“Don’t touch them, they are more beautiful than before”. These were the words of Mario Schifano, immediately after seeing his own works returned by the fire. On display, from 20 December to 28 February, “Mario Schifano. I’m on fire! “. TO Palazzo Sant’Elia, in Palermo, thirty of the works that suffered, in 1992, the consequences of the fire that broke out in the carpentry not far from the place where they were stored.
Reached by the heat, the burns have reshaped prints and paintings. “These works exhibited here offer the starting point for a reflection on the incursion of chance on the realized work – affirms the critic Achille Bonito Oliva – Can contemporary art in its conceptual essence resist its material destruction?”.
“The exhibition is a reflection on the ability of an accidental event to break into the intentional creative process of an artist, – explains Antonio Ticali, superintendent of the Sant’Elia Foundation – contributing to the final product. The question we would like to share with visitors is: can a work of art be considered ‘finished’ when it leaves the atelier of its author? Or do the fortuitous events that mature throughout its existence, adding to the intentional ones, end up being themselves the evolution of the work’s aesthetics, contributing to its uniqueness and unrepeatability? “.
There are many questions that arise to the visitor, in a suggestive walk among the rooms with eighteenth-century frescoes of Palazzo Sant’Elia and the works of Schifano, the main exponent of European Pop Art.
Born in Homs in Italian Libya, Mario Schifano uses a language rich in contents and expressive forms typical of mass communication and popular culture. He fully lives his time and the desire to undertake new paths and challenges by interacting with the media, rock and pop bands such as the Rolling Stones and the Beatles, experimenting with drugs, traveling with curiosity between London and New York and appropriating marketing techniques, transforming so his works in icons of a new world and a new art. The approximately thirty works belonging to the “Fires of Art” mainly belong to the Jacorossi collection, created by the entrepreneur and patron Ovidio Jacorossi, a great art collector who died two years ago.
Also on display are a dozen works created by Schifano between the 1960s and 1990s, unrelated to the fire. His gaze and his entire work are very current in this historical moment, in the use of sweetened images that transform and confuse reality. “Mario Schifano, often considered the Italian Andy Warhol, – says Angela Mattarella Fundarò, vice president of the Sant’Elia Foundation – is one of the most controversial and fascinating artists on the national and international scene. A painter who with his brilliant ideas has been able to bring together the Mediterranean culture with the Nordic one “.
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