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RE-COLLECTING. Morandi racconta

Museo Morandi
4 February - 23 May 2021

Tono e composizione nelle sue ultime nature morte.
Morandi presents. Color and composition in his later still lifes.

Morandi racconta (Morandi presents) offers three exhibits that focus on selected themes related to Giorgio Morandi's work. The events are interdisciplinary in nature and open to all: scholars, Morandi connoisseurs, and the simply curious. The topics have been chosen in an effort to shed new light on the maestro’s artistic production.

Following the exhibit dedicated to the secret charm of Morandi’s flowers, Museo Morandi is pleased to offer a show curated by Giusi Vecchi that focuses on Morandi’s still lifes, the main theme in his artistic production and the one for which he is most famous and recognized. Central to this exhibit is the role that tonality and composition play in Morandi’s still lifes.
The works exhibited belong to the latter period of Morandi’s career, from the post war period to the early 60’s. During this time, Morandi was extremely active and produced close to 700 still lifes compared to slightly over 100 landscapes. Morandi, in fact, did not return to Grizzana until 1959 and his attention shifted from landscapes to still lifes and focused in particular on the question of thematic variation. As Arcangeli noted “It was perhaps in the period between 1945 and 1950 that Morandi became the painter of painting”.
Still life V. 783 and V. 788 – which are part of this exhibit – are wonderful examples of the artist’s interest in seriality and variation. Although the objects depicted are always the same (bottles, boxes, vases, etc.), they are imbued with an atmosphere of lighter psychological tension – a tension linked at times to their own physical presence or to the architectural setting in which they are framed, a setting in which objects fade into each other and fuse, huddling in compact blocks at the center of the canvas. Sometimes the objects are presented in a line or appear slightly offset so that they seem to disappear one behind the other, illuminated by an increasingly airy and intangible light. The subject matter thus becomes lighter and lighter and new tonal vibrations emerge and fade into different gradations of whites and greys, reaching, especially in the latter period, the dissolution of contours whereby objects become fleeting presence, while yet continuing to affirm the value of existence.

Morandi’s artistic achievement is well evident throughout this exhibit and in the watercolors in particular to which he dedicated greater attention from 1956 onward. It is in his watercolors in fact that Morandi reached the extreme simplification of shapes – shapes that are no longer anchored to supporting surface and appear to fluctuate in space, like spirits, ghostly presences, impalpable simulacra revealing themselves only through the alternation of presence and void.