Le realtà ordinarie investigates various aspects of painting in our time, unfolding around an idea of representation of “the ordinary”, and posing a series of simple questions: is there still an urge to explore traditional genres? How do painters follow or struggle against this impulse? What lies at the root of this seemingly endless fascination with ordinary subjects such as still lifes, flowers, landscapes, domestic interiors…? And why do we tend to consider their depiction an arena where no holds are barred, a space for pure visual pleasure, unfettered by the game of cultural allusions and citations?
The territory that this project attempts to map is therefore a permeable one, and potentially quite vast: it includes genre paintings (or ambiguous, fragmentary attempts to work within genres) as well as more hybrid or even abstract pictures inspired by little epiphanies, by the observation of minor everyday events or phenomena.
Le realtà ordinarie is also an exhibition about time, and how it flows in a seemingly unrippled stream around subjects and forms connected to the real world—whether they are varied and repeated, unfold in a series, or stand out as atypical within the featured artists’ oeuvre.
The show also examines a tradition grounded in the twentieth-century “return to order,” a trend that can be seen throughout Italian painting after World War I and the most feverish years of the avant-garde. It tries to reflect on the ambiguous meaning of the word “ordinary” (etymologically: obeying the usual order), bearing in mind how the current state of painting relates to the upheavals of its historical juncture.
Lastly, there is a light that seems to move through Le realtà ordinarie: a direct, noonday light that evenly illuminates things or transfigures them with its glare, pushing them towards abstraction—an abstraction of “light-colors” that suggests the memory of a figure, or alludes to the ordinary world through hints, echoes and vague presences.
Helene Appel (1976), Riccardo Baruzzi (1976), Luca Bertolo (1968), Andrew Grassie (1966), Clive Hodgson (1953), Maria Morganti (1965), Carol Rhodes (1959 – 2018), Salvo (1947 – 2015), Michele Tocca (1983), Patricia Treib (1979), Phoebe Unwin (1979), Rezi van Lankveld (1973).
21 January – 23 February 2020
Salone Banca di Bologna – Palazzo De’ Toschi
Exhibition Producer: Barbara Meneghel; Curatorial Assistant: Francesca Bertazzoni; Exhibition Display: Sì Produzioni; Transport: ARS MOVENDI ES Logistica Firenze; Graphic design: Filippo Nostri; Photographs: Francesca Bertazzoni e Alessandro Canova; Translations: Johanna Bishop; Docents: Elena Borghi, Arianna Mignarelli, Hilda Morgan, Edvina Musaj, Adele Naiaretti, Gemma Nasini.
Thanks to: Amanda Wilkinson Gallery, London; Andrew Mummery Gallery, London; Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam; Arcade Gallery, London; Collection Harm and Floor Haak, Amsterdam; Helen Rowe, London; Heleen Hulsmann / Hans Jonkers, Amsterdam; Kate MacGarry Gallery, London; Massimo Antichi, Modena; Maureen Paley Gallery, London; Galleria Norma Mangione e Archivio Salvo, Turin; Paolo Zanasi, Modena; Fabrizio Padovani e Alessandro Pasotti, Galleria P420, Bologna; Galleria SpazioA, Pistoia; The Estate of Carol Rhodes, Glasgow.
Thanks to Banca di Bologna’s team and especially its Director Alberto Ferrari, for making the project possible. Thanks to Accademia di Bologna for the contribution to the cultural mediation service. A special thanks goes to Mrs. Sergia Avveduti.