Museion, Bozen/Bolzano

39100 Bolzano

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press release

Sculpture exhibition curated by Letizia Ragaglia January 30–May 16, 2016

Exhibition of the Museion collection curated by Francesco Vezzoli January 30–November 6, 2016

Museion's 2016 programme opens with an exceptional double exhibition. Francesco Vezzoli is curating an exhibition of the Museion collection as guest curator, and presenting, as an artist, the first retrospective of his sculptural work. Entitled Museo Museion, the double show is set to take over the whole of the Bolzano venue. It opens with an imposing wallpaper based on a painting by Giovanni Paolo Pannini, which immerses the ground floor of Museion in the atmosphere of an eighteenth-century picture gallery.

From embroidering masterpieces of abstract art to the more recent historical polychrome sculptures of Teatro Romano (MoMA PS1, New York 2015), Vezzoli has always forged a meaningful yet irreverent dialogue with the past—be it ancient history, or the history of film, images, or power. An anarchist at heart, Vezzoli skillfully subverts entrenched value systems by using rhetorical devices such as antithesis and hyperbole, and sparking semantic and temporal shifts. This modus operandi is evident in the shows for the Bolzano museum.

Francesco Vezzoli's exhibition reinterprets part of the Museion collection by making it interface with masterpieces from Western art history kept in major European and American museums. Frames from famous paintings by Michelangelo, Raphael, Caravaggio, Ingres and many more, appear in trompe l'œil style, around works from the Museion collection. When selecting the pieces, Vezzoli paid special attention to minor works from the museum's collection that are not frequently exhibited. The show, which presents 30 works, including paintings, photography and installations, is presented as a journey through different genres—portrait, self-portrait, still life, landscape, etc. In each section there are also pieces by Vezzoli himself, while the Study Collection venue hosts a special section devoted to graphic works.

The interplay of associations and deconstructions between different eras and styles is also evident in the sculpture exhibition. In the spacious areas on the fourth floor, an imposing platform displays ancient works that interface with new pieces by the artist. Vezzoli's incisive, ironic touch brings us playful critical reworkings of the classical Roman portrait tradition, as can be seen in the self-portrait statue Antique not Antique: Self-portrait as a Crying Roman Togatus (2012) or his interpretation of ancient mythology, as in the group Metamorfosi (Self-Portrait as Apollo killing the Satyr Marsyas) (2015). Interventions that are bold and provocative, but also based on solid scientific foundations. This is the case with the marble busts in the series "True Colors" dating to soon after Christ, to which Vezzoli restored the colour, based on archaeological evidence and incontrovertible scientific studies. The artist directs his creativity not only to ancient art, but also modern masterpieces and contemporary icons, such as the actress Sophia Loren, transformed into one of de Chirico's muses. The sculpture exhibition also features a new work created for the occasion, BI (A Roman Marble Janiform Herm Head, circa 2nd Century A.D.), 2015.

In the words of Anna Coliva, director of the Galleria Borghese in Rome, in her contribution to the exhibition catalogue, "Choosing to focus on sculpture in this show promises to produce one of the most intense exhibition experiences that Vezzoli could opt for at this stage in his career."

"For Francesco Vezzoli it is not a question of choosing between a classic or eccentric mode of narrating the history of art, but rather opening up to multiple worlds and multiple histories of art, pursuing an ongoing conversation. For visitors to the exhibition, Museo Museion will be like experiencing one huge installation," comments Letizia Ragaglia, Museion's Director.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue in three languages (Italian/German/English) published by Mousse Publishing with texts by Anna Coliva, Cerith Wyn Evans, Letizia Ragaglia, Dieter Roelstraete and a conversation between Francesco Vezzoli and Cristiana Perrella.