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MASSIMO BARTOLINI

Curated by Alberto Salvadori

11 January - 8 March 2015

opening Saturday 10 January 2015, at 7:00 pm


The Museo Marino Marini is inaugurating its 2015 program on Saturday, January 10, with a solo exhibition of Massimo Bartolini curated by Alberto Salvadori. The Tuscan artist has elaborated a series of works whose meeting point and source of reflection can be found in Marino Marini and Leon Battista Alberti. The exhibition, as Bartolini himself declares, takes place in their presence, generating new works and bringing to the museum testimony of the artist’s development and his research on sculpture over the years.


The exhibition opens in the Rucellai Chapel with Revolutionary Monk, the image of a Burmese monk in the Bodhisattva position, that is, embracing both the religious and the secular. The latter is seen as a condition of active presence in the social dimension, comparable to the activity of Alberti, one of the greatest Renaissance intellectuals, who modernized the style of antiquity, rendering the classical contemporary. Alberti created works expressing a new concept of the relationship between art and society, in a hieratic manifestation of equilibrium between the thought of Antiquity and that of the Renaissance. The monk, with his whirling motion, interrupts but does not disturb the balance between these two elements, instilling new energy into a closed system such as that of Alberti’s chapel.


Another work, this time a connection, is Airplane, which plays on the identity of formal language and matter. The work consists of a base of statuary marble whose upper face bears a geometric bas-relief representing an unfolded paper airplane, an image that emphasizes the precious nature of the material, in dialogue with the inlay work decorating the tomb.


On the evening of the show, again in the Rucellai Chapel, a representative of the museum will wear My Fifth Homage, consisting of two precious gold earrings from the “Omaggi” [Homage] series. The earrings, gold castings of wax earplugs used by the artist himself, refer to the silence produced by the chapel and to the mathematical abstraction that this space defines.


View the gallery


On the lower floor of the Museum is a work proposing another way of making sculpture, with the assistance of two great artists such as Marini and Constable. Utilizing the new technologies applied in architecture, a 3D scan of Marini’s statue Il Giocoliere [The Juggler] has been made. This is also the title of Bartolini’s work, in which the “clouds” of coordinates have been fixed by printing them on paper in the form of 6 numbers for each point acquried, for a total of 77 sq.m. of 4-point numbers. The group of numerical coordinates, called in slang “numbers clouds”, has been superimposed on the works  "Studies of clouds by Constable". Numbers Clouds over Studies of Clouds. The print-out of this superimposition appears on 11 sheets, 75x1000 cm, which will be installed like posters on the front and back of a great wall erected at the centre of the crypt in the Museum. Once again the artist aims to compare the complexity that lies behind easy reproducibility with the unreproducible immediacy of the gesture, by interrupting the process of replication midway (the scan will never become a physical replica of the statue). “Reproducibility was at first only the fear of loss, a loss that presides over what is for manual skill one of its greatest values: changeability”.


Both concealed and introduced by the wall of the Juggler is another reflection on sculpture, this time in the form of action: two people alternatively appropriate and read a text that is fundamental for the history of 20th-century art, Scultura lingua morta [Sculpture, a dead language] by Arturo Martini, the great Italian artist to whom Marino Marini is much indebted, and whom he succeeded to the chair of sculpture at Monza. The two people who read the same book, one aloud, the other in silence, confront us with the dual register of invective on the one hand and interior analysis on the other, the central theme of the text.


The action takes place against the background of an audio work transmitted in the crypt, called Petites esquisses d' arbres, a paraphrase of the title of a series of sonatas for piano called Petites Esquisses d' Oiseux de Olivier Messian. The artist has recorded the sound of the wind in the trees in his studio and his home - trees that have appeared in numerous drawings since 1995. To the wind of each tree, a note has then been assigned, superimposed on the notes and intervals of the three passages of Messiaen’s sonata for piano, which occasionally echoes in the distance: “I wanted to make a drawing in another way, to think that the trees are echoing the song of the birds through the bridge of Messiaen, and that the wind is harmony”.


The exhibition has been organized by the Museo Marino Marini di Firenze with the support of the Regione Toscana, OAC Ente Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze. We would like to thank the Galleria Massimo De Carlo, Milan\London for its indispensable collaboration.



ph dario lasagni