Le Statue Calde – Scultura, corpo, azione, 1945 – 2013


18 January 2014 – H. 7.00. 

Until 08 March.


Palazzo Marino Marini – Florence (ITALY).


Alis/Filliol, Monica Bonvicini, Claudia Castellucci, Gianni Colombo, Gabriele Devecchi, Ugo La Pietra, Eva Marisaldi, Marcello Maloberti, Piero Manzoni, Giovanni Morbin, Bruno Munari, Gianni Pettena, Marinella Pirelli, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Franz Erhard Walther, Gilberto Zorio, Italo Zuffi 

Press release

The Marino Marini museum inaugurates the exhibition The warm statues on Saturday 18 January 2014. Sculpture – body – action, 1945-2013, curated by Simone Menegoi with the curatorial assistance of Barbara Meneghel. The exhibition is part of the EARLY ONE MORNING cycle, an exhibition program dedicated to the theme of sculpture and its interpretation from the 1960s to today, conceived and curated by Alberto Salvadori, artistic director of the Museum.

The warm statues investigates the relationship between sculpture, body and action after World War II, focusing mainly on Italian art. He tries to focus on two complementary ideas: on the one hand, the sculpture that becomes an extension of the body; on the other, the body that becomes sculpture. It brings together about thirty works by Alis / Filliol, Monica Bonvicini, Claudia Castellucci, Gianni Colombo, Gabriele Devecchi, Ugo La Pietra, Eva Marisaldi, Marcello Maloberti, Piero Manzoni, Giovanni Morbin, Bruno Munari, Gianni Pettena, Marinella Pirelli, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Franz Erhard Walther, Gilberto Zorio, Italo Zuffi. They are works created with the intention of being manipulated: works to walk on and sit on, to hold and lift, to wear and even to kick. Objects with an essential shape, often made of ordinary materials: a wooden platform, a curved brass tube, a small construction of concrete bricks. They solicit the intervention of a body, to which they offer themselves as supports, prostheses, tools. The platform then becomes a pedestal that “magically” transforms whoever climbs on it into sculpture (Piero Manzoni, Base magica, 1961); the tube turns out to be a singular instrument – complete with instructions for use – to speak to oneself (Giovanni Morbin, Breathtaking instrument, 1995); the brick construction serves to perform in the act of doing push-ups (Marcello Maloberti, Messe en français, 2013). While carrying out the foreseen actions, the body itself becomes a sculpture, or rather, a statue: an animated statue, a “warm statue” (as Claudia Castellucci writes in a poem by her) ideally in dialogue with Marini’s figurative sculptures.

The exhibited works seem to invoke a separate disciplinary area. To the traditional idea of sculpture as a self-sufficient object and offered to contemplation, they oppose the active participation of the viewer. The persistence of the object-sculpture opposes the volatility of the performing arts. They oppose the utilitarianism of design with an aesthetic and playful purpose. Definitions and categories tend to overlap and blur: by Bruno Munari, at ease both as a designer and as an artist, it was decided to exhibit a chair; but it is a chair with a seat strongly tilted forward, on which it is impossible to sit for more than a few seconds. (The title, wickedly ironic, is Chair for very short visits; the year, brilliantly ahead of its time, 1945).

A complete overview of the artists and works relevant to this idea of “performative sculpture” is not in the aim of the exhibition. We have chosen to proceed by sampling, by examples, by essential points. The path begins chronologically with three artists linked to the very brief and dazzling experience of the Milanese gallery Azimut (1959), divided between neo-Dadaist provocations (Piero Manzoni) and an almost scientific approach to the problem of including the viewer, with his perceptive and motor faculties. , in the work (Gianni Colombo, Gabriele Devecchi). Two artists from the original Arte Povera group, Michelangelo Pistoletto and Gilberto Zorio, exemplify the attention to the body and gestures (even daily) of the movement baptized by Germano Celant; a third Arte Povera artist, Luciano Fabro, together with the art critic and theorist of feminism Carla Lonzi, is the protagonist of a sculptural action shot and reworked in video by Marinella Pirelli. Ugo La Pietra and Gianni Pettena are called to represent the fascinating experience of the so-called “radical architecture” of the Sixties and Seventies, in which architecture, emancipated from the activity of building, gave life to ephemeral situations, or to hybrid objects and portable, clothes-cockpits. From the galaxy of more recent experiences, difficult to summarize and classify, the exhibition presents four particularly significant examples. Monica Bonvicini aggressively and almost brazenly sets the relationship between the body, always sexually connoted, and what contains and imprisons it, primarily architecture. Marcello Maloberti poetically re-elaborates gestures, images and materials taken from the daily life of any city in the Western world. Eva Marisaldi cultivates singular and delicate insights into the relationship between artist, work and viewer. Italo Zuffi creates objects that he places at the center of performance with a competitive and subtly cruel nature. Ideally, Giovanni Morbin (1956) acts as a bridge between the forty-year-old generation and the previous one, whose work consciously dialogues with the experiences of the Sixties through sculptures / tools with a minimal appearance and paradoxical use.

The Italian research dialogues with the international ones: the affinities, the filiations, the links between one and the other are very close. As an example of these relationships, some seminal works by Franz Erhard Walther, a German artist born in 1939, whose work as a sculptor (object, in recent years, of a real international rediscovery), is articulated entirely around the relationship between body, space and gesture. Walther himself tells how, at the beginning of the 1960s, in the radical rethinking of sculpture that he had undertaken in solitude, Manzoni appeared to him as one of the few possible references at an international level.

Where possible, all works intended for use are effectively manipulated by the spectators. Some historical and particularly fragile pieces (Devecchi, Manzoni, Pistoletto, Walther) are exhibited copies, authorized by the artists or their archives, which can be used. Only in certain cases are the works exhibited as “normal” sculptures, possibly accompanied by documentation relating to their use.

The exhibition will be preceded on 13 December 2013 by an evening of performances by Alis / Filliol, Claudia Castellucci and Italo Zuffi, centered on the idea of becoming a sculpture of the body. Zuffi organizes a sort of secular procession, or relay, in which two sculptural forms, portable but heavy, pass from hand to hand through the streets of Florence, up to the Marino Marini museum. Claudia Castellucci invites viewers to assume the postures depicted in a series of drawings projected on a circular screen, with the aim of giving life, as the title of the work says, to a Celebration of historical gestures. The Piedmontese duo Alis / Filliol creates in real time a series of sheet metal casts of the heads of the two artists: casings, hollowed-out skins that the body, as after a pack, has left behind.

Museo Marino Marini

Piazza San Pancrazio, Florence 

10:00 – 17:00, tuesday, sunday and holidays days closed, 

Tickets: € 6

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