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Casoli De Luca presents exhibition exploring the allure and meaning of gold in Italian art
Familiare del Boccati, Madonna and Child, ca. 1460-1480. Oil and tempera on panel, 63,5 x 44,5 cm | 25 x 17,5 in. Photo: Daniele Molajoli. Courtesy: Casoli De Luca.

NEW YORK, NY.- An exhibition examining the enduring role and power of gold in Italian art, featuring the work of more than 20 artists ranging from the 14th to the 21st centuries, is being presented by Casoli De Luca at 8 East 63rd Street in New York. On view from October 25 to November 27, 2019, ORO d’ITALIA explores why gold has been such a compelling medium for artists through time, because of its malleability, reflectivity, and color, as well as its inherent value and symbolic meaning. The works range in time and content from Renaissance gold-ground panel religious paintings to satirical uses in contemporary art, and with a special focus on the seemingly oxymoronic use of gold by Arte Povera artists.

“We wanted to trace a narrative of Italian artistic identity through gold because of its timeless allure to artists and audiences,” stated gallery co-founder Sergio Casoli. “Sometimes sacred and sometimes irreverent, serving as a celestial background or a decadent highlight, gold is always beautiful and always arresting. It is no wonder that this material is so pervasive throughout the history of Italian art.”

ORO d’ITALIA, presented in collaboration with Studio Geuna, includes paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and mixed media works utilizing this precious metal. The show begins with a few works by Florentine masters of the 14th century and continues to Futurists, like Giacomo Balla. The core of the exhibition is a rich overview of post-war Italian art, with works by Carla Accardi, Alberto Burri, Luciano Fabro, Lucio Fontana, Fausto Melotti, Giuseppe Penone, and Michelangelo Pistoletto.

“We are particularly intrigued with the use of gold in post-war art, especially Arte Povera, which marked a seismic shift in Italian art,” stated gallery co-founder Mattia De Luca. “Tracing the artistic alchemy of gold from the earliest works, in which it conjures up sacred space, to its recombinant use by contemporary artists, reveals that its role in art is as malleable as the element itself.”

Installed in an intimately scaled 1878 townhouse, the exhibition includes seminal works drawn from private collections and loans from museums. Highlights include:

• Giacomo Balla’s Forma Rumore (1913-14) is one of the artist’s only works transposed on gold paper and one of the first examples of Futurist experimentation in which sounds are rendered visually. It encapsulates Balla’s interest in observing urban reality and motion.

• Lucio Fontana’s Concetto Spaziale (1960-61) is a rare example of high experimentation in his work. The famous cut at the center of the canvas, single and thoughtful, interrupts a dense surface of golden impasto, making the physical presence of the artist in the painting still well observable today.

• Michelangelo Pistoletto’s Autoritratto oro (1960) captures a moment of transition in his artistic trajectory, utilizing traditional artistic techniques but anticipating his most well-regarded works of figures on mirrored surfaces, which began the following year. The image of the artist placed on a gold background is the playful counterpart to the 14th century paintings in which the gold ground indicates a sacred inclination.

• Fausto Melotti’s Il viaggio della Luna (1974) is a key example of the artist’s distinct visual language. The aerial sculpture depicts the lunar cycle in a linear narrative, as delicate and elegant as a musical score.

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