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Leonardo da Vinci Archivi - Linda Bajàre

2019 – What a year!?

Without a doubt, 2019 will be remembered as a year of transition.

A year full of political and financial uncertainties which consequently also reflected on the art market.

Although the art world was confident, not anticipating major changes in Europe’s so-called “big apple” – London – Brexit led to the closure of some galleries and the opening of their headquarters from London to Paris, to name some of them: – White Cube, David Zwirner, Pace Gallery.

The year was enriched by the 58th Venice Biennale curated by Ralph Rugoff “May You Live in Interesting Times” which – as the title suggests – proved to be a true reflection of the climate of great changes we are experiencing, with works focused on current themes concerning international politics, environmental emergency and social problems such as the issue of migrants, the feminist movement, racial and gender equality.

On the occasion of the Biennale, the city’s foundations and museums have prepared exceptional exhibitions such as the retrospective on Jannis Kounellis at the Prada Foundation, Arshile Gorky at Ca’ Pesaro, the monograph on Georg Baselitz at the Academy Galleries, Luc Tuymans at Palazzo Grassi, Pino Pascali at Palazzo Cavanis and Alberto Burri at the Cini Foundation.

With a witty appearance the street artist Banksy, not officially invited to exhibit but also inevitable figure that this year has caused a lot of talk about himself, was also noted.

In addition to this performance followed by a mural in the Dorsoduro district, Banksy was able to anticipate and ride the Brexit wave with the work “Devolved Parliament“, strategically put up for sale by Sotheby’s on the occasion of the last London auctions prior to the exit of the Great Britain from the EU, marking the record for the artist with 11.1 million euros.

Always on time on occasions, this time anticipating Christmas, the artist offers his version of Santa Claus on a wall in Birmingham, rendering the tragic beauty of the holidays into flesh and blood.

Instead, Maurizio Cattelan, on the occasion of Art Basel Miami – after 15 years of absence – presented his new sculpture “Comedian“.

The edible banana attached to the wall with adhesive tape and priced at 120,000-150,000 $, was a winning strategic move to get the whole world talking about it, and it is clear that the old concept of the value we attribute to things is reconfirmed to be still very much popular.

Cattelan had leapt to the headlines already in September when his work “America“, a massive gold toilet, was stolen during his recent solo show at Blenheim Palace, Oxford.

2019 was a year characterized by very important retrospectives dedicated to great artists, such as Olafur Eliasson at the Tate Modern in London, Antony Gormley at the Royal Academy, Mario Merz and Cerith Wyn Evans at the Hangar Bicocca in Milan, the aforementioned Maurizio Cattelan at Blenheim Palace in Oxford, Lucio Fontana at the Metropolitan Museum in New York and many others.

The result of 4 years of work, with almost 80 works on display, I would say that the exhibition of the year was “The Young Picasso – Blue and Pink Periods” at the Fondation Beyeler in Basel, where even the prestigious monograph on Rudolf Stingel had a huge feedback.

In international auctions the climate of uncertainty was recorded in the appearance of a smaller number of works valued above 20 million dollars, perhaps a symptom of a period of little confidence.

Despite this the general results were quite positive again this year, so much so that we have witnessed excellent records, including Jeff Koons who has reconfirmed himself as the most paid living artist in the world with the “Rabbit“, a sculpture of 1986, sold at auction in May by Christie’s New York for 91.1 million dollars.

It was a year of great changes for the historic Sotheby’s auction house – founded in 1744 – which passed into private hands following the sale last June: entrepreneur and collector Patrick Drahi bought the giant of the sector for 3, 7 billion dollars.

The main international trade fairs have registered excellent sales and the recently concluded Art Basel Miami, featuring a positive climate, seems to be no less so.

Similar to it, Frieze London has also enjoyed excellent feedback from the public and buyers, so much so that in the climate of uncertainty many have called it a bubble of happiness.

Also Fiac in Paris saw a great success both in sales and in public, a result obtained also thanks to the first benefits of the shift of interests.

The Turner Prize – established in 1984 – was for the first time assigned to all four finalists, Lawrence Abu Hamdam, Helen Cammock, Oscar Murillo and Tai Shani.

The innovative proposal came precisely from the artists through a letter to the jury explaining that at such a difficult time, their choice to present themselves as a collective is a symbolic gesture in the name of sharing and solidarity, in art as in society.

Technology, including new startups, art created by artificial intelligences or Cryptoart – a market that involves only digital works of art to be purchased with digital currency is also playing an increasingly important role in the art world.

We are in the era of interactive images and many museums are moving to accommodate new methods of using and learning. In Italy, the M9 in Mestre and the MAV in Ercolano are an example, the new generation museums that use advanced technologies and immersive installations.

The desire to live a 360° cultural experience is increasingly leading to the creation of virtual tours in many cities of art, the most recent promoted in Milan on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci.

In recent years, online art sales have shown considerable growth (in double figures) and have produced revenues of about $ 6 billion, a sign that the art market – very traditional in structure and dynamics – is opening up more and more to new languages.

I imagine that the future of art will reserve us many beautiful surprises and also in 2020 there will be fun!

 

“The shades of the art rainbow are endless: choose your favorite!”

Upcoming

All the autumn exhibitions not to be missed!

 

Balthus

Fondation Beyeler, Basel

September 2 – January 1, 2019

 

The exhibition, in collaboration with the artist’s family and curated by Raphael Bouvier and Michiko Kono, presents fifty of the most significant works of the artist’s career and is the first major retrospective dedicated to Balthus in German-speaking Switzerland.

The artist’s bond with these places has always been strong, both for his marriage to the Swiss aristocrat Antonietta de Watteville and for the childhood spent between Bern and Geneva.

Balthus, pseudonym of Balthasar Klossowski de Rola, was born in Paris to an art critic father and painter mother, thanks to his parents he had the opportunity to travel and get closer to the world of art from an early age.

It will be the first trip to Italy in 1926 to bring him closer to the Tuscan Renaissance masters, in particular to Piero della Francesca, whom he considered to be his mentor.

Taking the compositional system from the great painters of the past, then expertly mixing it with the other Italian artistic currents, such as Magic Realism and Metaphysics: it is from this particular combination that the enigmatic static nature characteristic of his works is born, which can combine daily life and mystery, dream and reality.

Balthus has been able to revolutionize the figurative tradition in open opposition to the avant-garde currents of the time, in a historical period that featured painters such as Picasso and Matisse.

Little understood by his contemporaries, after the thirties his iconography was oriented towards the representation of nudes characterized by an almost sculptural immobility; among these his main subjects are young children in the toilet that also earned him pornography charges.

The delicacy of the nudes, caught in moments of daily intimacy and anything but mischievous, clearly expresses Balthus’s intent to tell the psychological aspect of the subjects and to cite the classical masters.

The bond with Italy is expected to strengthen from 1961, when the artist is appointed director of the Academy of France in Rome, an assignment that will last 17 years during which Balthus will create several works set in the eternal city.

The great retrospective that will end in Basel on January 1, 2019, will move to Madrid at the National Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum.

Balthus, Thérèse, 1938

Oil on cardboard mounted on wood

100.3 x 81.3 cm

 

Renzo Piano

The Art of Making Buildings

Royal Academy of Arts, London

September 15 – January 20, 2019

 

United by a sense of lightness thanks to the use of large windows, a mixture of invention and tradition, function and context, Renzo Piano’s buildings are now part of the public imagination.

His projects have changed the skyline of metropolises all over the world through futuristic and immediately recognizable lines, the result of a work of constant research and experimentation with materials and architectural typologies.

The exhibition, designed and curated in close collaboration with the same Plan, traces the architect’s career from the Genoese heritage of the construction builder father to the studies carried out in Florence and Milan, passing through international experiences and worldwide acclaim alongside his friend and collaborator Richard Rogers.

Focused on 16 key projects, the exhibition explores the architect’s modus operandi, highlighting the wise use of shapes, materials and engineering to materialise elegant and pioneering ideas.

The Centre George Pompidou in Paris, a project of 1971 that brought him worldwide fame, the London Shard, and the New York Times headquarters in the Big Apple stand out among the most famous projects designed by Piano.

On display there will be not only photographs and projects but also many hand drawings in which you can follow the flow of ideas and inspirations that led to the creation of futuristic buildings that have become icons and symbols of absolute modernity.

In addition to the projects that made him crown “archistar”, the lesser known ones dating back to the 1970s, the beginning of the career of the well-known Genoese architect, will also be visible.

At the centre of the exhibition is the imaginary “Island“, a sculptural installation specially designed for the monograph of the Royal Academy that brings together almost 100 projects that recount Renzo Piano’s 30 years of career.

The Shard, also called London Bridge Tower

London, 2013-2016.

 

Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci

Abu Dhabi Louvre

September 18

 

Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi will be finally exhibited at the Louvre in Abu Dhabi, after being purchased for the record of $ 450 million by the United Arab Emirates Department of Culture and Tourism in November 2017 during the Christie’s auction in New York.

Just one week after the museum’s inauguration, the purchase has been an excellent marketing operation and has further clarified the economic power of the Emirates

However, this is a temporary exhibition, because the work will return to the Louvre in Paris on the occasion of the exhibition that will take place from 24 October 2019 until 24 February 2020 to celebrate the anniversary of the death – 500 years in May 2019 – of the Tuscan master.

The oil on board representing Christ blessing has long been considered to come from Leonardo’s workshop, and over time the attributions by international experts, who have long debated on the authorship of the work, have been very controversial.

Painted between 1490 and around 1515, it was finally recognized as Leonardo’s work only in 2011 on the occasion of the exhibition at the National Gallery in London.

The Salvator Mundi promises to be the centrepiece of the Abu Dhabi collection and represents an excellent piece to counterbalance the Mona Lisa, exhibited in the Parisian museum of the same name.

The collaboration between the two Louvres foresees that the Abu Dhabi museum can use the name – which has become almost a brand – for about 30 years.

The terms of the agreements provide that France undertakes to guarantee a constant loan of works through the Agence France-Muséums, an institution that brings together the 13 major French museums involved in the partnership with Abu Dhabi. These thirteen museums will also ensure the rotation of four exhibitions per year for 15 years at the Arab facility.

France also has the obligation of bringing curators, experts and highly qualified figures who will train the staff to the Louvre in Abu Dhabi: in this way the museum will have time to build its own permanent collection and to manage itself within a few years.

Leonardo da Vinci, Salvator Mundi, around 1490-1515.

Oil on wallnut

66 x 46 cm

 

The World on Paper

New Cultural Headquarters of the Deutsche Bank, Berlin.

Opening September 27th.

 

On September 27, the new cultural headquarters of the Deutsche Bank will open in Berlin under the direction of Svenja von Reichenbach, formerly responsible for exhibitions at the Berlin office and director of the Deutsche Bank KunstHalle since 2013.

The Centre is spread over a total area of 3,000 square metres occupying the building renamed “Palais Populaire” and the spaces adjacent to it.

In the artistic field, the German bank is known for a collection focused on photography and works on paper among the most important in the world, but the cultural centre of Berlin will host events of all kinds including exhibitions, concerts and sports.

The exhibition that inaugurates the spaces, “The World on Paper” curated by Friedhelm Hütte, sees protagonists precisely with the works of the Deutsche Bank collection, but information about it is once again very scarce, probably to intrigue the public by focusing on the surprise effect.

Exterior view of the Palais Populaire, Berlin

 

Real Bodies: discover the human body

Spazio Ventura XV, Milan

October 6 – January 31, 2019

 

The exhibition on human anatomy returns to Milan two years after the first exhibition held at the Fabbrica del Vapore, where it had reached a record attendance with 280 thousand visitors, certainly thanks to the intriguing and attracting particularity of the “objects” on display.

The 500 artifacts preserved by plastination are organs of men and women who voluntarily decided to donate their post mortem body in the name of science.

This year, on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci, a section of the exhibition will be dedicated to the Tuscan master, undisputed pioneer of forensic medicine and a great scholar of human body.

The thirty installations of human artefacts will reproduce Leonardo da Vinci’s anatomical sketches contained in the Windsor code in a direct comparison between his studies and reality.

Another novelty compared to the previous edition is the presence of animal organs, including the heart of a humpback whale, the largest heart muscle on Earth that measures 1-meter-wide and is capable of pumping 220 litres of blood.

The exhibition, through the study of the human body, aims to make known the progress of biomechanics and reconstructive surgery, to sensitize people on the fight against addictions and to facilitate disease prevention. The high scientific and educational value makes the exhibition an unmissable appointment for school children and curious people in general.

Leonardo da Vinci, Windsor codex, detail of a drawing

1478-1518

 

Carte Blanche to Tomás Saraceno

On Air

Palais de Tokyo, Paris

October 17 – January 6, 2019

 

Tomás Saraceno will be the protagonist of the fourth edition of the “Cartes Blanches” series, monumental exhibitions cyclically entrusted to different artists that started in 2013 with Philippe Parreno, then continued in 2016 with Tino Sehgal and with Camille Henrot in 2017.

On Air” promises to be the largest project ever created by the artist, whose research develops and concretizes in the mixture of architecture, art science and philosophy.

The exhibition brings together a selection of his main works and new productions that will transform the 13,000 square metres of the Palais de Tokyo into a truly unique experience.

By combining the smaller and larger stairs, the exhibition will seek to reveal the connection between a spider web, a particle of dust, an architecture and the redistribution of the atmosphere through the Aerocene, an interdisciplinary artistic project that proposes a collective rethinking of the way men inhabit the world.

Aerocene imagines the creation of a new infrastructure that redefines the international right to mobility, reviewing the freedom of movement between countries and reminding us that air is a precious asset that belongs to all living beings.

The exhibition space of the Palais de Tokyo thus becomes a huge stage that shows the richness and complexity of everything that makes up the universe, transporting us to a place where the microscopic and the cosmic coexist, transcending human perception to explore the world from different points of view.

Flanked by a team of international professionals that sees the participation of architects, researchers and astrophysicists from all over the world, Tomás Saraceno invites us to rethink our way of experiencing the planet.

Tomás Saraceno, detail of a work, 2017

 

Picasso Metamorphosis

Palazzo Reale, Milan

October 18 – February 17, 2019

 

The European exhibition promoted by the Musée Picasso in Paris also stops in Milan and presents 200 works that include both works by Picasso and pieces of ancient art from important international museum institutions.

The focus of the exhibition is the relationship between the painter and the myth of antiquity, a source of inspiration highlighted by the many references that Picasso has included in his works during his artistic career: therefore, the mythological themes emerge thanks to a direct comparison between pieces of ancient art and master’s works.

The exhibition is part of a series of events dedicated by the Royal Palace to the Spanish painter, which began in 1953 with the exhibition of Guernica in the Sala delle Cariatidi and ended with the large monographic exhibition of 2012.

Pablo Picasso, Women at the spring, 1921

Paris, Musée de l’Orangerie

Oil on canvas

50 x 52 cm

 

Mario Merz

Igloos

Hangar Bicocca, Milan

October 24 – February 24

 

The exhibition curated by Vicente Todolí and created in collaboration with the Merz Foundation, offers the unique opportunity to be able to admire for the first time 30 igloos from private collections and museums, created by the artist between 1968 and 2003.

The exhibition opens with 1987’s “La Goccia d’Acqua”, which with its 12 meters in diameter is the largest igloo created by Merz for an internal exhibition space, on the occasion of the solo exhibition at the Musée d’Art Contemporain in Bordeaux .

In the space of the Navate, with an area of 5,500mq, the exhibition itinerary then proceeds in chronological order starting with the igloos created in the sixties.

Thanks to this substantial body of works, the exhibition takes us through the most innovative aspects and components of Merz, very tied to the particular use of both natural and industrial materials and attentive to the dialogue between natural space and architecture.

A key figure in Arte Povera, Mario Merz was among the first in Italy to use the artistic installation as an artistic means of expression, inserting neon and everyday objects on the canvas. In addition to these, he has often also used some elements belonging to the scientific field, such as the Fibonacci sequence.

It is from 1968 that he introduces a theme that will remain one of the most representative of his research: the igloo.

This particular type of home becomes a metaphor for the relationships between physical space and conceptual space, between individual and community, a place of refuge and ephemeral isolation from external reality.

Igloos are often created through metal structures covered with various elements, from clay to glass, from stone to jute.

Since the 1980s there has been an evolution in the structure of the igloos, which become more complex, characterized by intersecting lines and the addition of neon writing.

The symbolic value of these delicate installations sometimes assumes even political meanings, thus opening up to contemporary debates.

Mario Merz, The Drop of Water, 1987

Diameter: 12 meters

 

The shades of the rainbow of art are infinite: choose your favourite!