Jenny Saville, Passage, 2004-2005, Olio su tela/Oil on canvas, 335.5 x 290.4 cm, Artwork © Jenny Saville Photo Courtesy of Gagosian Gallery, Courtesy The Saatchi Gallery, Londra.

Anselm Kiefer, Humbaba, 2009, Tecnica mista (piombo, fotografia, foglia d’oro, camicia, rovi, acrilico, olio, emulsione, cenere e gommalacca su tela in cornice di metallo e vetro/ Lead, photography, gold paint, chemise, brambles, acrylic, oil, emulsion, ash and shellac on canvas in steel and glass frame), 382 x 576 x 35 cm, Courtesy White Cube, Photo Charles Duprat.

Artists Who Dare, Legislators of New Social and Cultural Values

Sigalit Landau, Barbed Hula, 2000, Video, colore/Video, color, 2’, Still from the video © Sigalit Landau, Courtesy l’artista e kamel mennour, Parigi.

Sean Scully, Wall of Light Zacatecas, 2010, Olio su tela /Oil on canvas, 279,8 x 350.4 cm, Collezione privata, Photo Christoph Knoch, Monaco © Sean Scully Studio.

Sigalit Landau, Three Men Hula, 1999, Video, colore/Video, color, 1’ 36’’ Still from the video © Sigalit Landau, Courtesy l’artista e kamel mennour, Parigi.

Christian Boltanski, Containers, 2010, 3 vagoni : acciaio, schermo, ruote, abiti usati, neon /3 wagons: steel, screen, wheels, used clothes, neon light, 154,5 x 136,5 x 67,5 cm ciascuno, Courtesy Kewenig Galerie, Colonia, Photo Simon Vogel.

Cy Twombly, Roma (Il muro), 1962, Olio, smalti, graffiti e carboncino su tela/Oil, enamels, graphite and charcoal on canvas, 240,7 x 200 cm, GAM - Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Torino.

Mark Manders, Life-size Scene with Revealed Figure, 2009, Ottone, legno, ferro, capelli, sabbia, polvere, resina epossidica, corda, stampa offset su carta/Brass, wood, iron, sand, hair, dust, epoxy, rope, offset print on paper, 320 x 120 x 139 cm, Courtesy Zeno X Gallery, Anversa.

Pietro Roccasalva, MYRRIHINA, 2008, Pastello su carta su forex/Pastel on paper on forex, 128,6 x 96,5 cm, Courtesy the artist and Zero…, Milano.

Ilya & Emilia Kabakov, The Old Furniture and The Little White Man, 1989, Vecchi mobili (tavolo, sedie, vetrine), bandiere e figure di carta/Old furniture (table, chairs, showcases), flags and paper figures, 5,90 x 4,40 x 3,80 x 5,80 x 4 m, Courtesy Gallery de France, Paris, Photo J. C. Mazur.

Mike Nelson, Amnesiac Shrine or Monumental Skulpture to publyck mourning, 2006, Tecnica mista/Mixed technique, 350 x 400 cm, Veduta della mostra La città che sale, MACRO Future, Roma 2007-2008/Installation view of the exhibition La città che sale, MACRO Future, Roma 2007-2008, Courtesy Collezione Giuliani, Roma, Photo Sebastiano Luciano.

Francesco Vezzoli, Maria Callas Played 'La Traviata' 63 Times, 1999 dettaglio/detail, Stampa laser su tela con ricamo metallico/Laserprint on canvas with metallic embroidery, 63 pezzi/63 pieces – 33 x 43,5 cm l’uno/each. Dimensione complessiva variabile/Overall dimensions variable.

Georg Baselitz, Poet in Stiefeln (Remix), 2008, Olio su tela/Oil on canvas, 250 x 200 cm, Courtesy Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salisburgo.


Galleria Civica
D'Arte Moderna
via Magenta, 31
+39 011 4429610
Curated by Danilo Eccher
May 19-October 9, 2011

Eroi (Heroes) curated by Danilo Eccher and with contributions from Alessandro Rabottini, explores the work of artists who carry out daring choices to the point of becoming the carriers of new social values through their own art. The selection has deliberately included several impressive large-scale works, some of which have been specifically conceived for this exhibition.

In the postmodern age — which is often associated with the collapse of great ideals and established ideologies — Art becomes itself an act of individual resistance, gathering its own strength from the accumulation of knowledge. Today, the “heroic” act must thus be re-elaborated within an analytic scenario, in which heroism can not just be interpreted as the solitary struggle of one man: any sensational deed is immediately absorbed as news item, or it rapidly becomes a television event swallowed by the great machine of global communication. Heroism is thus brought back to its original qualities — will and ambition — and it takes on the task to rebuild a new ethics and new models, as possible social alternatives.

The individuality of the artist remains central to works by Christian Boltanski, who celebrates the uniqueness of individual existence in one of his intense theatrical compositions. Conversely, Mario Merz relates to the entire cosmos, just as Anselm Kiefer’s masterpieces stage a universal and poignant drama of history, while Danh Vo and Latifa Echakhch opt for a symbolic heroism that is grounded in our collective memory. There are heroes who overcome sorrows and wounds, resisting against all odds as in Georg Baselitz’ heartfelt portraits, or the ones that find strength in their own nightmares, as in Louise Bourgeois’s disturbing installations, or even in their own suffering, as in the works by Hermann Nitsch and Marina Abramovic.

The hero is a live human being in Jenny Saville’s painting; while the contemporary myth of Maria Callas becomes an icon in the work by Francesco Vezzoli, and football players take on an aura of holiness for Francesco Clemente. And despite their geometrical construction, Sean Scully’s large panels, combining abstraction, thick brushstrokes, and contrasting warm hues, ultimately reveal the hero’s lightly poetical origin.

In order to allow an adequate space for this major project, for the first time the same exhibition will develop in two different display areas, thus adjoining the Main Exhibition Area — the recently renovated exhibition space on the first floor — and the rooms usually devoted to the Underground Project. The Eroi exhibit ideally draws a link between the institutional and deeply historical side of the Museum and its more contemporary and experimental section. This is to underline the timeless relevance of poetic heroism that remains strongly rooted in the origins of art itself.

The accompanying catalogue — edited by Allemandi — delves into the hero theme with an interesting combination of art historical essays and the poetry of Patrizia Cavalli, who has contributed with a poetical text specifically created for this exhibit. The philosophical setting for this publication has been provided by Antonio Negri, who has always been able to capture with fine precision the dynamics of our society. The Italian theoretician—definitely not the type of intellectual who is “lost in his own thoughts,” and also quite a controversial figure — has presented a series of investigations that, rather than just being an interpretation of the present, consist of a relevant and true act of participation in it. The catalogue will also include photographs by celebrated photographer Claudio Abate, who has captured the works on display with his distinctive artistic style. 

Invited artists include: Marina Abramovic, Pawel Althamer; Georg Baselitz; Christian Boltanski; Louise Bourgeois; Francesco Clemente; Latifa Echakhch; General Idea; Ilya and Emilia Kabakov; Anselm Kiefer; Sigalit Landau; Mark Manders; Mario Merz; Mike Nelson; Hermann Nitsch; Michelangelo Pistoletto; Pietro Roccasalva; Jenny Saville; Sean Scully; Thomas Schütte; Cy Twombly; Francesco Vezzoli; and Danh Vo.

Francesco Vezzoli, Maria Callas Played 'La Traviata' 63 Times, 1999 dettaglio/detail, Stampa laser su tela con ricami metallici/Laserprint on canvas with metallic embroidery,63 pezzi/63 pieces – 33 x 43,5 cm l’uno/each. Dimensione complessiva variabile/Overall dimensions variable.

Louise Bourgeois, Cell XX, 2000, Acciaio, tessuto, legno e vetro/Steel, fabric, wood and glass, 188 x 124.5 x 124.5 cm, Courtesy Hauser & Wirth and Cheim & Read, Zurigo, Photo Christopher Burke.

Mario Merz, Coccodrillo Fibonacci, 1989, Coccodrillo impagliato, numeri al neon (1-55), Collezione Merz, Torino Photo Paolo Pellion.

Pietro Roccasalva, Jockey full of Bourbon, 2003, Pastello su carta su forex/Pastel on paper on forex, 31 x 45,5 cm, Courtesy the artist and Zero…, Milano.

Georg Baselitz, Gut grau, 2009, Olio su tela/Oil on canvas, 250 x 200 cm, Courtesy Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salisburgo.

Latifa Echakhch, À chaque stencil une révolution, 2007, Installazione carta carbone, colla, alcool/Installation carbon paper, glue, methylated alcohol, Dimensioni variabili/Variable dimensions. Courtesy the artist, kamel mennour Paris, kaufmann repetto, Milano

Pawel Althamer, Self-portrait, 1993, Scultura in grasso, cera, intestino animale, capelli/Fat, wax, animal entrails, hairs, 189 x 76 x 70 cm, Courtesy Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Torino, Photo courtesy Foksal Gallery Foundation, Varsavia.

Michelangelo Pistoletto, Autoritratto di Stelle, 1973, Photograph on transparent film, 200 x 105 cm, Courtesy Fondazione Pistoletto, Biella, Photo P. Mussat Sartor.

Mark Manders, Figure with Book and Fake Dictionaries, 2009, Tecnica mista/Mixed media, 132 x 32 x 43 cm, Courtesy David Roberts Collection, Londra.

Francesco Clemente, Autoritratto con Juventus - Torino, 2011, Olio su tela /Oil on canvas, 230 x 685 cm, Collezione dell’artista.

Sean Scully, Doric, 2008, Olio su alluminio/Oil on aluminium, 279,8 x 406,5 cm, collezione privata, Photo Christoph Knoch, Monaco © Sean Scully Studio.