Neo-realism, Abstraction and beyond
3 July – September 20, 2015
Curated by Fabio Belloni and Vania Gransinigh, the exhibition brought together a rich collection of works belonging to the city’s museums with the aim of exploring the changes and developments that had occurred in Italian painting from the post-war era up until the end of the 20th century. Among the works which over the years have come to form a part of Casa Cavazzini’s collections, there are also those of local Friulian artists such as the recently deceased Giuseppe Zigaina, who was among those who most aptly fitted the epithet ‘neorealist’. Indeed, his painting Assemblea di braccianti sul Cormor, exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 1952, is undoubtedly the work that best exemplifies the neorealist aesthetic and it was to him, the undisputed protagonist of this particular artistic epoch, to whom the core of the exhibition was dedicated – a timely and fitting tribute to one of our most important artists, certainly the most effective in interpreting the changes and developments that were impacting Italian art in the second half of the 20th century.
In tandem with Neorealism, other movements developed, Abstract-Concrete, being one example. Taking their cue from the abstract art of the thirties, these artists moved further in the direction of a painting not only liberated from all forms of naturalistic reference, but also freed from the necessity of representation. Painting thus became a matter of shapes, forms, lines, and colours, realized and juxtaposed in accordance with the artist’s own personal creativity and vision and thus entirely independent from natural reality. And from within this artistic landscape other movements emerged and developed, namely Spatialism, founded by Lucio Fontana, which sought to overcome the two-dimensional space of painting, as it is traditionally understood; Nuclearism, and, above all, Informale, a broad movement characterized by a common approach to materiality and highly gestural techniques. The exhibited works of Emilio Scanavino, Emilio Vedova, Giuseppe Santomaso and Afro Basaldella bear witness only to some of the most characteristic manifestations of the movement, which was highly influential among artists working locally. The final section of the exhibition, which occupied an entire room, was dedicated to the artist Nilo Cabai (Udine, 1931) who generously and with remarkable civic spirit, donated some of his works to Casa Cavazzini to enrich its collections, thus allowing the museum to document and plot the path of his artistic development over the course of over half a century, from the 1950s to the present day.