UNA is pleased to announce Histery of Art, an exhibition featuring three artists who share a common interest in the use of the word and of writing as a medium: Stefano Calligaro, Josep Maynou and Italo Zuffi. Within their works, writing takes on a “political” value, while never giving up on being ironic and poetic, crystallising in bittersweet statements, declarations of intent and revelations of states of mind.
Histery of Art
Artists: Stefano Calligaro, Josep Maynou, Italo Zuffi
April 22 – July 29, 2023
UNA Gallery, Piacenza
The exhibiting artists give life to a form of storytelling, in which reflection on the self and one's individuality - both from a human and artistic point of view - is crucial and becomes the starting point for opening up to a collective dimension. Within the body of works on display a recurring vein of self-irony can be found, together with a sometimes bitter, sometimes sarcastic observation of ourselves, of our private and intimate sphere, but also of our relationship with others and with society. Artworks in which the power of the word - written, engraved, drawn, embroidered - emerges as an amplifier of artistic practices, but also as a preferred tool for channelling ideas, thoughts and sensations in a poetic way.
The title of the exhibition, Histery of Art, stems from Stefano Calligaro's Poetricks series: a deliberately rambling, ironic, absurd and anti-poetic composition, through which the artist questions not just the value of writing (and its contents), but also the value and meaning of artistic gestures and what it means to be an artist nowadays. Short and direct wordplays, Poetricks are words that live (or hide) within other words, waiting to rise to the surface and “materialise” in collaboration with gallery owners, curators, artists. Without specific instructions from the artist, these figures are assigned the task of producing and distributing the physical artwork itself. For UNA, the materialisation takes the form of a T-shirt available in multiples of 100, a series of posters and A3 prints, and an acrylic on canvas, the practical realisation of which was entrusted to Josep, one of the other artists featured in the show.
Joyfully colourful, the lettering that runs through Josep Maynou's production is the alphabet with which the artist - a modern-day storyteller - recounts events that can be more or less real, always building on his own experience and flowing into situations somewhere between nonsense, comedy, tenderness and heart-breaking. Any everyday object can become the basis for Maynou's works: chocolate bar wrappers, carpets, wooden chopping boards engraved with pyrography, clothes and personal tools. Each object is then reworked, reassembled and personalised, turning into a “notebook” of sorts containing sketches, ideas for yet unrealised works, excerpts of conversations that seemed important not to forget.
Words, whether written or read, have been present in Italo Zuffi's works since the beginning of his career. They hold a strong poetic value, supporting the development of a reflection, sometimes a harsh one, on the dynamics of inclusion/exclusion and competition that characterise the art system. Instead, with a more focused attention to the individual and his behavioural patterns, the work Civilizzarsi [Getting civilized] - produced in 2022 on the occasion of the exhibition Fronte e retro at Banca di Bologna - consists of a series of plaques, displayed in the form of triplets (thesis-antithesis-synthesis), on which a series of everyday actions are engraved that result in “getting civilised”. For instance:
He/she wakes up / He/She takes a shower / He/She is getting civilised
He/she self-accuses / He/She acquits herself / He/She is getting civilised
He/She loses a pin code / He/She asks for a new one / He/She is getting civilised
As if they were daily exercises, the triplets seem to scan a journey of personal growth, self-awareness and development of one’s capacity to live within a social context, involving the use of words and poetry, while never abandoning an acute reading of the reality of our times, often with a vein of subtle criticism and resistance to dynamics of control.
UNA is pleased to announce the opening, on the same evening of Saturday April 22, of the exhibition Piacenza - Los Angeles. Art books and poetry (1991-2008) from Michele Lombardelli's archive at XNL Arte. Conceived by Paola Nicolin and Michele Lombardelli, the exhibition is the first episode of a survey on the theme of the book as an art form starting from artists' collections and archives.
Stefano Calligaro (1976, Cividale del Friuli, IT) presented his work internationally in various galleries and art institutions, among others Secondroom, Antwerp; Galerie Emmanuele Hervé, Marseille; Sabot; Cluj-Napoca; Centre des livres d'artistes, Saint-Yrieix-la-Perche; Invitro, Bucharest; MÉLANGE, Cologne; Frutta, Rome; Kunstverein Langenhagen, Langenhagen; Museo Dell’Alto Garda, Riva del Garda; David Roberts Art Foundation, London. In 2017, one of his latest installations has been awarded the Roger Paihas prize at Art-O-Rama in Marseille. His works are included in various private and public collections, among which Nomas Foundation in Rome and Grecu Collection in Bucharest. His first collection of Poetricks was published in 2022 by Edition Taube. His quasi-poem books - “Spick and Spam” and “Three bullshit poems” - have been published by GUESSWHO?.
Josep Maynou (1980, Barcelona, ES) studied Fine Arts at UB (Barcelona), Facultade Belas Artes Porto (Porto) and Middlesex Uni- versity (London). Past solo shows include: Point of life Papitu, curated by Samuel Leuenberger, Centro Parraga, Murcia (2022); Self Bazar, UNA, Piacenza (2021); This must be the place, L+S Projects, Porto (2020); 13, Idealfrühstück, Paris (2019); LE LUCKY, HVW8, Berlin (2019); The Return of the Junker. JM2000, Bombon projects, Barcelona (2019); Populaire, Lehman&Silva, Porto (2019); Leisure, Bombon Projects, Barcelo- na (2017); Thing1, Thing2, Broken Dimanche, Berlin (2017); Things: To do, Beverly’s, NYC (2017) or The Ninja from Marrackech, Galerie Suvi Lehtinen, Berlin (2015). Recent group shows include: For some bags under the eyes, Sans titre, Paris (2021); Ball de tornada / Dança de retorno; L+S, Porto; Parar a la fresca, Fonteta summer space, Bombon Projects in colab with Joan Prats and Nogueras Blanchard Gallery, Fonteta, (2021); RESET, Instruccions per comencar en un nou present, TACA, Mal- lorca (2021); S.M.S (Shit Must Stop), Bombon Projects, Barcelona (2020); Thundercage, Edition 19, Paris (2020); THIS MUST BE THE PLACE. Curated by Sofia Lemos, L+S Projects, Porto (2020); Telephone. OGR, Turin (2019); Textus ex Machina. Cu, aqb PROJECT SPACE, Budapest (2019); Hunter of World, Salts, Basel (2018); Supersimetrica, Matadero, Madrid (2018); How to do things..., Lehmann + Silva, Porto (2017); Black garden, Galería L21, Palma de Mallorca (2013); Alpina huus, Le Commun, Geneve (2017); A Lovers Discord, Moca, London (2016); Warped Miami, GSL Projekt, Miami Basel, Miami (2015) or The in- clination of the jungle, Junefirst Gallery, Berlin (2015). Recent performances include ENSEMBLE, survivre maintenant, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2019); TIME, The Institute for Endotic Re- search, Berlin (2019); Pane Per Poveri, Laatrac, Athens (2017); Making Public Program, Fundació Tapies, Barcelona (2017) and Material Art fair at Mexico City (2016). His artworks entered in various public collections, among them the MACBA - Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona.
Italo Zuffi (1969, Imola, IT) studied at the Bologna Fine Arts Academy and at the Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design in London. In 2001 he was awarded the Wheatley Bequest Fellowship in Fine Art (Sculpture) from the Institute of Art & Design, School of Art, Birmingham (UK). Recognized as one of the most relevant artists of his generation, Zuffi has been included in the main surveys on Italian contemporary art, such as Espresso. Art now in Italy (Electa, 2000), entering important collections such as the Galleria d'Arte Moderna of Turin; Galleria d'Arte Moderna Achille Forti Verona; Centro Per l'Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato; MA*GA Museum, Gallarate; FRAC Alsace, Sélestat; Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin. Among his recent solo exhibitions: Fronte e retro, MAMbo – Museum of Modern Art of Bologna and Sala Convegni Banca di Bologna, Palazzo de Toschi, Bologna (2022); In forma di riepilogo, Cler, Milan (2019); postura, posa, differita, ar/ge kunst, Bolzano (2016); Potersi dire, MAN, Nuoro (2015); Quello che eri, e quello che sei, Nomas Foundation, Rome (2015); La penultima assenza del corpo, Pietro Rossini Foundation, Briosco (2012); Zuffi, Italo, Pinksummer, Genoa (2010). Zuffi presented his works in a number of collective exhibitions in galleries and institutions, such as: UNA, Piacenza (upcoming); AF gallery, Bologna (2023); Spazio in situ, Rome (2023); Maxxi L'Aquila (2021); Palazzo Paltroni, Bologna (2021); Palazzo Lucarini Contemporary Center for Contemporary Art, Trevi (2021); Ancient Convent of San Francesco, Bagnacavallo (2020); Building gallery, Milan (2019); BienNolo, Ex Cova factory, Milan (2019); La Barralière, Tulette (2018); Present Italian art deposit, Artissima, Turin (2017); 16th Quadrennial of Rome, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome (2016); Ex Court, Pescara (2016); Swiss Institute of Milan (2016); Performances: everywhere, Teatro Cristallo, Bolzano (2016). In 2013 he founded the collective Pawel und Pavel with Margherita Morgantin.
All images courtesy UNA and the artists
Photo: Andreas Manini