Retrospective: Vettor Pisani, a new exhibition in Naples, by Ellen Miller

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Contemporary art in Italy is different from elsewhere around the world. Generally anything created post-Renaissance is considered modern, creating confusion when tourists visit the “modern” art galleries. For example, in Palazzo Pitti, the modern art galleries contain many pre-Impressionist and Impressionist time period paintings. Tourists expecting to see something painted by Mondrian are in for a surprise. Italian contemporary painting is just as significant to the Italian culture, however, as Andy Warhol is for Americans. A new exhibition in Naples celebrates the life of one such artist.

In December an ode to one of Italy’s most important contemporary artists kicked off in Naples, celebrating the life and work of Vettor Pisani, who died in 2011. It is the first retrospective of his life and work and contains a wide variety of his works in all different mediums. Pisani emerged in the 1970s as one of the most important representatives of visual research. He was also an important visionary author about his generation. His work includes aspects of art, literature, theater, music, architecture, philosophy, poetry and science. In a way, he hearkens back to Italy’s artistic past of the Renaissance by redefining the artists as more than a singular figure.

Born in Bari, Pisani abandoned architectural studies in Naples to study Rosicrucianism, an occult organization. When he began to study art, he first completed conceptual analyses of works by Marcel Duchamp and Robert Motherwell. Even after he won an award and continued his study of art, his interest in the occult continued.

Pisani’s drawings, collages and paintings will be on display, as well as a variety of his other work in the most comprehensive Pisani exhibit ever. Site-specific installations will be a part of the show as well as his work in photographs and mixed media. Accompanying the exhibition will be a variety of documentary information about Pisani that will contextualize his works. Held at the Madre museum in Naples, the exhibition is a must-see for those passionate about more modern Italian art history. The exhibition runs through March 24, 2014.

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