How Evil Is Pop Art?
New European Realism 1959 - 1966

From 23 September 2018 to 6 January 2019, Spazio -1. Collezione Giancarlo e Danna Olgiati will host the exhibition How Evil Is Pop Art? New European Realism 1959-1966, curated by Tobia Bezzola. The exhibition stems from the desire to re-read the European Pop phenomenon via a sophisticated selection of works thanks to the encounter between two private collections. With forty-two works, all of which executed between 1959 and 1966, the exhibition offers a surprising view of the artistic languages that, notwithstanding differences and similarities, were simultaneously formed in France, Great Britain, Italy, and Germany: paintings and sculptures that represent the finest results of European Pop Art show how in these countries a new artistic sensitivity was articulated, one that, in the richness of the formal language and the breadth of the contents, could be compared to the characterizations of American Pop Art.
CAMERA POP. Photography in the Pop Art of Warhol, Schifano & Co.

CAMERA POP. La fotografia nella Pop Art di Warhol, Schifano & Co. Turin, CAMERA – Centro Italiano per la Fotografia
21 September 2018 – 13 January 2019

Exhibition curated by Walter Guadagnini

Torino. “CAMERA POP. La fotografia nella Pop Art di Warhol, Schifano & Co” from 21 September to 13 January at CAMERA – Centro Italiano per la Fotografia, will provide the chance to admire a truly breath- taking sequence of works: 150 works including paintings, photographs, collages and graphic works, tracing the history of reciprocal influences between photography and Pop Art, the movement that changed the course of art and culture in the 1960s.

“Pop Art was a worldwide phenomenon which exploded in the 1960s in the United States and in Europe before spreading quickly to the rest of the world,” as Walter Guadagnini observes, curator of the exhibition and Director of Camera,” which revolutionised the relationship between artistic creation and society, registering current events in a neutral fashion, photographically so to speak, drawing on the same models as mass communication for the creation of artworks. In this sense, for Pop artists, photography was not only a source of inspiration, but a genuine working tool, a key part of their research.”

The exhibition starts off with the famous collage Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing? by Richard Hamilton, considered the first Pop artwork in history, and which to all effects is a photographic collage. Likewise, the best known representative of this movement in Italy, Mario Schifano, always worked through and with the photo camera.

The photographs that portray the most powerful icons of the ’60s themselves became Pop works and icons: the most famous example is the image of Marilyn Monroe by Warhol, of which the historical portfolio of ten large-scale images (1967) will be on show in the exhibition, highlighting how Pop Art owes a key part of its nature and much of its success to photography. Warhol’s Marilyns in fact started out from a photograph, just like all the other works by the Pittsburgh-born genius. The same goes for the various versions of Brigitte Bardot by Gerald Laing, highlighting the contemporary use of various media, from photography to drawing to printing.

Looking to Italy, the splendid canvas by Rotella titled Divertiamoci (‘Let’s Have Fun’), based on a photograph and reproduced mechanically, represents reality as seen from a car window. Ugo Mulas’s

photography documents the historic Venice Biennale in 1964 and the studios of the New York Pop artists, and in particular that of Andy Warhol. Around forty shots, some of which virtually unseen, tell of one of the highest moments in the relationship between photography and Pop Art, on the edge between documentation and creation. Going back to the artists, Michelangelo Pistoletto, in a surprising manner, brings the spectator directly into the work, with his mirrors to which photography confers a paradoxical surplus of adherence to reality. And so the splendid figure of the Ragazza che cammina (‘Girl Walking’, 1966), from the Intesa Sanpaolo Collection, becomes part of the environment just and we become part of the work.

A broad section of the exhibition will also be dedicated to the concept of reproduction, of an art based on the idea of a tool like the camera, recognised – and contested – ever since its origins by virtue of its mechanical nature. The camera renewed the way of seeing the world, and the world has since been known and conceived through photographic reproductions; Pop artists drew on this imagery and this practice in order to be truly contemporary. This was the society of mass consumption and mass imagery, in which photography had a central role to play. In this section, we may find some of the precursors of Pop Art: Robert Rauschenberg first and foremost, by whom an exceptionally large canvas produced in tandem with the Italian photographer Gianfranco Gorgoni will be on display.

Once again, Warhol’s figure returns through the presence his favourite photographic medium: the Polaroid. It was not just the photographs produced – those images that he needed in order to then produce his portraits of the protagonists of the Jet Set of the day – but also the very object, the machine, the camera, dedicated to a great photographer like Mimmo Jodice, who was documenting the presence of the American maestro in Naples.

“The exhibition, curated by Walter Guadagnini, a great expert on Pop Art as well as on photography,” concludes the President Emanuele Chieli, “is very much part of the series of great exhibitions held by CAMERA, and follows on from highly successful previous events, such as the exhibitions ‘L’Italia di Magnum’ (2016) and ‘Arrivano i Paparazzi!’ (2017): investigative shows that set out to analyse and examine a particular historical moment through the study of a movement or of a photographic style, at the same time illuminating the artistic and the social aspects. This exhibition, just like the previous ones, thus offers various levels of interpretation and investigation, which I am certain visitors will have the chance to grasp and appreciate.”

For further information and images:


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