An anthological exhibition dedicated to exposing at the public two completely singular figures in the Italian contemporary art scene.
Two artists suspended between renaissance and pop culture, baroque joke and illuministic clearness recounted in an extensive retrospective.
The opportunity to explore the two artists is offered by the anthological exhibition: the works by Amodeo on the ground floor and those by Tavano on the first floor, exhibited in a single show, but positioned in separate spaces to underline the special nature of the two. A life and artistic union, at the first place, that is translated by the intentional division into two different exhibition spaces for the benefit of the visitor. Two totally different, yet complementary languages running on two separate lines. The second point of view is the main concept and the creative keystone for both artists, and it is no accident that it was chosen by the curators as the title of the exhibition. It represents in fact a second point of view, a second approach, a deeper insight into the real and the surreal that is not perceptible at first sight. In the case of Savina Tavano, it is clearly perceptible in her landscape works, where a deeper second glance reveals a world of interiority and almost restless reflection, while for Manlio Amodeo, it transcends reality whatever it may be and takes us into a dreamlike dimension made up of fascinating architectural, zoomorphic and perspective fantasies that at first suggest the eye, and at a second glance take us into his world of lightness and irony straddling parody and deeper introspection.
The story of Manlio, Savina and a star lithographic press
The artistic story of Manlio Amodeo and Savina Tavano can be told as a journey in search of full expressive freedom. Savina writes: 'Life has been hard in these last one hundred and fifty years for artists [...] stung by a sea of new trends, heavily burdened (despite appearances) by prohibitions and taboos. Not at all concerned with having to appear modern at all costs, the two artists were able to bring together their fascination with ancient art with countless cues taken from the visual culture of the century in which they were born and trained, the 20th century. Their only inviolable taboo was that of 'craft', the perfect mastery of expressive techniques to be achieved at all costs in order to be able to attempt the arduous feat of communicating their own personal vision.
Those who have rightly perceived their inextricable connection to the great painting tradition of the past will be surprised to learn that, in Manlio's memory, his passion for painting was born while leafing through a book on 20th century American art, with the dazzling discovery of American gothic by G.Wood, the paintings of Edward Hopper and the illustrations of Norman Rockwell. This discovery was followed by the decision to turn to poster design and enrolment at the school founded by an advertising genius like Armando Testa.
The meeting with Savina took place at the Accademia Albertina di Belle Arti in Turin, which they both attended in the second half of the 1950s. In 1959 Manlio's first exhibition was organised at the Galleria San Sebastianello in Rome, involving two leading figures of the post-war Italian art market, Gaspero del Corso and his wife Irene Brin, owners of the historic Galleria l'Obelisco. On one wall Manlio's works, on the opposite wall Savina's works: from that moment on it would always be like this. In 1960 they married and moved to Milan to work as illustrators for the Mondadori publishing house. In 1963 they moved to Florence to do the same work for Sansoni. In 1966 they moved to Rome, their city of choice, the ideal place where they matured the decision to abandon the applied arts (with the well-paid contracts for publishing, which was booming in those years) to dedicate themselves exclusively to artistic production.
The deus ex machina of that momentous turning point was indeed a machine: an antique star lithographic press purchased by Manlio in 1973 and immediately brought to his studio in Via della Vetrina, where it became the pivot of a decade of experimentation in which the potential of the medium was the object of capillary exploration. The result was the development of a laborious printing technique in which the machine was not used to serially re-produce images but to exploit its ability to produce particular chromatic effects that were entirely pictorial. Under the name of 'lithographic paintings' are in fact presented the precious graphics printed by the husband and wife-artists in very few, if any, unique pieces. Original prints that become the vehicle, writes Claudio Strinati in the catalogue, of "a universe of images capable of linking pop culture and Renaissance, Baroque jest and Enlightenment clarity.
The season of lithographic painting came to an end in 1985 with an exhibition at Palazzo Borghese recounting it and a return to painting.
The discovery of the Maremma countryside, the other nodal encounter in the human and artistic story of Manlio and, above all, Savina, also dates back to the 1980s. Today, the two artists, still at the height of their activity, live and work in their studio in Tuscany.
From 21 September to 30 October 2022
Tuesday to Sunday from 9.00 - 19.00
Last entrance one hour before closing time
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