Center for Studies on Licia and Carlo Ludovico Ragghianti Foundation
Lucca, Monumental complex of San Micheletto
October 3, 2020 - January 6, 2021
The Ragghianti Foundation proposes two contemporary exhibitions that intend to investigate the period of great ferment in Italian art of the sixties, seventies and eighties of the twentieth century, rediscovering the figures of Cioni Carpi and Gianni Melotti, very active multifaceted artists respectively in Milan and Florence.
The first exhibition, curated by Angela Madesani, is dedicated to the experiments of Cioni Carpi, the stage name of Eugenio Carpi de 'Resmini (Milan, 1923-2011), a complex and multifaceted character. Son of Aldo Carpi, painter and historical director of the Brera Academy, brother of Fiorenzo, a well-known musician, and of Pinin, writer and illustrator for children, Cioni began to devote himself to painting in the fifties in Paris; from here he moved to Haiti, then to New York and then to Canada, where he lived until the mid-sixties, when he returned permanently to Milan. In the United States he meets Maya Deren, an American director of Ukrainian origin, who pushes him towards film experimentation, an area in which Cioni Carpi will excel. From 1959 to 1980 he made numerous artist films, currently housed in important archives, including that of the MoMA in New York. For Carpi, cinema, as painting had been before, is a field of experimentation. Another is the theater. His is the first set consisting of a film for Peter Weiss' investigation at the Piccolo in Milan in 1966, shot in the concentration camp where his brother Paolo was killed. Carpi, between the end of the 1960s and the 1970s, also collaborated with some composers, including Angelo Paccagnini, Giacomo Manzoni and Bruno Maderna, for whom, on the occasion of the staging of their works, he made films and projections. Carpi's films were restored in 2002 by the Cineteca di Milano, whose heritage they are now part of and have been the subject of a publication edited by Il Castoro. Carpi, the only Italian artist, together with Franco Vaccari, to be part of the Narrative Art group, has also used photography, installations, light projections, video for his research. In 1978 and 1980 he participated in the Venice Biennale in two exhibitions curated by Vittorio Fagone, with whom, over the years, he had developed a relationship of esteem and collaboration.
The exhibition at the Ragghianti Foundation includes the artistic career of Carpi from about 1960 to the 1980s. About forty large-sized works are exhibited including paintings, installations, photographic works, films, drawings, projects and books created by the artist in a single copy, but also documents and catalogs on the work of this intelligent protagonist of the art of the second part of the twentieth century.
Of particular importance are the nine works owned by the Panza di Biumo Collection: texts and photographs on paper such as the four Transfigurations / Disappearances (1966-1974) and We have created atypical systems (1963-1974); Seshspass 01 (Sequoia semper virens) (1976) and Palinsesto 2 (1963), works on paper for the composition of which Carpi used various materials. But also a series of beautiful photographs and compositions with images and drawings from a private collection that fully render the multiform poetics and intellectual stature of the artist, often performer of his works with surreal titles such as those created between 1963 and 1976: Me ne I returned to the unmade places of memory, Let me see a living cell of your brain, where Carpi draws himself as a clown, given his background as an actor and mime (he had studied with Jacques Lecoq) and when I fell I broke my arms and legs while I jumped pole in branch; or even the paintings on canvas of the Eighties such as Pontypridd with a red room that belong to the cycle The distant cities, complex spatial utopias; Blue painting 3 Palimpsest 10 and Blue painting 5 Palimpsest 12 (1973), geometric shapes that re-emerge from previous paintings. Among the works on display, the jute strips on which photographs printed on paper or on fabric and drawings are applied, which propose the concept of tapestry in a contemporary key. Here too there are long writings that explain the work: Go, turn, look (1979) and Ga.ga-gak, the sound of the international language of chickens which means "Attention-danger!".
The second exhibition, curated by Paolo Emilio Antognoli, presents the results of a historical and archival research, still unpublished, concerning the work of Gianni Melotti (Florence, 1953) in his first decade of activity, from 1974 to 1984, and in his historical and artistic development, both in the relationships he had with some artists linked by friendship and collaboration, such as Lanfranco Baldi, Luciano Bartolini, Giuseppe Chiari, Mario Mariotti and other artists such as Bill Viola linked to his experience in art / tapes / 22, studio dedicated to the production of