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December 12, 2015

Pablo Bronstein - Studies in mannerist decomposition

curated by Alberto Salvadori and Leonardo Bigazzi

12 December 2015 – 20 February 2016


Marino Marini Museum will inaugurate the solo show of artist Pablo Bronstein (1977) on Saturday 12 December with a new site-specific project for the Museum, curated by Alberto Salvadori and Leonardo Bigazzi. The exhibition, entitled Studies in mannerist decomposition, is the artist’s first solo show in an Italian institution.

In this project, Pablo Bronstein has focused on the re-elaboration of the stylistic and decorative elements of European architecture and theatre from the Renaissance onwards. Realised in the form of refined drawings, installations and videos, Bronstein creates a fascinating meta-history of architecture.


Bronstein presents a new body of work comprising drawings and models developed in reference to the Rucellai chapel by Leon Battista Alberti, which is adjacent to the museum. This Chapel, completed in 1467, is a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture, and designed by Alberti to emulate the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Utilising multiple styles and formats Bronstein creates a hypothetical posthumous history for Alberti’s monument, imagining it in the centuries after its construction, contaminated with Mannerist alterations, enlarged and augmented, and finally arriving at its somewhat debased existence in the exuberant decorative and theatrical world of the baroque period.

A series of models covered in highly elaborate digital prints,– Rucellai Sepulchre with weak Mannerist Amendments I - IV show the Alberti monument with the addition of decorative elements such as niches, columns, vases and other ornaments. The adaptations to the original chapel are more radical in the two larger structures entitled The Rucellai Sepulchre as the basis for large-scale Mannerist Construction I - II, which occupy the whole end part of the crypt in the Museum. Here, the decorative elements of the sepulchre are used repetitively in order to form large- scale construction reminiscent of palaces, apartment blocks and department stores. Bronstein’s Mannerist operation, as suggested by the exhibition title, identifies Alberti’s work as a near-perfect model, proceeds to implement a progressive and personal deconstruction and, by altering the style and the harmonious proportions, generates hybrid and anachronistic structures.

In striking contrast with the contemporary aesthetic of the 3D prints, the artist’s drawings, in their magnificent antique frames, are executed with a refined technique. In the drawing, Festivities in Piazza San Firenze, the Rucellai chapel is represented as a popular icon. Transformed into a float or theatre wagon, it is paraded through the streets of Florence with other movable festival devices, becoming a public theatre spectacle and losing all trace of the original context for which it was commissioned. In the large drawing, 17th Century Funerary Monument incorporating remnants of a Renaissance Sepulchre, the artist imagines instead that the Rucellai sepulchre has been dismantled and transported to Rome where it will be incorporated in a great funeral monument belonging to another family. The new monument, built in baroque style, is in contrast with all the stylistic canons of harmony and the geometric rigour of Alberti’s architecture. A further series of smaller drawings, Mannerist Assemblage with fragments from an Alberti structure, continues this theme, and imagines the final humiliation of Alberti’s masterpiece, as a series of dismembered fragments put to use as freakish garden ornaments.


View the gallery


A large section of the exhibition will also be dedicated to the artist’s work in recent years. Included will be his videos Origin of Sprezzatura (2010) in which he refers to the term coined in the 16th century by Baldassarre Castiglione to indicate the attitude of the courtier, and Sepulchre with Dancer (2012) which emblemizes the body’s relationship with ornamental funerary sculpture. An entire room is dedicated to a selection of his drawings executed between 2006 and 2014 exploring further architectural themes, on loan from important private collections in Italy.


The exhibition has been produced with the support of OAC Ente Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze, Galleria Franco Noero (Turin) and Herald St. (London). Thanks also to Golden View Open Bar for its support.


Pablo Bronstein was born in 1977 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He lives and works in London. His artistic technique is based in particular on drawing but also includes performance, video and installations.

His recent personal shows include: The Grand Tour: Pablo Bronstein and the Treasures of Chatsworth, Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham, 2015; We live in Mannerist times, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 2015; Pablo Bronstein: Enlightenment Discourse on The Origins of Architecture, REDCAT, Los Angeles, 2014; A is Building, B is Architecture, Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva, 2013; Tate Live: Performance Room Commission, Tate Modern, London, 2012, Sketches for Regency Living, ICA, London, UK, 2011, Pablo Bronstein at the Met, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2009.

Among his latest collective shows: SUPER SUPERSTUDIO, PAC - Padiglione d'Arte Contemporanea, Milan, 2015; TATE: Performance Room screening - DO DISTURB, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2015; History is Now: 7 Artists Take on Britain, Hayward Gallery, London, 2015; L’Année dernière à Marienbad, Kunsthalle Bremen, Bremen, 2015.