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THE D R AWI N G CENTER

Giosetta Fioroni L’Argento


The Drawing Center April 5 – June 2, 2013 Main Gallery | Drawing Room | The Lab


Giosetta Fioroni L’Argento

Curated by Claire Gilman


D R AW I N G PA P E R S 10 4

Essays by Claire Gilman and Romy Golan


PL . 1

Portrait of the artist in Vogue Italia no. 177, January 1966


Acknowledgments Claire Gilman

I would first of all like to thank Giosetta Fioroni for her invaluable assistance in helping to mount this exhibition. I was introduced to Giosetta back in 1998 when I was researching my dissertation in Rome. I wanted to work with her even then and I am thrilled that we have been able to make that happen these many years later at The Drawing Center. Giosetta’s diligence, enthusiasm, and boundless energy have been unfailing, and it has been a pleasure getting to know her throughout this process. Additional thanks are due to Renato Barilli and Gillo Dorfles for allowing me to translate their seminal texts from 1972 and 1965 respectively, and to Romy Golan, Professor of Art History at the Graduate Center and Lehman College of the City University of New York (and my Italian art comrade in arms), for her insightful essay for the catalogue. This exhibition would not have been possible without the generous support of the following lenders: Gianni Balella; Barbara Burgerhout Benazzo; Gemma & Alberto Boatto; Luisa Laureati Briganti; Marco Burzi; Alessia Egidi; Inge Schonthal Feltrinelli; Fabrizio Incutti; Ovidio Jacorossi; Fondazione Torino Musei, Torino; and Galleria nazionale d’arte moderna e contemporanea, Rome. The Drawing Center’s hardworking staff deserves recognition for their efforts in realizing this exhibition. Special thanks to Brett Littman,

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Executive Director, for his early enthusiasm for this project; Alessia Pizziconi and Giulia Smith, Curatorial Interns, for their invaluable help with Italian communication and translation; and, above all, Joanna Kleinberg Romanow, Assistant Curator, for her expert supervision of all the finer details. Thanks also to Molly Gross, Communications Director; Anna Martin, Registrar, Dan Gillespie, Operations Manager; Nicole Goldberg, Deputy Director, External Affairs; Jonathan T.D. Neil, Executive Editor; Joanna Ahlberg, Managing Editor; Peter J. Ahlberg/ AHL&CO, Designer; and Irina Oryshkevich, translator. Finally, I am incredibly appreciative of the steadfast support of The Drawing Center’s Board of Trustees and the exhibition funders who have supported this exhibition and its accompanying catalogue, including the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation, Barbara Burgerhout Benazzo, Simone and Mirella Haggiag, Sarah Peter, and Lia Rumma. I wish also to thank Maria Vittoria Marini Clarelli, Director, and Angela Rorro, Curator of Contemporary Art, at Galleria nazionale d’arte moderna e contemporanea, Rome, for agreeing to host Giosetta Fioroni: L’Argento in October 2013. I am thankful that the show will have a future life in the city of Fioroni’s birth and career.

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PL . 2

The Artist at Age Nine, 1941


Giosetta Fioroni on View Claire Gilman

An early photograph of Giosetta Fioroni shows her at nine years of age in her sculptor father’s studio [PL. 2]. She sits on a dais of sorts, propped on a cushion in front of an old-fashioned lap desk, and traces something in the distance on a sketchpad. A curtain frames the stage-like space, while upon the girl’s face is a look of quiet concentration, her steady gaze echoed by her gently arcing hand. It is a simple, unassuming image of a budding artist at work, yet it contains many of the elements that would become fundamental to Fioroni’s production twenty years later: childhood wonder, the theatrical nature of appearances, and a desire to take the measure of the world through drawing. Fioroni emerged as an artist in the late 1950s, when a society recovering from authoritarian nationalism rapidly embraced a culture of individualism with its attendant pleasures of consumption and media culture. Like her American contemporaries, Fioroni took this culture as her subject, and her work, along with that of her fellow Roman artists, garnered the label of “Italian Pop.” The Pop that these artists practiced, however, bears little relation to the art of Andy Warhol or Roy Lichtenstein. Informed by Italy’s post-fascist history—and by an intellectual culture deeply skeptical about totalizing positions of any kind—Fioroni and her peers offered a unique take on the new aesthetic. Rejecting the Americans’ seamless embrace of Pop

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motifs, Fioroni’s art reveals the constructed nature of the image, thereby preserving a distance between viewer and viewed. In this way, Fioroni contributed a compelling generational alternative to the American model, one that has justifiably attracted new attention in recent years.1 In Fioroni’s case, it is above all drawing and its artisanal character that undergirds this exploration. ••• Fioroni was born in Rome in 1932, to parents who had met at Rome’s Academy of Fine Arts. Her fondest memories include days spent in her father’s studio watching him mold his clay sculptures, and the puppet shows that her mother staged with painted sets and elaborately fashioned marionettes [PL. 3]. Given this history, it is not surprising that Fioroni enrolled in a course in theater design at her parents’ alma mater in 1953. Her professor, Toti Scialoja, was a renowned painter himself, and he introduced his students not only to theater but also to art, movies, and literature, especially American icons such as Buster Keaton, William Faulkner, and Jackson Pollock.2 His own work adopted an abstract idiom modeled on American action painting, a method that Fioroni attempted to emulate upon graduating. It was not long, however, before she sought a different direction: “I started painting for a while in the way Scialoja had taken up…[but] I felt that the work was not really mine…The purely material element with no figuration that formed the basis of Scialoja’s painting no longer met the needs of my generation.”3 Around 1957, Fioroni met Plinio De Martiis, the owner of Galleria La Tartaruga, and Giorgio Franchetti, a prominent collector who 1

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A spate of recent U.S. museum and gallery exhibitions testifies to postwar Italy’s newfound appeal, both critically and curatorially. Among them: Michelangelo Pistoletto: From One to Many, 1956–1974, The Philadelphia Museum of Art (November 2010 – January 2011), and Alghiero Boetti: Game Plan, The Museum of Modern Art (July – October 2012), as well as major New York gallery shows of such long overlooked figures as Pier Paolo Calzolari (Marianne Boesky, 2012), Domenico Gnoli (Luxembourg & Dayan, 2012) and Giorgio Griffa (Casey Kaplan, 2013). Many of Italy’s preeminent artists from this period went through Scialoja’s theater design course, including Pino Pascali and Jannis Kounellis, who were just a few years behind Fioroni. Quoted in Germano Celant, Giosetta Fioroni (Milan: Skira, 2009), 88.


PL . 3

Le marionette della mamma (Mum’s Puppets), 2006


PL . 4

Giosetta Fioroni with Renato Mambor, Sergio Lombardo, Cesare Tacchi, Jannis Kounellis, Umberto Bignardi, Tano Festa, and Rosanna Guerrini, Rome, 1964


worked with him. Continuing where Scialoja left off, De Martiis and Franchetti introduced the artist to the newest developments taking place overseas. De Martiis showed Robert Rauschenberg and Cy Twombly beginning in the late fifties, and he was intimately acquainted with Pop stars like Warhol and Lichtenstein through his relationship with Ileana Sonnabend, with whom he briefly entertained the idea of opening a gallery. Fioroni developed a close relationship with Twombly, and she began to exhibit regularly at La Tartaruga alongside the Italians Mario Schifano, Tano Festa, Franco Angeli, Cesare Tacchi, and Jannis Kounellis, among others. Eventually she became the only female member of the “Scuola di Piazza del Popolo” (“School of the Piazza del Popolo”), so named after the square in whose cafés the group gathered [PL. 4]. While less well known today than the contemporaneous Arte Povera movement, which was championed by the Genoese critic and curator Germano Celant, the Roman scene was equally influential in Italy.4 Whereas the Arte Povera aesthetic eschewed representation for a celebration of natural elements, the Roman artists pursued painting with a figurative bent. Witness Schifano’s canvases wherein rectangular color fields house Esso and Coca-Cola logos [PL. 55], or Fabio Mauri’s self-titled Schermo (Screen) monochromes, whose shaped contours and subtle rectangular depressions recall slides or television screens. Even Schifano’s early abstract paintings resemble nothing so much as apertures ready to receive the images that enter his later work [PL. 5]. For her part, Fioroni emerged from gestural abstraction with a series of ink and pastel drawings comprising empty fields scattered with stray marks, bits of text, and generic signs such as hearts, arrows, and schematic houses, “a montage of symbols, almost geometric,” according to Fioroni, “that pertain to everyday life—the relentless, hysterical experience we have of the intermittent images that the city, the street, the trip, the cinema, the crowd, etc. constantly offer us…”5 [PLS. 22–29]. “For my generation,” she observed in a recent

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For a more comprehensive discussion of the Roman art scene, see my “Arte Povera in Rome,” in Il confine evanescente. Arte italiana 1960–2010 (Rome: Electa, 2010), 43–73. Quoted in Gloria Bianchino, Giosetta Fioroni (Milan: CASC Università di Parma/ Skira, 2004), 193. All translations, unless otherwise noted, are my own.


PL . 5

Mario Schifano, Tempo moderno (Modern Times), 1962


interview, “1960 was a strange point of passage…A new scene was emerging in Rome involving a group of artists who were interested in pictorial reality after the Informal [the European variant on Abstract Expressionism]. There was undoubtedly the influence of American Pop but it was more distant than one might imagine…[the Roman scene] always preserved, due to [Rome’s] different historical background, a different relationship with the act of ‘making’.”6 To comprehend the impact that Pop Art had in Italy, it is necessary to reconsider the common scholarly perception that the European intelligentsia met the new painting with blanket reprobation. Serge Guilbaut’s lucid account of France’s conservative adherence to the noble tradition of painting in the face of what the country perceived to be the artistic products of a “dry, unsophisticated, crude… technological” country does not apply to Italy.7 While certainly there were those who decried American popular culture and the art that embraced it, others understood the necessity of taking on the new world. There was, for example, almost universal support for Rauschenberg’s winning the Grand Prize at the 1964 Venice Biennale. According to Italian art theorist Gillo Dorfles’s influential 1962 book Simbolo, communicazione, consumo, Rauschenberg avoided the capitulation to media culture typical of artists like Warhol and Lichtenstein by putting himself “in front of these situations [media images] with an adequate attitude: neither excessively cynical, nor excessively depersonalized, nor excessively dominated.”8 In other words, for critics like Dorfles, the problem was not contemporary art’s attention to media culture per se, but rather mainstream Pop’s refusal to consider the way in which this culture is formulated and received by the individuals within it. In one of the first articles dedicated to international Pop, the Rome-based critic Alberto Boatto followed Dorfles’s logic, distinguishing American artists from their

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Giosetta Fioroni, ed. Claudio Spadoni (Milan: Mazzotta, 1999), 24. Serge Guilbaut, “Postwar Painting Games,” in Reconstructing Modernism: Art in New York, Paris, and Montreal 1945–1964, ed. Guilbaut (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1990), 47–48. Gillo Dorfles, Simbolo, communicazione, consumo (Turin: Einaudi, 1962), 201–203. Alberto Boatto, “Manhattan Dada and Pop,” Marcatré, 11-12-13 (1965), n.p.


Italian peers. “In the case of American Pop,” Boatto observed, “one can say that the object dominates and that the subject is treated with suspicion…In the case of European Pop, however, it is the object extracted from the technological universe that enters the domain of the subject…Instead of the hard isolation of objects à la the Americans, objects are juxtaposed, approached, by which one can always ascertain a commentary, an explicit personal significance.” Writing about Schifano, Boatto notes that what predominates is “the visual aspect, not the descriptive representation of an image but its immediate perception, that comes to be restored on the canvas like a limpid vision.”9 Several years later, the Bolognese art historian and semiotician Renato Barilli wrote in similar terms about Fioroni, whom he designated one of the most courageous practitioners of the new aesthetic. As he put it, “at a time when the value of vision is heavily discredited, Giosetta Fioroni fearlessly affirms her fidelity to sight…Hers is a constant challenge to those currents that today believe it is impossible for the artist to work with normal acts of perception.”10 Unlike the American artists, whom Barilli describes as recuperating objects “for their absolute meaning regardless of context,” artists like Fioroni place their objects in suspension as though behind a plate of glass. They regard the world before them “with wide open eyes.”11 Barilli contrasts Fioroni’s work not only with American Pop but also with Pop’s most prominent competitor at the time: the widespread anti-specular movements that responded to a growing consumer hegemony. Process and Performance Art, the Situationist International, and Italy’s own Arte Povera, with its aesthetic of unmanipulated form and free behavior, all reacted against a passive specularity that seemed to reinforce the isolating fascination of

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Renato Barilli (1972), in Bianchino, Giosetta Fioroni, 206; I have modified this translation slightly to bring out Fioroni’s emphasis on vision. Barilli, “Dall’ ‘assemblage’ alla spazio prospettico” (1963), in Barilli, Informale, oggetto, comportamento: la ricerca artistica negli anni ’50 e ’60 (Milan: Feltrinelli Editore, 1979), 157.


contemporary image culture.12 For critics like Barilli and Boatto, however, the remedy was not to look away from the world, but rather to actively confront it. Indeed, maintaining a distanced perspective on images and events was not simply acceptable, it was a political imperative. Vision could be easily seduced and dominated by its object, but it also formed the basis of critical awareness and judgment, an awareness that these critics regarded as crucial to maintain in the wake of the fascist dictatorship and its culture of consensus. No one has explained this unique position better than the writer Italo Calvino, who, in a series of retrospective essays published in the 1970s and ’80s, used phenomenological terminology to describe his fellow writers’ approach to the chaos and uncertainty that postwar Italy faced. Noting, among other events, the unique situation whereby Italy’s fascist dictatorship was replaced, as if overnight, by a consumer regime, Calvino observes that “Italy is a place where changes in society are now very quick” and “everything that happens is accompanied by forewarnings of degradation or catastrophe… Therefore the stories we Italian writers can tell are marked on the one hand by the sense of the unknown and on the other by the need for construction: exactly drawn lines of harmony and geometry—that is the way we react to the quicksand we stand on.”13 In a particularly revealing article on the evolution of Italian cinema-going, Calvino recalls that, whereas cinema provided an escapist retreat during the fascist years, in the post-fascist era, “the screen became a magnifying lens posed on the everyday world outside that we were obliged to fix on the thing on which our naked eye tended to glide without stopping.”14 Fioroni uses markedly similar language to describe her aesthetic around 1960: “I was looking for the lightness of something like an ancient sequence by the Lumière brothers, one of the earliest 12

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This at least describes the concept of Arte Povera as defined by Celant. As I have explained elsewhere, the individual Arte Povera artists fit this paradigm with varying degrees of fidelity. See my introduction to the special issue of October magazine dedicated to postwar Italian art (for which I also served as guest editor), Claire Gilman, “Introduction,” October 124 (Spring 2008), 3–7. Italo Calvino, “The Written and the Unwritten Word,” The New York Review of Books, vol. 30, no. 8 (May 12, 1983), available at http://www.nybooks.com/articles/ archives/1983/may/12/the-written-and-the-unwritten-word/. Calvino, “Autobiografia di uno spettatore,” in Federico Fellini, Quattro film (Turin: Einaudi, 1997), 18.


films, something that passes, something that could be imagined as a series of shots…They are all frozen poses…I was trying precisely to create a sensation of fixity or fixation understood as the immobilization of movement.”15 At the end of 1959, Fioroni began using, along with graphite, a kind of silver aluminum paint, which she describes as a “non-color” that would “erase the colors that were used so excessively in the preceding years,” and that “would carry the attention, the perception, of the person looking at my canvases.”16 Fioroni’s “silver” represented an evacuation of sorts, a clearing away that led her from the earliest drawings to a group of stripped-down images in which she isolated individual objects depicted in the earlier works, such as a bed, light bulb, or heart, and positioned them on otherwise blank pages [PLS. 6, 30, 31]. Then, around 1960, Fioroni produced three silver monochromes [PLS. 7, 32, 33]. She had seen Yves Klein’s notorious exhibition of allblue paintings at Iris Clert gallery in Paris, and her shimmering, densely-layered surfaces are no doubt indebted to those pigmentsaturated canvases. What is unusual about these paintings, however, is the way in which they incorporate drawing, specifically a single line that follows the contour of each canvas and creates a rectangular separation within them. As with Schifano and Mauri’s use of interior divisions, this line disrupts the surface continuum. It ruptures the monochromatic visual plenum that an artist like Klein embraced in his quest for a pure, self-sufficient ideality. With a single gesture, Fioroni transforms plane into frame, thereby indicating a world outside the canvas and focusing attention on the act of vision itself. Fioroni’s return to abstraction was short-lived. She soon left the monochrome behind and emerged with her signature style. Exchanging graphic signs for figures executed in silver aluminum paint and graphite, she stripped away unnecessary content and isolated her 15

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Giosetta Fioroni, interview with L. Meneghelli (1991-2), in Celant, Giosetta Fioroni, 133–34. In an interview with the author (June 2011), Fioroni spoke of her investment in stillness and focused attention as a means of questioning the fanaticism of the fascist years. “Tre giorni con Giosetta Fioroni: le parole,” in Bianchino, Giosetta Fioroni, 66.


PL . 6

Letto (Bed), 1959


PL . 7

Laguna (Lagoon), 1960


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Tre bambini (Three Children), 1961


subjects on otherwise empty planes. Her earliest forays in this direction take the form of works on paper that are humble in approach, as though the artist were tentatively feeling her way back into the world. One of the first, Three Children (1961), shows three youths, their backs to the viewer, executed in dark, smudgy strokes [PL. 8]. It would be a fairly straightforward scene were it not for a single pencil line that divides the paper neatly in half. Running directly through the rightmost figure, the line strikes a harsh note by disrupting the flow of the image and calling us back to its surface. Fioroni has spoken of her use of metallic colors as conjuring a “dreamy rhythm…almost like the representation of remembrance resurfacing from far away,” and there is certainly a mournful quality to the scene.17 But the image is no exercise in nostalgia. Placed behind the bisected plane, Fioroni’s figures appear at a physical and emotional distance. It is as though we are asked to consider not the group of children itself as much as the mechanism by which these children appear to us, through the filter of memory, and across time and space. It is this self-conscious removal that inhabits all of Fioroni’s work of the next decade: from the small scale works on paper to her large canvases. Fioroni’s subjects are manifold and include personal and anonymous family photos, images based on iconic Italian paintings, even news shots from the fascist era [PL. 56]. But by far her most common subject matter is glamour shots of women’s faces taken from newspapers and the newly ubiquitous fashion and lifestyle magazines. Executed with aluminum paint, these similarly “dreamy” impressions also invariably utilize drawing: lines that indicate frames or horizons, pencil grids that mark off sections of the canvas or separate one figurative element from another, outlines that delineate roughly sketched forms, even stray marks that grace the empty canvas fields. Hence the box within a box that isolates the bespectacled face in Girl with Glasses (1965) [PL. 9], or the delicate tondo that bears the shadowed visage of Elsa Martinelli (an Italian actress and one of the few recognizable people that Fioroni depicts) in the two versions of Liberty (1964 and 1965) [PLS. 10, 11]. Here the subtle lines frame the face like a telescopic lens, whereas in the monumental

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Fioroni (1961), in Bianchino, Giosetta Fioroni, 193.


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Ragazza con occhiali (Girl with Glasses), 1965


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Liberty, 1965


PL . 11

Liberty, 1965


Glamour (1965), Martinelli’s visage appears amidst a virtual explosion of pencil marks [PL. 12]. These diagonal gridded scores read almost like traditional perspectival lines now unmoored as they deliver Martinelli’s looming face to view like a sun over the horizon. Indeed, from beneath these lines, Fioroni’s painted faces appear suspended, their silver tones resembling photo-emulsion that has been transferred onto the surface of the canvas. It is perhaps this reference to the visual regime of photography, both in subject matter and appearance, that Fioroni intends by her aforementioned statement that her “non-color” carries “the attention, the perception, of the person looking at my canvases.” With their streaky application, Fioroni’s figures recall early silver-based portrait photography, wherein a grainy appearance conveyed the image in the process of formation and the exposure times resulted in the sitter’s far-away aspect. It is not incidental that Fioroni’s favorite subject is faces, nor that her faces rarely confront the viewer: their eyes appear shrouded, as in Girl with Glasses, or they stare out into the distance. Rather than objectifying her figures by laying them bare to the viewer’s scrutiny, Fioroni positions them as inhabitants of their own private, inaccessible realms. They are, moreover, themselves beholders. Note the reflections in the glasses of the woman from Girl with Glasses—are we the object of her gaze?—or the two paintings featuring this same woman, her glasses now removed, that bear the title The Look (1966).18 Fioroni explains that her paintings frequently depart from their source photographs in order to give her personages a sadder or more ethereal expression, and she has spoken of the “affectionate” and “sentimental” relationship she had with some of her earliest images.19 This sentiment is palpable in the paintings featuring childhood photographs such as one of Fioroni at age seven seated with her back to us [PL. 52], and a long horizontal canvas of a solitary boy turned away and gazing into an empty expanse. It is evident too in a painting like TV Girl (1964–65), which captures a girl’s delicate

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For a related discussion of spectatorship in the work of Fioroni’s peer Michelangelo Pistoletto, see Gilman, “Pistoletto’s Staged Subjects,” October 124 (Spring, 2008), 53–74. Fioroni (1970), in Bianchino, Giosetta Fioroni, 194.


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Glamour, 1965


profile within a shallow frame reminiscent of a television set. The subject’s vulnerability is reinforced here by pencil lines that extend her image to the point of disappearance [PL. 13]. This is not to say that Fioroni intends to reveal her personages’ inner depths through an assault on media stereotypes and seduction. In this, she differs from American artists such as Pauline Boty and Marjorie Strider, who departed from their male Pop compatriots in their aim to liberate female sexuality from a dominating male gaze. Fioroni’s figures remain emphatically surfaces, not flesh and blood creatures, and if her silver color conjures up the hazy realm of photo processing, it is equally suggestive of the artificial glamour of media culture. And yet, according to Boatto, Fioroni invokes these associations deliberately and to surprising effect. For Boatto, the artist’s real subject is the fact of seduction—the way in which her tantalizing personages solicit interest. “Secure in their charm” and “the artificiality of their make-up,” Boatto writes, Fioroni’s figures expose “the vanity of that which wants to be absolutely viewed.”20 In offering unexpected vantage points and combining multiple angles within a single image, Fioroni’s images reject Warhol’s indifference and reveal an authoring hand. This revelation does not dispel attraction, Boatto asserts, but it does restore control, instilling awareness of what it means to desire and pairing passive fascination with active curiosity. We can track this active perception in Fioroni’s touch, a tentative touch that is made palpable in the broken gestures that bend and trail off where they encounter cracks and bumps in the canvas surface: the shaky arabesque that appears at the bottom of Girl with Glasses, and the frenetic wisps that score the double face in The Mask (1966) [PL. 14]. Hers is a surface that has been made: physically worked by a guiding hand. According to the artist, it is this “artisanal sympathy”—present in Fioroni’s brush, but above all in her drawing—that most distinguishes her work from the American model, which, she admits, “was

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Boatto, “Giosetta Fioroni,” reprinted in Roma anni ’60, 423. Originally published in Giosetta Fioroni (Milan: Galleria Naviglio, 1967).


PL . 13

Ragazza TV (TV Girl), 1964–65


PL . 14

La maschera (The Mask), 1966


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Doppia maschera (Twin Mask), 1966


an undeniable influence during those years.”21 Warhol is the obvious point of reference, but the connection is a superficial one. Whereas Warhol’s cosmetically enhanced figures seem to hover in some kind of unlocatable nonspace, his Day-Glo color fields absorbing the viewer in their own virtuality, Fioroni’s lines and frames ground her figures. Her images are not merely surfaces, they are of the surface, their lines literally incised into, and their porous aluminum smeared over, her rough canvas grounds. Like Warhol, Fioroni has made multiple versions of many of her subjects. Unlike him, her figures are largely anonymous, and so the viewer never confronts the notoriety that fascinated Warhol. Moreover, Fioroni consistently alters her versions with pencil additions as well as with overlapping elements within individual compositions, as in The Mask and Twin Mask (both 1966) [PL. 15]. As a result, what remains paramount is an awareness of the variability of things, of the way in which images are delivered through a specific medium and point of view. In 1968, on the occasion of the landmark exhibition Teatro della mostre (Theater of Exhibitions) at La Tartaruga, Fioroni took herself as the subject. For the show, the gallery invited artists to stage a work for one day only. Fioroni constructed a habitat in one room of the gallery that she modeled on her own bedroom, and she had the actress Giuliana Calandra play out the artist’s habitual activities over the course of one day. Viewers were invited to look one at a time through a peephole with an inverted telescope lens. This had the effect of shrinking and distancing the action to create, in Fioroni’s words, an imaginary vision “halfway between theater and a magic lantern show”22 [PLS. 93–96]. Also at this time, Fioroni began making little theater boxes constructed with similarly inverted spyholes [PLS. 16, 21], as well as small-scale drawings derived from Italian folklore, in which events are pictured in stage-like settings complete with lighting, curtains, and prosceniums [PLS. 81–92]. The telescopic distancing present in these works recalls paintings such as Liberty and Glamour, in which Fioroni achieves a similar effect through her pencil additions. 21 22

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Fioroni (1965), in Bianchino, Giosetta Fioroni, 193. Fioroni “Progetto per La spia ottica,” (1968), in Celant, Giosetta Fioroni, 166.


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Casetta teatrino (Theater House), 1968–69


The focus of these projects is not the immersive unreality of Calvino’s escapist cinema or the media culture that Fioroni takes as her subject and that Warhol exaggerates in his silkscreened reproductions. It is instead the narrative impulse that Calvino describes as motivating the post-World War II Italian generation: to step back, see, and transform reality, to understand how it is given and received, to make a space around familiar objects and events. These are the imperatives that Calvino embraced in literature and that Fioroni simultaneously developed in visual terms. According to the artist, drawing served as a “scaffolding or support,� one that provided a ground for her fleeting impressions and, as we first observe in the photograph of the nineyear-old artist scanning the distance with eye and hand, a means to approach an ever elusive world.23

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Fioroni, interview with the author (June 2011).


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C’era una volta una bambina (Once Upon a Time There Was a Little Girl), c. 2000


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Teatro Italia (Italian Theater), c. 1939


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Le jeux de l’amour e du hasard (Marivaux) [The Game of Love and Chance (Marivaux)], (Costume design from Rome’s Accademia di Belle Arti), 1950


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Le jeux de l’amour e du hasard (Marivaux) [The Game of Love and Chance (Marivaux)], (Costume design from Rome’s Accademia di Belle Arti), 1950


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Casa: interno famigliare (Home: Domestic Interior), 1969


Giosetta Fioroni, 1970 In ’58, I went to Paris for about two years, but I was mainly interested in American “action” painting (even though I worked in a tiny room that Tristan Tzara had offered me). At the time, all European experiments— Pittura metafisica, surrealism, etc.—seemed to me completely integrated within the various currents of “American Abstract Expressionism,” De Kooning, Motherwell, Pollock, etc. This attitude towards American painting lasted a while…a long but somewhat indiscriminate admiring view! In the period falling roughly between ’55 and ’61, I painted four abstract paintings with ever more precise “signs.” Later the “signs” became increasingly recognizable “ drawings” of objects of everyday use: telephones, hearts, shoes, etc.…In ’63 I did a show at Gallerie Breteau in Paris with paintings in which could be seen a cumulation of images that depicted domestic interior “ distortions.” Next to these were other paintings in which these images cleared out; all that remained was a single object (a light bulb, clock, or something else) on a solid aluminum-colored background. From that point on, the canvas “cleaned itself up” and grew ever emptier even as figures began to appear—faces in aluminum paint standing out against white backgrounds. The four large paintings I exhibited at the twenty-eighth Biennale are from this period. Some are images that were projected, then reproduced, then distorted. Others were invented within the shadow of a photographic framework. Others were imagined through a lens that magnified, congealed, crystallized. It was preceisely in the early ’60s that I set to work on the propitious problem of self-expression. However much painters such as Rauschenberg or Warhol may have influenced me, I can say that I simultaneously re-established “obscure” ties to the painting on this side of the ocean, as we say (futurism, Balla, Pittura metafisica…and also surrealism)! The point of departure for a painting was often a photo that I clipped from a newspaper, a photo that I myself made, an illustration.

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This was a feature in common with some experiments by American painters…but the final appearance was different and obtained by other means. Some have spoken of Warhol’s influence on my work…referring probably…to faces repeated and the use of aluminum paint…but my “ images in aluminum” were painted with a brush, with a craftperson’s sympathy for the object-painting that comes with the use of a brush…as opposed to the industrial detachment professed by Warhol, who boasted of never having touched his works with his own hands! A “tender” and “sentimental” rapport with the images that I was inventing and a sense of the repetition of forms that was at times rhythmic, at times obsessive… these were the characteristics of the pictures I exhibited at Tartaruga in early 1965. From then on, groups of pictures: a series of motionless faces and figures with expressions of astonishment; a series of stereotypical-industrial looks and smiles; later, a series of paintings on top of other paintings (by Botticelli, Carpaccio, etc.); a series vaguely inspired by “movement,” by Futurism, with children, with non-industrial expressions and nonserialized faces. Recently, some drawings and paintings about violence, fascist “remakes.” The last three large paintings inspired by Grimm’s fairytales —“Rumpelstilskin,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “The Goose Girl” — executed in aluminum paint and oil colors. As I have already written in a conversation with Plinio de Martiis in the journal Made In: “ in this period (it was ’68), I was also very interested in a type of visual painting…something possessing the variable and uncertain tempo of an apparition; in some way associated not with the theater, but with its essence, with the magical tone that lies at its origin. An epiphany that from time to time involves a “typical” situation; it can be an event, a vision, a memory, or else a place or moment, or anything else.” It is in this sense that one can understand the exhibition-spectacle at Tartaruga: La spia ottica [The Spyhole]. Il Teatrino [The Little Theater] (with “vision” through a lens) that I built for the Naviglio event in April ’69. Likewise in ’69 I made other unique objects (the spinster’s house, the Italian house, the vampire’s house) in which various interiors were visible through lenses.

46


PL . 22

Senza titolo (Untitled) from Le Journal Parisien, 1958–62


PL . 23

Senza titolo (Untitled) from Le Journal Parisien, 1958


PL . 24

Encore toi (You Again) from Le Journal Parisien, 1958


PL . 25

Senza titolo (Untitled) from Le Journal Parisien, 1958–62


PL . 26

Senza titolo (Untitled) from Le Journal Parisien, 1958–62


PL . 27

Senza titolo (Untitled) from Le Journal Parisien, 1958–62


PL . 28

Senza titolo (Untitled) from Le Journal Parisien, 1958–62


PL . 29

Senza titolo (Untitled) from Le Journal Parisien, 1958–62


PL . 30

Lampadina (Light Bulb), 1960


PL . 31

Cuore (Heart), 1960


PL . 32

Il segreto in azione (The Secret in Action), 1959–60


PL . 33

Senza titolo (Untitled), 1961


PL . 34

Ragazza che piange (Crying Girl), 1960


PL . 35

Il richiedente (The Demanding One), 1961


PL . 36

La fidanzata (Girlfriend), 1961


PL . 37

L’amour (Love), 1961


PL . 38

Malone e i suoi amici (Malone and his Friends), 1964


PL . 39

Ragazza TV (TV Girl), 1964


PL . 40

Elsa Martinelli, 1966


PL . 41

Bambino solo (Lone Child), 1967


PL . 42

Il passo (The Step), 1964


PL . 43

Fisionomie (Physionomies), 1966


PL . 44

Fisionomie (Physionomies), 1968


PL . 45

Fisionomie (Physionomies), 1969


PL . 46

Fisionomie (Physionomies), 1969


Gillo Dorfles Originally published in Giosetta Fioroni, exhibition catalogue (Venice: Galleria del Cavallino, 1965)

The figural aspects of reality (women, children in static poses, astonished faces) and of the imagination; the fictions of a “photographic (or cinematographic) reality,” and the “fictions to the Nth degree” of mechanically reproduced artworks (such as a detail of Botticelli’s Venus) and used as building material for new works; this universe of figuration, by now no longer realistic or surreal (because it still has within itself all the fragrance of the tranche de vie [slice of life] from which it was excised); this very tranche de vie; but of a life that has been schematized, depleted until it turns into a leaf, a membrane, nearly a film impressed with photographic emulsion, which evanescent and Medusa-like, settles on the canvas. And the canvas, thus impressed with these figural particles, with these disections, at times juxtaposed with figures (as in Fascino, for example), recovers its unity, recreates that homogeneity of images that seemed to have been lost. Images, by now only on the surface, deprived of all substance, yet still overflowing with humors and meanings that life has impressed on them and that have taken on greater depth through the presence of heraldic colors (gold, silver, the monochrome…) to the point of at times becoming pure arabesque. Giosetta thus makes use of this little pellicular universe that has been projected for a couple of years now onto the vast white surfaces of her canvases, and the result is all the more compelling. The fragile and barely traced drawing—nearly monochrome—in pale and evanescent colors, often in typographical ink, stands out against the canvas with the persuasiveness of film images that are alive despite being “celluloid,” but without running the risk of becoming either naturalistic or clumsily symbolic. The repetition—at times insistent—of the same figure, of a silhouette, sometimes magnified or shrunken, sometimes overlapping, then, like a cinematographic fade-out, feeding on nothing, truly has the effect of an ectoplasmic apparition in which we perceive an impalpable presence while recognizing in it improbability or danger. And this procedure allows Giosetta to achieve (in some recent works) a spatial breakdown and dilation that differs greatly from that obtained by mechanical effects, and of a kind that transports the spectator into an ambiguous dimension in which the image is now transformed into arabesque, and now becomes again a vital presence and story.

77


PL . 47

Una lacrima sul viso (Tear on the Face), 1964


PL . 48

Doppio liberty (Double Liberty), 1965


PL . 49

Senza titolo (Untitled), 1966


PL . 50

La fidanzata (Girlfriend), 1967


PL . 51

Bambino solo (Lone Child), 1968


PL . 52

Autoritratto a 7 anni (Self-portrait at Seven), 1971–72


PL . 53

Ugo Mulas. Giosetta Fioroni with Gian Tomaso Liverani, Mario Schifano, and Tano Festa at the 32nd Venice Biennale, 1964 [In the background: Giosetta Fioroni, L’ immagine del Silenzio (The Image of Silence), 1964]


The Scene of a Disappearance Romy Golan

Giosetta Fioroni’s interview with the art historian and critic Maurizio Calvesi, published in September 1964 in the journal Marcatrè, opens with the following exchange: [Calvesi]: I saw your four panels with an image that recurs in more or less the same pose but with different values of contour, light, etc. Could you explain your procedure? [Fioroni]: I don’t agree with the word “panels.” What interests me is very simple, it’s a certain type of narration linked to a cinematographic image that repeats itself. I insist on calling it narrative because for almost a year now I have been looking for ways to recount certain things.1

The painting in question is The Image of Silence (1964), a large work that Calvesi included in the Italian pavilion at the Venice Biennale that summer, alongside three other Roman Pop artists from the so-called “Scuola di Piazza del Popolo”: Tano Festa, Franco Angeli, and Mario Schifano.2 A picture taken by photographer Ugo Mulas—best known for his spirited coverage of the Venice Biennales—captures (from left to right) Festa, Schifano, the gallerist Gian Tommaso Liverani (the owner

1

2

87

Maurizio Calvesi, “Intervista con i pittori,” Marcatrè 8-9-10 (1964), 235. Except where indicated, all the translations are my own. Works by Mimmo Rotella were in a separate room, curated by the French critic Pierre Restany.


of La Salita, which competed with Plinio De Martiis’s La Tartaruga for the representation of Pop art in Rome), and Fioroni standing in front of the aforementioned painting [PL. 53]. The picture reflects these artists’ reliance on photographic media, showing Fioroni with a handbag over her arm and a camera around her neck. But perhaps most noticeable is the photograph’s de-centeredness: each of the protagonists is looking in a different direction at something outside the picture frame. The four seem oblivious to the feminine silhouette behind them in The Image of Silence; it is as if they were searching for the woman in the painting. Taking note of Fioroni’s pointed response to Calvesi, the critic Gillo Dorfles later elaborated, in the brochure for the artist’s solo show at the Galleria del Cavallino in Venice, on “[Fioroni’s] sometimes insistent repetition of the same figure, of a silhouette, sometimes magnified and sometimes the reverse, vanishing into nothingness like a cinematographic fade-out,” with the effect of “an apparition whose impalpable presence we perceive while recognizing its improbability or threat.”3 Although the filmmaker’s name never appears in the literature on Fioroni, every one of Dorfles’s key phrases—“vanishing into nothingness,” “apparition,” “improbability,” and “threat”—conspires to project us into the universe of Michelangelo Antonioni, whose “tetralogy”— L’avventura (1960), La Notte (1961), Eclipse (1962), and Red Desert (1964)—singlehandedly brought Italian cinema out of the political engagement of the immediate postwar decade dominated by Neorealism and into the political indifference and psychological disaffection of the years of Italy’s “Economic Miracle.” Everything in Mulas’s image, from its decentered composition to the clothes worn by the photo’s four protagonists on that summer day at the Biennale—Festa’s black polo shirt, Schifano’s white rolled-up sleeves, Liverani’s light summer suit and straw hat, and Fioroni’s checked dress—makes it look like a still from L’avventura; it evokes, for example, the scene in which the film’s lead characters search for their lost companion, Anna, among the deserted rocks of the Lisca Bianca in the Aeolian Islands. The passage that best describes the arc of Fioroni’s production was actually penned by a film critic, Pascal Bonizer, who could have been 3

88

Gillo Dorfles, Giosetta Fioroni (Venice: Galleria del Cavallino, 1965), reprinted in Germano Celant, Giosetta Fioroni (Turin: Skira, 2009), 136; and in this volume in English translation.


writing about her trajectory—from Girlfriend (1961), where a young woman with sunglasses walks, loose limbed, in T-shirt and pleated skirt, along the nondescript ledge formed by the bottom edge of the paper (a drawing Fioroni would recycle in 1966 and 1967 in two different formats) [PLS. 36, 50]; through to Beach Girl (1965), where a young woman in a sarong walks, head down, along the beach, as though searching for something; and up to the point where figures vanish altogether from her works in the spectral landscapes and cityscapes of 1970–71—when he writes in “The Disappearance (On Antonioni)”: Antonioni is a painter in the sense that, for him, white, black, grey, and the various colors of the spectrum are not merely ornamental, atmospheric, or emotional, but are veritable ideas that envelop characters and events… White connotes the absence, the disaffection, the emptiness that paralyzes Antonioni’s characters… L’avventura is ostensibly the story of a disappearance, but a disappearance whose importance and density evaporate little by little, until the very structure and form of the narrative are perilously contaminated and impaired: what happens in reality is the disappearance of the disappearance of Anna. We note that many of Antonioni’s other films have for their argument an inquest, a police-style investigation. In many Antonioni films something or someone disappears, but this disappearance is such that the tension appropriate to the police investigation, to the chase, to suspense, tends to vanish as well. Thus, in L’avventura, the disappearance of Anna underlines, insidiously, another disappearance, more secret and harder to make out, which haunts and misleads the remaining characters, preventing them from concentrating on the missing woman… Plastically, narratively, and ontologically, Antonioni’s world is in pieces, and “putting the pieces back together” is precisely the operation abandoned by Antonioni’s derailed, alienated, characters… We find, in his perambulating characters (people walk a lot in Antonioni’s films), an insistent fascination with the amorphous, the formally abstract, the self-hidden, self-erased figures slipping into non-differentiation… [As in] an unfinished sketch, the art of the cinema inextricably contains a-priori forms (the mental object which the mise-en-scene must bring forth on the screen) and raw images offered by the real world. The sketch disappears, but this disappearance is not a simple erasure; we shall never recover in its primal freshness “the virgin page defended by its whiteness.”4

4

89

Bonitzer’s essay was first published as “Il concetto di scomparsa” in Michelangelo Antonioni: Identificazione di un autore, ed. Giorgio Tinazzi (Parma: Societa Produzioni Editoriali, 1985), reprinted in L’Avventura, ed. Seymour Chatman and Guido Fink (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1989), 215–18. I would like to thank Noa Steimatksy for bringing this text to my attention.


PL . 54

Michaelangelo Pistoletto. Uomo seduto (Seated Man), 1962–63


The title that Bonitzer’s essay bore when it was originally published in Italian, “Il concetto di scomparsa,” involves a wordplay between comparsa, meaning “extra” in a play or film, and scomparsa, meaning “disappearance,” which points to something Fioroni shared with the Turinese Michelangelo Pistoletto’s cinematic “Mirror Paintings.”5 In 1962, Pistoletto began to cut life-size silhouettes of friends and mundane objects out of thin, translucent paper, which were then placed on the reflective surfaces of highly polished stainless steel [PL. 54]. Walking into a gallery, we encounter both the lifelike cutouts and our own images reflected in the “mirrors,” which exist only until we leave the room. But during this encounter we realize that we took part in a situation where everyone—we and Pistoletto’s nameless protagonists—performed not as actors but, in fact, as extras. There might have been a further meaning in disarray conveyed by Mulas’s 1964 photograph. That summer, American Pop art took the Venice Biennale, and Europe, by storm. The controversial award of the coveted Grand Prize in Painting to Robert Rauschenberg’s combines signaled the obsolescence of painting’s conventional definition. By all accounts, the intense political in-fighting among nations produced by the system of awarding Biennale prizes reached a climax that year. The most widely reproduced photograph of that Biennale, also by Mulas for Domus, shows canvases by Rauschenberg being carefully loaded on a motorboat so that they could be spirited from the U.S. Consulate, where they had been on display, to the grounds of the Giardini, so that they could qualify for the coveted prize; this “abduction” elicited press coverage that ranged from fascination to outrage.6 Pop art has been largely dismissed, especially by American critics and scholars, as a derivative and doomed option for European artists. Embracing Pop was seen as surrendering to America and to the

5

6

91

On Pistoletto and the cinematic as well as his relation to American Pop, see my “Flashbacks and Eclipses in Italian Art in the 1960s,” Grey Room 49 (Fall 2012), 102–27. For a detailed recounting of the facts by Calvin Tomkins, then reporting for the International Herald Tribune, see Calvin Tomkins, Robert Rauschenberg: The Artworld of Our Time (New York: Doubleday, 1980), 10.


amnesiac pleasures of the postwar economic boom. Studies of the Nouveaux Réalistes, the French counterparts to the Pop artists, have thus emphasized their confrontational, anti-consumerist resistance to America. The Americanophilia of English Pop has conversely been interpreted as an ironic, deflationary stance. The German artist Gerhard Richter’s photo-paintings have been viewed, meanwhile, both as a response to Andy Warhol and, in German terms, as the by-product of a traumatized historical memory. The “Pop” attitude in Italy—of which Fioroni was part—was quite different, however, and cannot be grasped either as rejection, as ironization, or as a traumatized embrace of American-style consumerism. Italy in the 1960s produced its own idiosyncratic take on Pop Art. The best word to describe the images produced by Italian Pop artists is “refractive.” They seem to be drained out, as if from fear of the empire of the sign and a desire to distill the stream of Pop images emitted by Italy’s overly charismatic transatlantic counterpart. In his 1963 article “La giovane scuola di Roma,” Cesare Vivaldi, a critic closely identified with the movement, described the works in terms of a disappearance: the mass-media repertoire of American Pop—Coca-Cola bottles, tin cans, ads, labels, tabloids, comic strips—found previously in the works of Schifano and his cohorts, had all but disappeared, replaced by landscapes, real people, objects, and symbols [PL. 55]. To perceive objects and landscapes via photography involved the reconstruction of data no longer perceptible to the naked eye, Vivaldi noted, and this pointed to a sensibility Italian critics found lacking in American Pop.7 It was Pierre Restany, the critical champion of the Nouveaux Réalistes, who, in retrospect, most cogently described the climate surrounding Italian Pop. In an interview published in the exhibition catalogue for Roma anni ’60: Al di là della pittura, he said: “Italian artists were able to look at America from a distance and that gave them operative space…One should recall that Rome had been the epicenter of the grand quarrel about Socialist Realism. It is there that the fall of Marxist ideology took place and its rejection on the part

7

92

Cesare Vivaldi, “La giovane scuola di Roma,” Il verri, no. 12 (Milan, 1963), 101–5.


PL . 55

Mario Schifano. Ai pittori di insigne (To the Sign Painters), 1964


of many artists.” “Rome,” Restany surmised, “did not want to force its destiny. It had forced it during the ventennio [Mussolini’s twenty years in power], and maybe that period served as a lesson.”8 Most emblematic of this is the work of Franco Angeli, who explained to Calvesi (just a few pages away from Fioroni in the pages of Marcatrè) how he veiled his symbols of violence and power—Rome’s shewolf; imperial eagles taken from the U.S. dollar; red stars from Communist banners; crosses next to Nazi swastikas—with cotton gauze sprayed with enamel, achieving a degree of color saturation that allowed “the image to appear, but never too much.”9 Fioroni’s work changed in 1966–67. The turn to black and white and the quality of incompleteness in her images began to suggest temporal flashbacks. While drawings such as Boy Alone (1967) [PL. 41], whose figure stands in one of her signature nondescript spaces, are difficult to date; others, such as Self-Portrait at Age Nine (1966), Little Balilla (1969), which shows a boy in uniform, or Contemplation of the Capo (1969), made their historical referents perfectly clear. Fioroni first exhibited these works in the spring of 1970, in Florence, at the Galleria Indiano, accompanied by a brochure featuring as its frontispiece Obedience (1969), which shows a young woman giving the fascist salute [PL. 56]. In the text, Fioroni writes somewhat cryptically of images that hovered in between private thoughts and the society surrounding her: “faces, clothes, fashions, and, above all, feelings that circulate—the ghosts of consumption, of a funereal remake [Fioroni’s emphasis] underway around us.”10 By that time memories of the ventennio had acquired a topical relevance. After the neo-fascist bombing in Milan’s Piazza Fontana that killed seventeen people on December 12, 1969, Italy would continue to be rocked by bombings in the bitter and obscure struggle between the extra-parliamentary Right and Left, which became known as the Years of Lead. Some time later, in the first extended monograph devoted to her work, Alberto Boatto urged Fioroni to comment again on these images, which in his interview

8

9 10

94

Roberto Lambarelli, “Intervista a Pierre Restany,” Roma anni ’60: Al di là della pittura (Rome: Carte Segrete, 1990), 362-66. Maurizio Calvesi, “Intervista con i pittori,” 220. Reprinted in Celant, Giosetta Fioroni, 184.


PL . 56

Obbedienza (Obedience), 1969


he contrasted with the dogged presentness of American Pop. Fioroni answered, somewhat wistfully: “I wanted to propose a series of emblematic portraits of a bygone Italy. A sweet, rural Italy that no longer exists, replaced nowadays by a telegenic one. There were photos of isolated, lost children, in the aftermath of the war, photos of the early years of fascism, ruins, stunned sites and figures.”11 At the end of 1970, the figure disappeared from Fioroni’s work. Gathered at La Tartaruga under the title Laguna were views of palaces along the Grand Canal of Venice, the trapezoidal shape of Piazza San Marco seen from the air, the Veneto countryside near Pieve di Soligo in pencil highlighted with enamel on cardboard paper. Engulfed in a ubiquitous fog, the silvery silhouettes of buildings and the landforms around them had now become nearly invisible. Two drawings nevertheless stand out. One is The Mountain Tomb (1971), a picture of a mountain in the Alps near Belluno that was the site of violent combat between Italian and Austrian troops during World War I [PL. 57]; the mountain owed its name to its pyramidal (tomblike) shape. Another, entitled Big Arrow Pointing to the Countryside House (1970), was also configured like a pyramid [PL. 56]. It is no doubt significant in this respect that the first solo show given to Richter outside of Germany took place at La Tartaruga in 1966, and that many of the paintings in that show were group portraits based on family photographs shot either during or just after—Richter always keeps one guessing—the Nazi years, as well as a painting entitled Small Pyramid (1964), a motif that has been interpreted in his work as one of his many allusions to the consigning of those years to the grave of historical memory.12 Reminiscences of fascism and deserted architecture coalesced in the series of mural-sized drawings that Fioroni produced as a temporary installation for Vitalità del negativo nell’arte italiana 1960/70, an ambitious exhibition showcasing the work of thirty-six artists curated by Achille Bonito Oliva at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in

11

12

96

Alberto Boatto, Anne-Marie Sauzeau, and Andrea Carancini, eds., Giosetta Fioroni (Ravenna: Essegni, 1990), 16. Gerhard Richter, Galleria La Tartaruga, Rome, January 20–February 20, 1966. Interestingly, nowhere in the literature on Italian Pop is this exhibition mentioned.


PL . 57

Il monte tomba (The Mountain Tomb), 1971


PL . 58

Strada per Fregene (Road to Fregene), 1970


Rome at the end of 1970. While the titles of these drawings—Studies for: Room of Landscapes, Villa Valmarana, Vicenza, 17...—referred to a Palladian villa in the Veneto whose guestrooms were decorated in the 1750s by Gianbattista and Giandomenico Tiepolo, the stark modernist geometries of the drawings pointed to something altogether different. Penciled on one was the word autostrada, and I would suggest we see their empty platforms, with their long, rigid lines receding precipitously toward a bleak horizon, as those that Fioroni glimpsed from her car window while driving through EUR on her way to the beach, and which she pictured in Road to Fregene, the title of one of her smaller landscape drawings made in Rome in 1970 [PL. 58]. EUR, Mussolini’s monumental Third Rome planned for the Olympic games of 1942, but unfinished at the outbreak of World War II and completed only in the 1950s, became one of the most iconic sites in postwar Italian cinema: a place of Partisan resistance in Roberto Rossellini’s Rome: Open City of 1945; of urban and psychological alienation in Antonioni’s Eclipse of 1962; and the relentless, seductive mise-en-scène of fascism in Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Conformist, a film that came to the screen just as Vitalità del negativo opened.13 Attending closely to the architectural container of that exhibition, namely the Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Bonito Oliva immersed in blinding light or, alternatively, in near darkness, paintings by the Roman school of Pop, kinetic environments by the Arte Programmata groups, works by members of Arte Povera, and other installation artists. In doing so, he exposed himself to the accusation of having hijacked Italy’s avant-garde into an atmosphere suffused with violence. In his review of the show, entitled “Il sacrario del negativo” (“The Shrine of the Negative”), Cesare Vivaldi emoted: The atmosphere of many of the rooms echoes, in one of those strangely vengeful moments of history, the infamous “Mostra della rivoluzione fascista” which took place, as it happens, in this very same palazzo. I remember (as a child) a black hall, with the countless inscriptions, in bronze, of the word “Presente” with psychedelic-patriotic

13

99

See John David Rhodes, “The Eclipse of Place: Rome’s EUR from Rossellini to Antonioni,” in Taking Place, eds. John David Rhodes and Elena Gorfinkel (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011), 31–54.


PL . 59

Ugo Mulas. Giosetta Fioroni at VitalitĂ del Negativo, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, 1971


music in the background… This is no coincidence. The “Mostra” was a shrine and the same is true of Vitalità del negativo for the simple reason that negativity, as soon as it is institutionalized, loses all vitality and becomes its own gravedigger.14

Most controversial was the exhibit’s entry space, redesigned by the architect Piero Sartogo. Like Fioroni, Sartogo approached the ideologically charged space by staging an eclipse: he split the rotunda in two by wrapping an X of semi-opaque black ribbon around its white Corinthian columns. With the cupola shrouded in darkness, the visitors were only able to see their own silhouettes reflected on four large screens via projectors in the bottom half. In effect, he rotated the ubiquitous X of the infamous 1932 Mostra—where it appeared both as the Roman numeral signaling the Year Ten of the regime and in the omnipresent word DUX (for duce)—from a vertical to an horizontal axis. Working in 1970 in a climate of critical revisionism, in which, as architectural historian Dennis Doordan has noted, images of fascist monumentality acquired a power and validity that they had been denied since the end of the war,15 Bonito Oliva, Sartogo, and Fioroni were committing what we may call a “mimetic subversion,” engaging the enemy on its own ground. Let us end by looking at a second photograph by Ugo Mulas, in which Fioroni is standing in front of her deserted wall-drawings wearing a fur jacket [PL. 59]. Her head is slightly thrown back and something appears to have caught her attention from beyond the frame on the right. Another woman faces the opposite direction, examining something also invisible to us in one of Fioroni’s works. We are transported once more to a film set: the scene in The Conformist, in which Marcello Clerici, the turncoat hero of the story, takes his eccentric mother to visit his demented father at an asylum, filmed in situ at EUR. In that shot, the mother, the son, and a doctor stand silhouetted against the chilling whiteness of a cold marble-clad platform. All facing the same direction, they stare at something in the distance, once again outside the picture frame. Marcello’s mother, like Fioroni, is wearing a fur: in this case, a 1930s 14 15

Cesare Vivaldi, “Il sacrario del negativo,” NAC (February 2, 1971), 10–11. Denis P. Doordan, “Changing Agendas: Architecture and Politics in Contemporary Italy,” Assemblage 8 (February 1989), 60–77.

101


stole wrapped around her shoulders. In contrast to the 1951 novel by Alberto Moravia upon which it was based, Bertolucci structured his narrative around a series of ellipses and flashbacks. The film begins where it will end, with Marcello riding in car from Paris to the site where his former university professor, Luca Quardi, an anti-fascist in exile, will be assassinated: a site whose traumatic meaning is revealed to us only much later in the film.16 Fioroni also toyed with the idea of a temporal disturbance: the title of her mural drawings—Studies for: Room of Landscapes, Villa Valmarana, Vicenza, 17. . .—contains an encrypted date that reads as “71” in reverse. It was Moravia who wrote the brochure for Fioroni’s show ‘La Vita a Roma’: luoghi, paesaggi, dimore, which opened at Il Naviglio in Milan just weeks after the closing of Vitalità. Its opening sentence reprises the theme of eternal recurrence that had haunted her work and that of others in those years: “Dear Giosetta, the paths of poetry are few and you can only travel them in one direction. If you set off on a given path, you inevitably end up in places that are foreseeable, though always new.”17

16

17

See Milicent Marcus’s chapter on that film in Italian Film in the Light of Neorealism (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1986), 285–312. Reprinted in Celant, Giosetta Fioroni, 102.

102


PL . 60

Palazzo sul Canal Grande (Palazzo on the Grand Canal), 1970


PL . 61

Casa di M con limoni (M’s House with Lemons), 1971


PL . 62

Il sole sui giardini di Piazza della Libertà (Sun on Piazza della Libertà’s Gardens), 1970


PL . 63

La casa di Federico (Federico’s House), 1970


PL . 64

Fagarè della Battaglia, 1970


PL . 65

Grande freccia che indica la casa in campagna (Big Arrow Pointing to the Countryside House), 1970


PL . 66

Autunno al Foro Italico (Autumn at the Foro Italico), 1970


PL . 67

Visione lagunare (Lagoon Vision), 1976


PL . 68

Vela in laguna (Sailing in the Lagoon), 1971


PL . 69

Piazza San Marco, 1970


PL . 70

Chiosco (Kiosk), 1970


PL . 71

Il Palatino sotto la neve (Palatino Covered in Snow), 1971


PL . 72

La Montagne (The Mountain), 1970


PL . 73

La casa di Salgareda (House in Salgareda), 1970


PL . 74

Gabbiani in volo sul Tevere (Seagulls Flying over the River Tiber), 1971


PL . 75

Fossalta, ponte di barche sul Piave (Fossalta, Bridge of Boats on the Piave), 1971


PL . 76

Gli spiriti di campagna, Scrittura (Countryside Spirits, Writing), 1970


PL. 77

Gli spiriti di campagna, Coboldo soffione che si aggira (Countryside Spirits, The Dance of Coboldo), 1972


PL . 78

Gli spiriti di campagna, Baba volante (Countryside Spirits, Flying Sprite), 1972


PL . 79

Gli spiriti di campagna, Grande Orzimbo (Countryside Spirits, The Big Orzimbo), 1972


PL . 80

Gli spiriti di campagna, Baba di Busco (Countryside Spirits, The Sprite of Busco), 1972


PL . 81

La giumenta sdoppiata (The Mare Split in Two), Notes for Spiriti di campagna (Countryside Spirits), 1973


PL . 82

Cavallo di Giuda in volo notturno (Judas’s Horse Flying at Night), Notes for Spiriti di campagna (Countryside Spirits), 1973


PL . 83

Senza titolo (Untitled), Notes for Spiriti di campagna (Countryside Spirits), 1973


PL . 84

Il teatrino (Small Theater), Notes for Spiriti di campagna (Countryside Spirits), 1973


PL . 85

La maga (The Sorceress), Notes for Spiriti di campagna (Countryside Spirits), 1973


PL . 86

Casa di fata (Fairy House), Notes for Spiriti di campagna (Countryside Spirits), 1973


PL . 87

La casa volante (The Flying House), Notes for Spiriti di campagna (Countryside Spirits), 1973


PL . 88

Oltre le terre lontane (Beyond Distant Lands), Notes for Spiriti di campagna (Countryside Spirits), 1970


PL . 89

Pasto di cuore (Heart Meals), Notes for Spiriti di campagna (Countryside Spirits), 1970


PL . 90

L’ora magica (The Magic Hour), Notes for Spiriti di campagna (Countryside Spirits), 1971


PL . 91

La bara di vetro, la radura, la morte temporanea (The Glass Coffin, The Glade, Temporary Death), Notes for Spiriti di campagna (Countryside Spirits), 1970


PL . 92

Maga donatrice, (A Witch), Notes for Spiriti di campagna (Countryside Spirits), 1974


Renato Barilli Originally published in Giosetta Fioroni, exhibition catalogue (Ferrara: Palazzo dei Diamanti, 1972)

At a time when visual values are under heavy attack, Giosetta Fiorini intrepidly reaffirms her faith in them. She is quick to state that all her work, at least from ’64 to the present, has unfolded in continuous celebration of both “seeing” and the recovered techniques to which “seeing” usually entrusts itself—a celebration, therefore, of photographic techniques, or slide projections or images from glossy magazines; or finally, even the reconstruction of an optical “chamber” for spying through a hole that simulates in every respect the fixed rigidity of a nearly monocular “point of view”; a world, in short, for illustrating with nearly didactic rigor the principles of traditional perspective. It is therefore also a conscious act of defiance towards currents that regard as exhausted the possibility of artists having recourse to normal acts of perception. On the other hand, Giosetta Fioroni’s are perceptual acts sui generis, and in this lies their power, the key to their redemption. They are not naively carried out as primary, but as secondary: they do not pretend to be directly authentic or original but recover these indispensible qualities by way of a longer route, passing through the inauthentic and stereotypical. In this respect, Giosetta Fioroni demonstrates that she has remained true to the pop art approach, aimed typically at overturning anything that is of poor taste and bringing it back “ inside” and submitting it to fresh observation; but now, perhaps, we are able to offer a fuller interpretation of such an approach. And he who helps us achieve this is none other than Marshall McLuhan, that is, one who has otherwise energetically condemned the “visual” arts as being by this point unequal to the task set by our present electronic civilization. Yet it is McLuhan who always tells us that clichés can be defied as long as they are known to be such, and are taken for what they are, for stereotypical, rigid values, almost museal, with which it is nonetheless possible to engage in a good contest. Indeed, when confronted with a similar attitude of critical detachment, clichés are reanimated, acquire new life, which the Canadian scholar does not hesitate to define as utterly archetypical. From the obviousness of everyday life, hackneyed and worn out, clichés ascend to a kind of magical universe. I believe that all this fits the case of Giosetta Fioroni, who in facts departs from typical clichés (and the term

144


is being used here in the specific, technical sense) of vision; old photographic processes based on silver nitrates, even if faded by time, poorly developed, full of lacuna; a battered tool chest of optical diversions, the magic lanterns from the nice parlours of other ages; projections of memory-images, but these too always a bit blurry and poorly developed. And yet, confronted face to face in this way, these banalities, impossible in themselves, reanimate themselves, rediscovering a mysterious, fleeting, distant beauty. The return “of the second� on the road already travelled has its positive effects; it reopens the possibility of a perceptual rapport with things, even if through the strategy of refinding them as if through a mediator. In this way, the act of seeing loses its simplicity and reinvigorates itself with an extraordinary significance, as if it were the fulfillment of a fascinating ritual.

145


PL . 93

Progetto per La spia ottica (Design for The Spy Hole), 1968


PL . 94

Progetto per La spia ottica (Design for The Spy Hole), 1968


PL . 95

Photographer unknown. The artist with Ennio Flaiano watching the performance La spia ottica (The Spy Hole), 1968


PL . 96

Photographer unknown. The actress Giuliana Calandra in La spia ottica (The Spy Hole), 1968


PL . 97

La solitudine femminile (Female Solitude), 1967


PL . 98

Gioco (Game), 1967


PL . 99

Guido Ceronetti. Frate Martino suona il liuto alla locanda dello struzzo 16 aprile 1521 (Friar Martino Plays the Lute in the Tavern of the Ostrich April 16, 1521), 1998


PL . 100

Goffredo Parise and Andrea Zanzotto. Tapestry: fisiche, metafisiche e guerre stellari (Tapestry: Physics, Metaphysics and Star Wars), 1992


PL . 101

Acephale (la congiura SACRA in onore di Bataille, Klossowski e Masson) - Acephale (The Sacred Conspiracy in Honor of Bataille, Klossowski and Masson), 1983


PL . 102

Ciel, Cielo, Sky, 1980


L I S T O F P L AT E S

PL . 6

Letto (Bed), 1959 PL . 1

Tempera and aluminum enamel on paper

Portrait of the artist in Vogue Italia no. 177,

27 1/2 x 19 5/8 inches

January 1966 Archival photograph

PL . 7

Dimensions variable

Laguna (Lagoon), 1960 Oil and enamel on canvas

PL . 2*

39 3/8 x 31 1/2 inches

The Artist at Age Nine, 1941 Archival photograph

PL . 8

Photograph by Mario Fioroni

Tre bambini (Three Children), 1961 Pencil, white and aluminum enamel on paper

PL . 3

13 3/4 x 19 5/8 inches

Le marionette della mamma (Mum’s Puppets), 2006

PL . 9

Puppets from the 1940s, made of cloth and

Ragazza con occhiali (Girl with Glasses), 1965

various materials, painted wooden showcase

Pencil, white and aluminum enamel on canvas

16 x 4 11/16 x 3 inches

45 11/16 x 35 1/4 inches Courtesy of Mrs. Inge Schonthal Feltrinelli

PL . 4*

Giosetta Fioroni with Renato Mambor, Sergio

PL . 10

Lombardo, Cesare Tacchi, Jannis Kounellis,

Liberty, 1965

Umberto Bignardi, Tano Festa, and Rosanna

Pencil, white and aluminum enamel on canvas

Guerrini, Rome, 1964

57 1/2 x 44 13/16 inches

Archival photograph

Collection Jacorossi, Rome

Photograph by Mario Dondero PL . 11 PL . 5*

Liberty, 1965

Mario Schifano

Pencil, white and red enamel on canvas

Tempo moderno (Modern Times), 1962

57 1/2 x 44 13/16 inches

Enamel, paper on canvas

Private collection, Gstaad, Switzerland

70 7/8 x 70 7/8 inches Sonnabend Collection

PL . 12*

Š 2013 Artists Rights Society (ARS),

Glamour, 1965

New York/SIAE, Rome

Pencil, white and aluminum enamel on canvas

Photographer unknown

74 13/16 x 63 inches Private collection, Milan

160


PL . 13

PL . 19

Ragazza TV (TV Girl), 1964–65

Le jeux de l’amour e du hasard (Marivaux)

Pencil, white and aluminum enamel on canvas

[The Game of Love and Chance (Marivaux)],

44 13/16 x 57 1/2 inches

(Costume design from Rome’s Accademia di

Courtesy Galleria nazionale d’arte moderna e

Belle Arti), 1950

contemporanea, Rome

Watercolor and ink on paper 14 x 9 inches

PL . 14

Private collection

La maschera (The Mask), 1966

Photograph by Cathy Carver

Pencil, white and aluminum enamel on canvas 70 1/ 2 x 62 1/5 inches

PL . 20

Private collection, Salerno, Italy

Le jeux de l’amour e du hasard (Marivaux) [The Game of Love and Chance (Marivaux)],

PL . 15 & COVER

(Costume design from Rome’s Accademia di

Doppia maschera (Twin Mask), 1966

Belle Arti), 1950

Pencil, white and aluminum enamel on canvas

Watercolor and ink on paper

70 13/16 x 63 inches

14 x 9 inches

Private collection, Milan

Private collection Photograph by Cathy Carver

PL . 16*

Casetta teatrino (Theater House), 1968–69

PL . 21

House of painted wood, peep-hole and tripod;

Casa: interno famigliare (Home: Domestic

interior scene with objects

Interior), 1969

69 11/16 x 21 11/16 x 25 5/8 inches

House of painted wood, peep-hole and electri-

Photographer unknown

cal device, interior scenes with objects 21 1/4 x 22 7/16 x 19 11/16 inches

PL . 17

C’era una volta una bambina

PL . 22

(Once Upon a Time There Was a Little Girl),

Senza titolo (Untitled) from Le Journal Parisien,

c. 2000

1958–62

Collage and ink on paper

India ink, pastel and tempera on paper

9 7/8 x 8 1/4 inches

9 7/8 x 7 1/8 inches

PL . 18

PL . 23

Teatro Italia (Italian Theater), c. 1939

Senza titolo (Untitled) from Le Journal Parisien,

Colored pencil on paper

1958

7 13/16 x 12 3/16 inches

India ink, pastel and tempera on paper 9 7/8 x 7 1/8 inches

161


PL . 24

PL . 30

Encore toi (You Again) from Le Journal Parisien,

Lampadina (Light Bulb), 1960

1958

Tempera and aluminum enamel on paper

India ink, pastel and tempera on paper

27 1/2 x 19 5/8 inches

9 7/8 x 7 1/8 inches PL . 31 PL . 25

Cuore (Heart), 1960

Senza titolo (Untitled) from Le Journal Parisien,

Pencil, tempera and aluminum enamel on paper

1958–62

27 1/2 x 19 5/8 inches

India ink, pastel and tempera on paper 9 7/8 x 7 1/8 inches

PL . 32

Il segreto in azione (The Secret in Action), PL . 26

1959–60

Senza titolo (Untitled) from Le Journal Parisien,

Oil, sand and aluminum enamel on canvas

1958–62

39 3/8 x 25 1/2 inches

India ink, pastel and tempera on paper 9 7/8 x 13 inches

PL . 33

Senza titolo (Untitled), 1961 PL . 27

Oil and enamel on canvas

Senza titolo (Untitled) from Le Journal Parisien,

45 3/16 x 35 inches

1958–62

Collection Jacorossi, Rome

India ink, pastel and tempera on paper 9 7/8 x 13 inches

PL . 34

Ragazza che piange (Crying Girl), 1960 PL . 28

Pencil and aluminum enamel on paper

Senza titolo (Untitled) from Le Journal Parisien,

19 5/8 x 27 1/2 inches

1958–62 India ink, pastel and tempera on paper

PL . 35

9 7/8 x 13 inches

Il richiedente (The Demanding One), 1961 Pencil and aluminum enamel on paper

PL . 29

13 3/4 x 19 5/8 inches

Senza titolo (Untitled) from Le Journal Parisien, 1958–62

PL . 36

India ink, pastel and tempera on paper

La fidanzata (Girlfriend), 1961

9 7/8 x 13 inches

Pencil and aluminum enamel on paper 20 13/16 x 14 1/2 inches

162


PL . 37

PL . 44

L’amour (Love), 1961

Fisionomie (Physionomies), 1968

Pencil and aluminum enamel on paper

Pencil and aluminum enamel on paper

27 1/2 x 19 5/8 inches

13 7/16 x 9 7/16 inches

PL . 38

PL . 45

Malone e i suoi amici (Malone and his Friends),

Fisionomie (Physionomies), 1969

1964

Pencil and aluminum enamel on paper

Pencil and aluminum enamel on paper

13 7/16 x 9 7/16 inches

27 1/2 x 39 3/8 inches Collection of Luisa Laureati Briganti

PL . 46

Fisionomie (Physionomies), 1969 PL . 39

Pencil and aluminum enamel on paper

Ragazza TV (TV Girl), 1964

13 7/16 x 9 7/16 inches

Pencil, white and aluminum enamel on paper 27 1/2 x 39 3/8 inches

PL . 47

Una lacrima sul viso (Tear on the Face), 1964 PL . 40

Pencil, white and aluminum enamel on canvas

Elsa Martinelli, 1966

45 3/16 x 35 7/16 inches

Colored enamel on paper

Balella Collection, Rome

27 1/2 x 39 3/8 inches Courtesy Galleria nazionale d’arte moderna e

PL . 48

contemporanea, Rome

Doppio liberty (Double Liberty), 1965 Pencil, pastel, white and aluminum enamel on

PL . 41

canvas

Bambino solo (Lone Child), 1967

31 1/2 x 39 3/8 inches

Pencil and aluminum enamel on paper

Collection Burzi, Borgonovo, Italy

27 1/2 x 39 3/8 inches PL . 49 PL . 42

Senza titolo (Untitled), 1966

Il passo (The Step), 1964

Pencil, pastel, white and aluminum enamel on

Graphite and aluminum enamel on paper

canvas

27 1/2 x 39 3/8 inches

39 3/8 inches x 31 1/2 Collection of Gemma and Alberto Boatto,

PL . 43

Fisionomie (Physionomies), 1966 Pencil and aluminum enamel on paper 11 7/16 x 8 1/4 inches

163

Rome


PL . 50

PL . 55*

La fidanzata (Girlfriend), 1967

Mario Schifano

Enamel on canvas

Ai pittori di insigne (To the Sign Painters), 1964

63 x 31 1/2 inches

Enamel and graphite on canvas

Private collection, Gstaad, Switzerland

78 7/8 x 47 3/8 inches Courtesy Sperone Westwater, New York

PL . 51

© 2013 Artists Rights Society (ARS),

Bambino solo (Lone Child), 1968

New York/SIAE, Rome

Pencil, white aluminum enamel on canvas

Photographer unknown

39 3/8 x 78 11/16 inches PL . 56* PL . 52

Obbedienza (Obedience), 1969

Autoritratto a 7 anni (Self-portrait at Seven),

Pencil, white and aluminum enamel on canvas

1971–72

70 7/8 x 23 5/8 inches

Pencil, aluminum enamel on canvas

Paola Quesada Collection, Rome

63 x 31 1/2 inches PL . 57 PL . 53*

Il monte tomba (The Mountain Tomb), 1971

Ugo Mulas

Pencil and aluminum enamel on paper

Giosetta Fioroni with Gian Tomaso Liverani,

39 3/8 x 27 1/2 inches

Mario Schifano, and Tano Festa at the 32nd Venice Biennale, 1964 [In the background:

PL . 58

Giosetta Fioroni, L’ immagine del Silenzio (The

Strada per Fregene (Road to Fregene), 1970

Image of Silence), 1964)]

Pencil and aluminum enamel on paper

Photo Ugo Mulas © Ugo Mulas Heirs.

39 3/8 x 27 1/2 inches

All rights reserved. PL . 59* PL . 54*

Ugo Mulas

Michaelangelo Pistoletto

Giosetta Fioroni at Vitalità del Negativo,

Uomo seduto (Seated Man), 1962–63

Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, 1971

Painted tissue paper on polished stainless steel

Photo Ugo Mulas © Ugo Mulas Heirs.

71 x 47 inches

All rights reserved.

The Sonnabend Collection, New York Courtesy of Citta dellarte - Fondazione

PL . 60

Pistoletto, Biella

Palazzo sul Canal Grande (Palazzo on the Grand

Photographer unknown

Canal), 1970 Pencil and aluminum enamel on paper 39 3/8 x 27 1/2 inches

164


PL . 61

PL . 67

Casa di M con limoni (M’s House with Lemons),

Visione lagunare (Lagoon Vision), 1976

1971

Pencil and aluminum enamel on paper

Pencil and aluminum enamel on paper

39 3/8 x 27 1/2 inches (100 x 70 cm)

39 3/8 x 27 1/2 inches PL . 68 PL . 62

Vela in laguna (Sailing in the Lagoon), 1971

Il sole sui giardini di Piazza della Libertà

Pencil and aluminum enamel on paper

(Sun on Piazza della Libertà’s Gardens), 1970

39 3/8 x 27 1/2 inches

Pencil and aluminum enamel on paper 39 3/8 x 27 1/2 inches

PL . 69

Piazza San Marco, 1970 PL . 63

Pencil and aluminum enamel on paper

La casa di Federico (Federico’s House), 1970

39 3/8 x 27 1/2 inches

Pencil and aluminum enamel on paper 39 3/8 x 27 1/2 inches

PL . 70

Chiosco (Kiosk), 1970 PL . 64

Pencil and aluminum enamel on paper

Fagarè della Battaglia (Fagarè della Battaglia,

39 3/8 x 27 1/2 inches

Veneto, Italy), 1970 Pencil and aluminum enamel on paper

PL . 71

39 3/8 x 27 1/2 inches

Il Palatino sotto la neve (Palatino Covered in Snow), 1971

PL . 65

Pencil and aluminum enamel on paper

Grande freccia che indica la casa in campagna

39 3/8 x 27 1/2 inches

(Big Arrow Pointing to the Countryside House), 1970

PL . 72

Pencil and aluminum enamel on paper

La Montagne (The Mountain), 1970

39 3/8 x 27 1/2 inches

Pencil and aluminum enamel on paper 39 3/8 x 27 1/2 inches

PL . 66

Autunno al Foro Italico (Autumn at the Foro

PL . 73

Italico), 1970

La casa di Salgareda (House in Salgareda), 1970

Pencil and aluminum enamel on paper

Pencil and aluminum enamel on paper

39 3/8 x 27 1/2 inches

39 3/8 x 27 1/2 inches

165


PL . 74

PL . 80

Gabbiani in volo sul Tevere (Seagulls flying over

Gli spiriti di campagna, Baba di Busco

the River Tiber), 1971

(Countryside Spirits, The Sprite of Busco), 1972

Pencil and aluminum enamel on paper

India ink, watercolor and pencil on paper

39 3/8 x 27 1/2 inches

19 11/16 x 13 13/16 inches

PL . 75

PL . 81

Fossalta, ponte di barche sul Piave (Fossalta,

La giumenta sdoppiata (The Mare Split in Two),

Bridge of Boats on the Piave), 1971

Notes for Spiriti di campagna (Countryside

Pencil and aluminum enamel on paper

Spirits), 1973

39 3/8 x 27 1/2 inches

India ink, watercolor and colored pencil on paper

PL . 76

9 7/16 x 6 1/8 inches

Gli spiriti di campagna, Scrittura (Countryside Spirits, Writing), 1970

PL . 82

India ink on paper

Cavallo di Giuda in volo notturno (Judas’s Horse

19 11/16 x 13 13/16 inches

Flying at Night), Notes for Spiriti di campagna (Countryside Spirits), 1973

PL. 77

India ink, watercolor and colored pencil on

Gli spiriti di campagna, Coboldo soffione che

paper

si aggira (Countryside Spirits, The Dance of

9 7/16 x 6 1/8 inches

Coboldo), 1972 India ink, watercolor and pencil on paper

PL . 83

19 11/16 x 13 13/16 inches

Senza titolo (Untitled), Notes for Spiriti di campagna (Countryside Spirits), 1973

PL . 78

India ink, watercolor and colored pencil on

Gli spiriti di campagna, Baba volante

paper

(Countryside Spirits, Flying Sprite), 1972

9 7/16 x 6 1/8 inches

India ink and watercolor on paper 19 11/16 x 13 13/16 inches

PL . 84

Il teatrino (Small Theater), Notes for Spiriti di PL . 79

campagna (Countryside Spirits), 1973

Gli spiriti di campagna, Grande Orzimbo

India ink, watercolor and colored pencil on

(Countryside Spirits, The Big Orzimbo), 1972

paper

India ink and watercolor on paper

9 7/16 x 6 1/8 inches

19 11/16 x 13 13/16 inches

166


PL . 85

PL . 91

La maga (The Sorceress), Notes for Spiriti

La bara di vetro, la radura, la morte temporanea

di campagna (Countryside Spirits), 1973

(The Glass Coffin, The Glade, Temporary Death),

India ink and watercolor on paper

Notes for Spiriti di campagna (Countryside

9 7/16 x 6 1/8 inches

Spirits), 1970 India ink on paper

PL . 86

9 7/16 x 6 5/16 inches

Casa di fata (Fairy House), Notes for Spiriti di campagna (Countryside Spirits), 1973

PL . 92

India ink, watercolor and pencil on paper

Maga donatrice, (A Witch), Notes for Spiriti di

9 7/16 x 6 1/8 inches

campagna (Countryside Spirits), 1974 India ink on paper

PL . 87

9 7/16 x 6 5/16 inches

La casa volante (The Flying House), Notes for Spiriti di campagna (Countryside Spirits), 1973

PL . 93

India ink on paper

Progetto per La spia ottica (Design for The Spy

9 7/16 x 6 1/8 inches

Hole), 1968 Pencil and ink on card

PL . 88

11 13/16 x 13 13/16 inches

Oltre le terre lontane (Beyond Distant Lands), Notes for Spiriti di campagna (Countryside

PL . 94

Spirits), 1970

Progetto per La spia ottica (Design for The Spy

India ink on paper

Hole), 1968

9 7/16 x 6 5/16 inches

Pencil and ink on card 11 13/16 x 13 13/16 inches

PL . 89

Pasto di cuore (Heart Meals), Notes for Spiriti di

PL . 95

campagna (Countryside Spirits), 1970

Photographer unknown

India ink on paper

The artist with Ennio Flaiano watching the per-

9 7/16 x 6 5/16 inches

formance La spia ottica (The Spy Hole), 1968 Archival photograph

PL . 90

L’ora magica (The Magic Hour), Notes for Spiriti di campagna (Countryside Spirits), 1971 India ink on paper 9 7/16 x 6 5/16 inches

167

Dimensions variable


PL . 96

PL . 101

Photographer unknown

Acephale (la congiura SACRA in onore di

The actress Giuliana Calandra in

Bataille, Klossowski e Masson) - Acephale

La spia ottica (The Spy Hole), 1968

(The Sacred Conspiracy in Honor of Bataille,

Archival photograph

Klossowski and Masson), 1983

7 x 9 7/16 inches

Hand-made book (mixed media on paper) Unique copy

PL . 97

6 x 3 11/16 inches

La solitudine femminile (Female Solitude), 1967 Film with Rosanna Tofanelli Guerrin

PL . 102

Back-and-white Super 8 film (silent)

Ciel, Cielo, Sky, 1980

Duration: 7 min.

Hand-made book (mixed media on paper)

Courtesy Galleria d’Arte Moderna e

Six copies

Contemporanea, Torino

9 7/16 x 4 11/16 inches

PL . 98

* Work not included in exhibition

Gioco (Game), 1967 Film with Pino Pascali

All works courtesy of the artist unless otherwise

Black-and-white 16 mm film (silent)

noted.

Duration: 3 min. 55 sec. Courtesy Galleria d’Arte Moderna e

Photography by Giuseppe Schiavinotto unless

Contemporanea, Torino

otherwise noted.

PL . 99

Guido Ceronetti Frate Martino suona il liuto alla locanda dello struzzo 16 aprile 1521 (Friar Martino Plays the Lute in the Tavern of the Ostrich April 16, 1521), 1998 Book with illustrations by Giosetta Fioroni 14 3/16 x 10 1/16 inches PL . 100

Goffredo Parise and Andrea Zanzotto Tapestry: fisiche, metafisiche e guerre stellari (Tapestry: Physics, Metaphysics and Star Wars), 1992 Book with illustrations by Giosetta Fioroni 6 1/2 x 4 3/4 inches

168


E XHIBITON WORKS NOT PICTURED

Senza titolo (Untitled) from Le Journal Parisien, 1958–62

Teatro per la signora Befan (Theater for

India ink, pastel and tempera on paper

Mrs. Befan), c. 1941

9 7/8 x 13 inches

Ink on paper 8 1/4 x 9 7/8 inches

La ragazza della spiaggia (Beach Girl), 1965 Pencil and aluminum enamel on paper

Le jeux de l’amour e du hasard (Marivaux)

27 1/2 x 39 3/8 inches

[The Game of Love and Chance (Marivaux)], (Costume design from Rome’s Accademia di

Coppie (Couples), 1967

Belle Arti), 1950

Film with Talitha and Paul Getty,

Watercolor and ink on paper

Umberto and Laura Bignardi

14 x 9 inches

Black-and-white 16 mm film (silent)

Private collection

Duration: 6 min. 28 sec. Courtesy Galleria d’Arte Moderna e

Little Album (Teatro con Giardino di Venere),

Contemporanea, Torino

(Theater with the Garden of Venus), 1942–43 Colored pencil on paper

Il Teatro delle Mostre (Theater of Exhibitions),

6 5/16 x 12 5/8 inches

1968 Original poster

Senza titolo (Untitled) from Le Journal Parisien,

19 11/16 x 27 9/16 inches

1958–62 India ink, pastel and tempera on paper

Il ponte di barche a Fossalta (Bridge of Ships at

9 7/8 x 13 inches

Fossalta), 1970 Pencil and aluminum enamel on paper

Senza titolo (Untitled) from Le Journal Parisien,

39 3/8 x 27 1/2 inches

1958–62 India ink, pastel and tempera on paper

La grande casa e la piccola capanna (The Big

9 7/8 x 7 1/8 inches

House and the Little Hut), Notes for Spiriti di campagna (Countryside Spirits), 1970

Senza titolo (Untitled) from Le Journal Parisien,

India ink on paper

1958–62

9 7/16 x 6 5/16 inches

India ink, pastel and tempera on paper 9 7/8 x 7 1/8 inches

In barca nel giardino del lago (On a Boat in the Garden of the Lake), 1971 Pencil and aluminum enamel on paper 39 3/8 x 27 1/2 inches

169


Fata volante (Flying Fairy), Notes for Spiriti di

Goffredo Parise

campagna (Countryside Spirits), 1970

Ozio (Idleness), 1989

India ink on paper

Book with illustrations by Giosetta Fioroni

9 7/16 x 6 5/16 inches

9 1/4 x 6 11/16 inches

Gli spiriti di campagna, Spiritello di Fagarè

Andrea Zanzotto

in una valle da pesca (Countryside Spirits,

XIV Sonetto di veti e iridi (XIV Sonnet

Fagarè Spirit in a Fishing Valley), 1971

of Vetoes and Irises), 2001

India ink, watercolor and pencil on paper

Hand-made book with illustrations by

19 11/16 x 13 13/16 inches

Giosetta Fioroni Edizioni Eos, Rome

Gli spiriti di campagna, Casa di Salamandra

Thirty-three copies numbered with Arabic

(Countryside Spirits, House of the Salamander),

numerals, five with Roman numerals and two

1974

artist’s proofs

India ink, watercolor and pencil on paper

14 3/16 x 10 1/16 inches

19 11/16 x 13 13/16 inches Coeur, Cuore, Heart, 1980 Hand-made book (mixed media on paper) Five copies 9 x 4 11/16 inches Maison, Casa, House, 1980 Hand-made book (mixed media on paper) Five copies 9 x 4 11/16 inches Andrea Zanzotto Attraverso l’evento (Through the Event), 1988 Book of poems illustrated by Giosetta Fioroni 12 x 11 13/16 inches Mystic Luna Park, 1988 Edizioni Becco Giallo, Oderzo 85 copies 8 3/16 x 5 1/2 inches

170


CONTRIBUTORS

Claire Gilman is Curator at The Drawing Center. Romy Golan is professor of Art History at the Graduate Center and Lehman College of the City University of New York. She is the author of Modernity and Nostalgia: Art and Politics in France between the Wars and Muralnomad: the Paradox of Wall Painting, Europe 1927–1957 (both Yale University Press, 1995 and 2009). Her recent publications include “Flashbacks/ Eclipses in Italian Art of the 1960s” in Grey Room 49 (Fall 2012).


BOARD OF DIRECTORS

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Co-Chairs

Giosetta Fioroni: L’Argento is made possible in

Frances Beatty Adler

part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Eric Rudin

Major support is provided by Simone and

Jane Dresner Sadaka

Mirella Haggiag and the Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation. Additional funding is provided by

Treasurer

Sarah Peter, Lia Rumma, and Barbara Burgerhout

Stacey Goergen

Benazzo.

Secretary Dita Amory Brad Cloepfil Anita F. Contini Steven Holl Rhiannon Kubicka David Lang Merrill Mahan Iris Z. Marden Nancy Poses Pat Steir Barbara Toll Isabel Stainow Wilcox Candace Worth Emeritus Melva Bucksbaum Frances Dittmer Bruce W. Ferguson Michael Lynne George Negroponte Elizabeth Rohatyn Jeanne C. Thayer Executive Director Brett Littman


E D WA R D H A L L A M T U C K P U B L I C AT I O N P R O G R A M

This is number 104 of the Drawing Papers, a series of publications documenting The Drawing Center’s exhibitions and public programs and providing a forum for the study of drawing. Jonathan T.D. Neil Executive Editor Joanna Ahlberg Managing Editor Designed by Peter J. Ahlberg / AHL&CO Color Separations: Tucker Capparell This book is set in Adobe Garamond Pro and Berthold Akzidenz Grotesk. It was printed by JML Digital Printing in New York City.

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T H E D R AW I N G PA P E R S S E R I E S A L S O I N C L U D E S

Drawing Papers 103 Ignacio Uriarte: Line of Work Drawing Papers 102 Alexandre Singh: The Pledge Drawing Papers 101 José Antonio Suárez Londoño: The Yearbooks Drawing Papers 100 Guillermo Kuitca: Diarios Drawing Papers 99 Sean Scully: Change and Horizontals Drawing Papers 98 Drawing and its Double: Selections from the Istituto Nazionale per la Grafica Drawing Papers 97 Dr. Lakra Drawing Papers 96 Drawn from Photography Drawing Papers 95 Day Job Drawing Papers 94 Paul Rudolph: Lower Manhattan Expressway Drawing Papers 93 Claudia Wieser: Poems of the Right Angle Drawing Papers 92 Gerhard Richter: “Lines which do not exist” Drawing Papers 91 Dorothea Tanning: Early Designs for the Stage Drawing Papers 90 Leon Golub: Live & Die Like a Lion? Drawing Papers 89 Selections Spring 2010: Sea Marks Drawing Papers 88 Iannis Xenakis: Composer, Architect, Visionary Drawing Papers 87 Ree Morton: At the Still Point of the Turning World Drawing Papers 86 Unica Zurn: Dark Spring Drawing Papers 85 Sun Xun: Shock of Time Drawing Papers 84 Selections Spring 2009: Apparently Invisible Drawing Papers 83 M/M: Just Like an Ant Walking on the Edge of the Visible Drawing Papers 82 Matt Mullican: A Drawing Translates the Way of Thinking Drawing Papers 81 Greta Magnusson Grossman: Furniture and Lighting Drawing Papers 80 Kathleen Henderson: What if I Could Draw a Bird that Could Change the World? Drawing Papers 79 Rirkrit Tiravanija: Demonstration Drawings

T O O R D E R , A N D F O R A C O M P L E T E C ATA L O G O F PA S T E D I T I O N S , V I S I T D R AW I N G C E N T E R . O R G


THE D R AWI N G CENTER

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Essays by Claire Gilman Romy Golan

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$28.00 US

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Giosetta Fioroni: L'Argento  

The Drawing Center's Drawing Papers, Volume 104, featuring essays by Claire Gilman and Romy Golan.

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