo (1978) to the more recent Stella Sparks (2008) and Stella Pyrex (2009); the canoe, a means of exploration central to Canoa (1987), Canoa che avanza (2008), Canoa che ruota (2009); the Crogiuoli from 1981.

The exhibition path underlines Zorio's deep fascination for physical, chemical and alchemical processes, traceable to his early works from the late Sixties and early Seventies, as well as his interest in all those modifications, aggregations, tensions and contrasts within matter itself that can lead to the revelation of new possibilities. The presence of electric devices, fluorescences, and strobe lights prepares visitors for the unforeseen, and leads them to surrender themselves to the surprise of an ever-becoming art.

Alongside the show, the second volume of the INSTANT BOOK collection has been published by Edizioni MAMbo, after a first book on Giuseppe Penone: a supple reader including a conversation between Gilberto Zorio and Gianfranco Maraniello as well as a photographic selection of the artist's work.

Gilberto Zorio was born in 1944 in Andorno Micca (Biella - Italy). He lives and works in Turin.

only in german

Gilberto Zorio
Kurator: Gianfranco Maraniello