Tornabuoni Art Paris presents largest international survey of multi-faceted artist Renato Mambor

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Tornabuoni Art Paris presents largest international survey of multi-faceted artist Renato Mambor
Renato Mambor, I protettori, 2007, mixed media on canvas on wood panel, 100 x 150 cm., 39,37 x 59,05 in. © Tornabuoni Art.

PARIS.- From 29 January - 22 February, Tornabuoni Art Paris will stage the most comprehensive survey of Renato Mambor ever to be held outside of Italy. Continuing its programme of presenting twentieth-century and contemporary Italian artists to the international public, Tornabuoni Art will highlight the work of this important and multi-faceted figure of the Italian art movement known as the School of Piazza del Popolo, in collaboration with the Archivio Mambor and Federico Sardella, the Italian art critic and writer on the artists of this period. The show will gather 30 artworks from the 1960s to 2013, surveying Mambor’s entire career.

Featuring a selection of paintings, an installation and the screening of the film ‘Mambor’ by Gianna Mazzini, the exhibition traces the wide-ranging work of this significant artist, whose work connects to many currents in painting and performance art, yet who has remained less well-known internationally. This show is one of the first retrospectives since the artist passed away in 2014. The last major exhibition of his work was held at the Palazzo Te in Mantua in 2014.

Mambor was originally part of the Roman School of Piazza del Popolo, which during the early 1960s adopted a more figurative, Pop-inspired approach in reaction against the abstraction of the Art Informel of the 1950s. His fellow artists included Mario Schifano, Franco Angeli, Tano Festa, Pino Pascali, Mario Ceroli and Jannis Kounellis, among others. Mambor played a major role in the return to a form of figuration, also becoming a celebrated performer, theatre director and stage designer.

This show focuses on the artist’s creative process in a variety of media – from fine art to performance – bringing together artworks and archival materials and highlighting the artist’s interest in the body and its representation and perception.

His important ‘Osservatore’ series, presents an individual devoted to the act of observation and exemplifies the symbiotic relationship between performance and art in Mambor’s work. While the artist originally removed himself from his paintings, in more recent years he introduced his own figure into his work. Mambor sought not simply to look at himself, but to acknowledge his role as an artist and protagonist in his own work. He appears in silhouette and profile in his paintings, sculptures and installations in order to focus on the act of observing, rather than the individual character.

Also featured in the Tornabuoni Art exhibition is the large installation Fili, which consists of multi-colour thread spools with a life-sized sculptural figure in the foreground. Cut to Mambor’s profile, the figure holds the a skein of yarn, as it highlights the artist’s idea that separation is an illusion and everything is connected, as he explained in 2012:

There is nothing and no one that is truly separate from the rest, for life itself becomes manifest in the relationship... between the painter and the act of creating the painting, between the painting and the viewer... These threads in art are what bind us to our fellow travellers, to contemporary history, to the past, to the various forms of art, even to those we do not share. Even a missed beat is part of the heart.

The exhibition is accompanied by an original catalogue edited by art critic Federico Sardella in collaboration with the Archivio Mambor.

Renato Mambor was born in Rome in 1936. A painter, writer, photographer, theatre director and actor, his varied experiences make him a particularly complex personality and a wide-ranging artist.

He was a member of what was historically called the School of Piazza del Popolo, alongside Mario Schifano, Pino Pascali, Mario Ceroli and Jannis Kounellis. This group of post-war artists in Rome, who came of age in the early 1960s, returned to a figurative lexicon following the abstraction of Art Informel. They are commonly known as Italian Pop artists, although their work shared no common style or medium beyond an interest in mass media and popular culture.

Mambor’s work initially centered around the design of anonymous figures, through the use of static silhouettes, road signs, photographic montages and printing. His first solo exhibition was held at the gallery Appia Antica in Rome in 1959. In 1960, he won an ‘encouragement’ prize awarded by the Gallery of Modern Art in Rome, which led him to exhibit at La Tartaruga gallery in Rome, an important gallery for post-war Italian art.

Alongside his activity as a painter, Mambor devoted himself to the cinema and appeared notably in ‘La Dolce Vita’ by Federico Fellini, before collaborating with, among others, Ugo Tognazzi, Totò and Chet Baker on films. In 1975 he directed a theatre troupe ‘Gruppo Trousse’, whose name comes from a metal sculpture made by the artist. For Mambor, his multi-faceted artistic interests were all part of his practice as a painter, which drove his artistic vision throughout his career, as he summarized: "I want to do everything, dance, sing, write, play, do cinema, theater, poetry, I want to express myself by all means, but I want to do it as a painter, because to paint is not a way of doing things but a way of being."

In 1985 he exhibited his works at the Castello di Rivoli Museum in Turin, and in 1989 that he fully returned to painting, after leaving it aside for a decade. He then participated in many exhibitions, including the Milan Triennale in 2004 or the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011.

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