Francesco Vezzoli installs eight of his works in the archaeological spaces of the Fondazione Brescia Musei

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Francesco Vezzoli installs eight of his works in the archaeological spaces of the Fondazione Brescia Musei
Francesco Vezzoli, God is a Woman (after Constantin Brâncuşi), 2019, foto © Alessandra Chemollo, Fondazione Brescia Musei. Courtesy Tommaso Calabro Galleria d’Arte, Milano.

BRESCIA.- The Fondazione Brescia Musei is presenting Palcoscenici Archeologici. Interventi curatorali di Francesco Vezzoli [Archaeological Stages. Curatorial Interventions by Francesco Vezzoli], an original site-specific exhibition project that follows the project thread of exhibitions conceived by the Fondazione Brescia Musei, chaired by Francesca Bazoli and directed by Stefano Karadjov, combining its own major historical and archaeological heritage with the most interesting voices of contemporary art.

Palcoscenici Archeologici sees Francesco Vezzoli (Brescia, 1971), one of the Italian authors who is best known and most appreciated on the international panorama, as protagonist in the double guise of artist and curator of an exhibition itinerary in which eight of his works are installed in the evocative archaeological spaces of the Fondazione Brescia Musei.

The initiative is part of the programme of celebrations for the return to the city of Brescia of the Vittoria Alata, the Roman bronze that, after restoration at the Opificio delle Pietre Dure in Florence, and now placed back in her ancient position in the Capitolium of the Archaeological Park of Roman Brescia, is now spreading her wings wide enough to touch the contemporary world.

The project participated in and won the competition run by the Italian Council (7th Edition, 2019), a programme of promotion of contemporary Italian art worldwide by the Directorate-General for Contemporary Creativity of the Ministry of Culture, thanks to which the work Nike Metafisica (2019) by Francesco Vezzoli will take its place in the collections of the Municipality of Brescia managed by the Fondazione Brescia Musei. Palcoscenici Archeologici received the award for the major quality of its conception and for its capacity to make contemporary art resound with archaeology and ancient art in a cohesive and harmonious way.

Francesco Vezzoli’s curatorial interventions wind their way through Brixia. Archaeological Park of Roman Brescia, where Vittoria Alata is located, and continue into the Republican Shrine, onto the terrace of the Capitolium, into the first and second cell, but also into the Roman Theatre, to then go into the Museum Complex of Santa Giulia, more specifically the chapel of Sant'Obizio in the Basilica of San Salvatore, into the Domus of the Ortaglia and along the Roman section of the museum. In each of these stages, the layout – curated by Filippo Bisagni – envisages the presence of a recent sculpture by Vezzoli that will thus enter into a dialogue with the city’s main Roman and Longobard remanants. An exhibition route that will physically take visitors in chronological order through a thousand years of the history of art and architecture.

An eclectic artist, capable of creating a dialogue between the imaginary world of today and sophisticated historical artistic references, Vezzoli his always addressed his poetics at ancient art, connecting it to the past and its icons. His practice winds its way among various languages, expressions of more or less remote past time in the history of humanity, and turns it into an interplay of references and mixtures from high and low culture, from classical culture, solemn, eternal, to pop culture, a media-based, fleeting meteor.

For the first time the artist displays his sculptures – truly ancient and then remodelled, or else directly inspired by antiquity – inside a space that is not contemporary, but it too historical, in some way reconnecting the works with their original archaeological context. An operation of this type, unique and ambitious, can only be put into practice in a city such as Brescia, the Roman archaeological pole of Northern Italy.

Palcoscenici Archeologici envisages a series of events associated with important partner institutions: the first will see the Fondazione MAXXI of Rome play host to a talk on the theme of archaeology in dialogue with contemporary art.

With this project the Fondazione Brescia Musei confirms its role as a dynamic, project-oriented and visionary cultural pole, able to realize original dialogues with the art of our time. Palcoscenici Archeologici takes its place along this line of interventions in which contemporary art is investigated in relation to its present time and to its capacity to construct new questions. The project is in fact an integral part of the programme to increase the appreciation of contemporary art, which is also supported thanks to the Romeda-Courtright legacy. In 2019, with the exhibition We will also have better days. Works from the Turkish prisons, the Kurdish artist Zehra Doğan conducted a vibrant topical reflection underlining the relationship between contemporary works and human rights.

Francesco Vezzoli was born in 1971 in Brescia. He studied at Central St. Martin's School of Art in London, and currently lives and works in Milan.

Today he is one of the most successful contemporary Italian artists in the world; his work may be described as a series of powerful allegories concerning contemporary culture with a rich subtext of elaborate references, realized through video installations, petit point embroideries, photography, live performance, experiments with the use of various media and – more recently – classical sculpture or that of ancient inspiration.

His works have been selected for the Venice Biennale four times: for the 49th, 51st and 52nd editions, which were held in 2001, 2005 and 2007 respectively, and the 2014 Architecture Biennale. His works have also been included in other international exhibitions, such as the 2006 Whitney Biennial, the 26th Biennial Exhibition of São Paulo, the 6th International Biennial Exhibition in Istanbul, and Performa (in 2007 and 2015).

He has held solo exhibitions in the various international centres, such as the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, the Tate Modern in London, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Los Angeles, the MoMA PS1 in New York, the MAXXI in Rome, the Modern Museet in Stockholm, the Kunsthalle in Vienna, the Pinakothek Moderne in Munich, the Ludwig Museum in Cologne, The Garage CCC in Moscow, The Power Plant in Toronto, Jeu de Paume in Paris, the Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art in Turin, the Museo Serralves in Porto, the Prada Foundation in Milan, Le Consortium in Dijon, the Fondazione Museion in Bolzano and the NMNM - Nouveau Musée National in Monaco.

His work has been presented at various sites, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London, the Grand Palais in Paris, the Museo del Novecento in Milan, Palazzo Grassi in Venice, Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia, the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam, the Migros Museum in Zurich, the Neues Museum in Weimar, the Pirelli Hangar Bicocca in Milan and the Musée National Picasso in Paris.

More recently he has curated the exhibition entitled “TV70: Francesco Vezzoli guarda la RAI” at the Prada Foundation in Milan, produced a performance for the 40th anniversary of the Centre Pompidou and realized the exhibition “J.-K. Huysmans Critique D’art de Degas à Grünewald sous le regard de Francesco Vezzoli” at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.

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