While the works of the Old Masters may be what the mind conjures at the thought of Italian Art, the decade after the Second World War II birthed an electrifying art scene in Rome. Said scene is brought back to life as Fondazione Prada presents Roma 1950-1965 within the spaces of Prada Rong Zhai in Shanghai. Conceived and curated by Germano Celant, brings together 30 paintings and sculptures by artists of the period, including Carla Accardi, Afro Basaldella, Mirko Basaldella, Alberto Burri, Giuseppe Capogrossi, Ettore Colla, Pietro Consagra, Piero Dorazio, Nino Franchina, Gastone Novelli, Antonio Sanfilippo, Toti Scialoja and Giulio Turcato.
During the fifteen-year-period taken into account by the exhibition, Rome was quickly redeveloping from the rubble of war
Following the Italian economic boom and increasing industrialization, Rome’s intellectual and artistic debates focused on linguistic renewal and political commitment. Its art would flow from Gruppo Origine’s powerfully anti-decorative renunciations of overtly three-dimensional forms to the Forma group’s recovery of Futurist and Constructivist elements.
Forma, Origine, the Gruppo degli Otto and the Fronte Nuovo delle Arti, to quote only a few, were primarily Roman groups and movements from which essential figures for the development of Italian art in the following decades emerged. During that period, painting and sculpture tended toward the formless and the gestural. The influence of Action Painting and the abstract Expressionism of Jackson Pollock, Arshile Gorky, Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline would become clear in painters like Afro Basaldella and Gastone Novelli.
During the fifteen-year-period taken into account by the exhibition, Rome was quickly redeveloping from the rubble of war and was rediscovered as a place of beauty and misery, perdition and religiousness, sensuality and splendor, depicted in all its contradictions in Federico Fellini’s film La Dolce Vita (1960). The city attracted not only important writers and intellectuals of the period like Alberto Moravia, Italo Calvino, Ennio Flaiano, and Pier Paolo Pasolini, but also a new group of actors, celebrities and Italian and international filmmakers who populated Cinecittà, the “Hollywood on the Tiber,” as the Americans defined it. For a number of years, these protagonists moved many cinematographic mega-productions to Rome, helping increase the Italian capital’s legendary status in the collective imagination. Roma 1950-1965 also investigates this cultural aspect through an important collection of documents from those years, including historical photographs and original publications; and evokes the social and intellectual context within which the exhibited artists compared and confronted with one another in a constant, productive dialogue.
‘Roma 1950-1965’ will open to the public from 23 March to 27 May 2018 at Prada Rong Zhai in Shanghai. The inaugural preview will be held on Thursday, 22 March.