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press release
Versione stampabile
Opening of the Galleria dell'Oca

via del Vantaggio, 45a/46 - 00186 Roma - 06 3612940

Date: Thursday,  November  23rd 2006

The Galleria dell'Oca stands in the former, historic rooms of La Nuova Pesa, the gallery of Alvaro Marchini directed by Antonello Trombadori. That place had been for us, children of the last war, a wonderful place, near the Academy of Beaux Arts and Bulla's lithographic workshop, a rare example of 'handicraft archeology'. At the Nuova Pesa we saw, during the Fifties and the Sixties, Picasso, Léger, Braque, Gris, artists that we had studied only on the rare illustrated books that circulated in our houses. This place had been for many years degraded and mortified and no one remembered its noble birth.
These rooms had suffered from the miserable architecture of the Fifties and time had not improved that abandoned space. The restoration had been a wager and we all hope that it will be a winner. This project had been thought of as a whole by Salvatore Dierna, and overseen in execution by Gerardo Scorrano. The space is minimal, fitted with a little furniture of Jean Nouvel and lit by Guzzini Lamps arranged by Corrado Terzi. The three big windows that face the street which tries to make the place bigger are the same as I could see four times a day in the early Sixties when I was going to work at the Gallery Attico in Piazza di Spagna. The sign-board will be the one created for me by Matta himself in 1980.
During the past year the Galleria dell'Oca celebrated forty years of activity in via della Mercede which recently has become exclusively a place for exhibitions and meetings. Now with the new address the gallery will once again face the market and after years of exhibition and contemporary art discussions will again open the commercial activity that was interrupted in 1997 in the historical space of via dell'Oca.
The new gallery will open with Jannis Kounellis. The exhibition will be a survey of his works, 18 iron cases, in 25 editions with differences, made by the artist in the lithographic workshop of Romolo and Rosalba Bulla. The first case was created at the beginning of the Seventies and the last one, the biggest made so far (106 x 73 cm) and the first based on a female subject, has been thought of purposely just for us. Kounellis has always worked on recovering the poetry of the myth, on the primary elements such as fire, and original languages such as dance and music, now he faces the other identity, the female.
In the space of via della Mercede the exhibition will follow with a selection of works on paper and the big installation Untitled, 1991 realised on the occasion of the exhibition Metafore, Kounellis and Paolini in comparison, with Guliano Briganti curator for that occasion for the Galleria dell'Oca.

JANNIS KOUNELLIS   Cases' retrospective

Venue: Via del Vantaggio, 45a/46 - 00186 Roma

Duration: from November 23th 2006

Open hours: Tuesday – Saturday 11:00 – 13:30, 14:30 – 20:00

Press-Release of Caterina Bonvicini

The exhibition
On the 23rd of November Galleria dell'oca will launch its new premises with an exhibition of Jannis Kounellis's works. An exceptional retrospective where the artist's work comprised between 1970 and 2006 is epitomized by nineteen iron cases released in twenty five copies, each of which can be considered a unique work, as Kounellis's pieces never imply repetition, with every item approached as an individual experience.
Kounellis's iron boxes are theatrical wings, vacuums to be filled in order to give substance to what is being said, the equivalent of a mouth or a door. And, seen as a whole, the nineteen boxes can be considered a path that runs sideways through the artist's work.
Within them, we find the notion of history seen, as Kounellis puts it, as "a way of re- inventing life and its components in a harmonious manner", a sense of drama, with its revolutions, its politics. Hence David's Marat juxtaposed to a butterfly, hence Stalin's face reassembled on a row of knifes, and an axe bearing the colours of the Italian flag.
We find charcoal, used by Kounellis as "a moral and aesthetic meter" arranged against a joyously free- form dripping background, a la Pollock, coalesced with chicken wire. Or smoke, which together with fire, is is a mythical element in the artist's imaginary.
We find everyday objects, dislodged from their ordinary context by the use of contradiction, and elevated to the role of an absolute: coffee beans on a sheet of paper or a pair of scissors that attain a dramatic allowance when paired to a red glass panel. Or those symbols, so present in Kounellis's work, that conjure up memories of the industrial revolution. A sewing machine arranged diagonally next to a jacket. The famous 'thirties train set, first seen in Chicago coiled around a column, is now balanced on a knife's blade. (Five trains over five knifes forming a dizzying sequence).
Then there are signs going back to the artist's works of the sixties (a photograph of horses originally showed at the Galleria dell' Attico in '69, only slightly shadowed by a jute sack filled with charcoal) together with the new work of 2006, like the box containing four men's shoes brimming with pieces of colored glass, or the box, especially devised for the Galleria dell' Oca in which a petticoat and a pair of stockings appear to be laying over an iron slab covered by a lithograph - the most intimate essence of femininity enclosed within the act of painting.

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