Domenico Gnoli

November 15, 2021

I always employ simple, given elements, I don’t want either to add or take anything away. I have never even wanted to deform; I isolate and represent. My themes come from the world around me, familiar situations, everyday life; because I never actively mediate against the object, I experience the magic of its presence.” Domenico Gnoli

Conceived by Germano Celant, the exhibition brings together over 100 works produced by the artist between 1949 and 1969 and it’s complemented by as many drawings. A
chronological and documentary section featuring materials, photographs and other items retrace the biography and artistic career of Domenico Gnoli (Rome, 1933 – New York, 1970) more than fifty years after his death. The project has been realized in collaboration with the artist’s Archives in Rome and Mallorca, which preserve Gnoli’s personal and professional heritage.

The aim is to explore Gnoli’s practice and his activity as a unique discourse free of labels, documenting links with the international cultural scene of his time and highlighting affinities with contemporary visual research. Furthermore, “Domenico Gnoli” expands on the insights of those who, in the past, interpreted the artist’s work from an original historical and critical viewpoint, recognizing the inspiration that he drew from the Renaissance and highlighting the narrative
value of his works. Grandson of Domenico Gnoli and son of Umberto Gnoli—both art critics and historians— Gnoli followed two directions: his work as a theater set designer, costume designer, and illustrator, and his pictorial work, both these practices are well represented in the exhibition.

As Germano Celant observes, the unexpected appearance on the canvas of apparently incongruous elements, such as busts, locks of hair, shoes, armchairs, drawers, ties, and buttons, gives the viewer a slight mental jolt. It is an invitation to fill out these mysterious images, a combination of reality and imagination, placed at the center of “a sensual and carnal theater where the continuing exchange between things and bodies is enacted, the protagonists of a total complicity.”

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