16 November > 24 January 2024
Mirella Bentivoglio and Serena Gamba” a Milano
Opening 16/11/2023 h 18:00
16/11 > 24/01/2024*
NP-ArtLab in collaboration with Martelli Fine Art
Corso Monforte 23
Tuesday - Thursday, 12.00 - 19.00
NP-ArtLab presents, in collaboration with Martelli Fine Art, a selection of works by artists Mirella Bentivoglio and Serena Gamba in dialogue with each other. The exhibition aims to relate two artists of different generations but who use verbal-visual practice as a medium.
The work of Mirella Bentivoglio (Klagenfurt, 1922) takes place in a totally poetic sphere: between language and image, language and material, language and object, language and environment. In particular, her works in the exhibition are closely linked to the representation of the egg, linked to the letter O, which, according to the artist, is a symbol of the Universe, of nothingness and everything, of emptiness and fullness, but also of creation and motherhood, a fundamental concept for the artist, which she has repeatedly identified as an experience that has profoundly influenced and guided her in her artistic career. The egg returns frequently in the artist's works, often linked to books, a specific sign of the intellectual dimension, a symbol of culture.
A veritable continuum with the works of Bentivoglio and the poets of the Nuova Scrittura in general is represented by Serena Gamba (Moncalieri, 1982). Her research revolves around the meaning of painting and its declinations in relation to the visual and applied arts. The images of Art History are emptied of their original meaning to be reworked in order to bring out their essential nature far from imperfect and preconceived forms.
The genres and materials of painting, the bases of written and spoken language, the constituent elements of drawing are condensed into new structures and primary signs, activating a process of reconstruction of a new image. It is these structural elements that go on to define an architecture, a visual alphabet, leaving complete freedom of interpretation and re-elaboration.
The works on display perfectly reflect the artist's poetics where the concepts of memory and oblivion coexist. The act of writing and describing the original painting is a reflection and testimony of memory: it is an attempt to create an intimate encounter between the individual and his or her own act of remembering and memorising all of Art History. The hand-stitched letters become a vivid testimony of something that was present and is now disappearing or will soon disappear. It is writing that becomes the means and the way to slow down the process and welcome oblivion. An archive is created, an instrument for memory.
Serena Gamba, visual artist, she works on the theme of memory and oblivion through word, sign and form. Her research moves around the meaning of Painting and its declinations in relation to other visual and applied arts.
The images of the History of Art, emptied of their original meaning, are reworked to bring out their essential nature, far removed from flawed and pre-constituted forms. The genres and materials of painting, the foundations of spoken and written language, the constituent elements of drawing and geometry are condensed into new structures and primary signs, at the same time activating a process of negation and reconstruction of a new image. These structural elements, be they sculptural or pictorial, define an architecture, a visual alphabet, address and leave full freedom of interpretation and reworking.
Thus, he draws on the things of the world, be they classical works or primordial forms, to redefine a personal imagery, to generate an aesthetic and formal sensitivity towards the inexplicable mystery of Painting. He has exhibited in the group shows "Sollazzo Ottico" (Roccatre Gallery, Turin), "Appunti di sociologia urbana" (Alessio Moitre Gallery, Turin), "Dell'origine e delle sue variazioni - Serena Gamba/Alessandro Gioiello" (Isolo17 Gallery, Verona), "Serena Gamba, Autos - Eleonora Manca, Catessi" (Alessio Moitre Gallery, Turin), exhibits in the circuit "Art Site Fest" (Castello di Govone / Govone (CN)), at the exhibition "Lacerto" (Galleria Alessio Moitre), "Esercizi di scrittura" (BI-BOx Art Space / Biella), "La Camera delle Meraviglie" (Isolo17 Gallery, Verona), "Visione d'Interno" (Galleria Alessio Moitre - Burning Giraffe, Turin), "IncontrArTi - Simboli e riflessi verso l'Oltre" (Vercelli). She exhibited in solo shows 'Datum - Dida' (Van Der Gallery, Bolzano), 'Monologue' (Galleria Alessio Moitre, Turin), 'Opera al Nero' (Isolo17 Gallery, Verona).
Winner in 2021 of the "A Collection" Prize (Art Verona), in 2019 she wins the Artkeys Prize in the painting section and is a finalist in the Nocivelli Prize and the Yicca Contest. Finalist in 2018 at the Combat Prize, in 2017 he wins the Tina Prize Beijing edition, participates in 2016 at the Lissone Prize. In 2021 he founded Spazio PPP, a space for confrontation and real exchange aimed at creating new relationships between visual artists, curators and poets within a reality uncontaminated by typical city times and dynamics together with artist Alessandro Gioiello.
Mirella Bentivoglio, poet and verbo-visual artist, was born in Klagenfurt (Austria) on 28 March 1922, to Italian parents, Margherita Cavalli and the scientist Ernesto Bertarelli. She received a multilingual education, studying in German-speaking Switzerland and England. In 1949 she married university lecturer in International Law Ludovico Matteo Bentivoglio, whose surname she adopted. In her early youth, she was the author of both oil paintings and books of poetry in Italian and English (published by Scheiwiller and Vallecchi, and reviewed by critics such as Giorgio Caproni, Italo Defeo and Mario Praz). Later on, she expressed her interest in the combined use of verbal language and images, linking up with the verbovisual movements of the international artistic neo-avant-gardes of the second half of the 20th century, becoming one of its leading figures. In 1968 he was awarded the qualification to teach Aesthetics and History of Art in the Italian Academies. He received scholarships and research grants from the Salzburg Seminar for American Studies (1958) and the Getty Institute in Los Angeles (1997).
From the practice of Concrete Poetry, Visual Poetry and Visual Writing, which marked his entry into the sphere of new experimentation, he moved on to a personal form of object-poetry from the 1960s onwards. Gradually, in the 1970s and beyond, he explored the languages of performance, action-poetry and poetry-environment, setting up large symbolic structures of linguistic matrix on public land (including the famous Ovo di Gubbio). Central and long-standing has been her work on object books. She also played a decisive and enlightening role in the field of contemporary art as animator and curator of exhibitions dedicated to women's art. In particular, she curated and realised, for the 38th Venice Biennale (1978), the exhibition Materialisation of Language at the Magazzini del Sale, which exclusively featured works by female artists, and which still today represents an emblematic unicum of the work of women artists of those years, intent on claiming their own well-defined "female" creative space in the second half of the 20th century.
Mirella Bentivoglio has been awarded numerous prizes both for her poetic and artistic activity and for her critical and organisational work.
In 2011, she donated her rich collection-archive of female art, collected over years of strong commitment also as exhibition curator, to the MART (Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto).
She died in Rome in spring 2017. One year after her death, a day of commemoration was held in her honour at the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale Vittorio Emanuele in Rome, which presented the fund named after her (donated to the library by her three daughters, Marina, Leonetta and Ilaria). It contains volumes, exhibition catalogues and various materials from her vast library-archive. In 2019, the Mirella Bentivoglio Archive was set up online, with the aim of promoting and enhancing her work. In the same year, on 14 May, a new exhibition space for Mirella Bentivoglio was inaugurated as part of the Spazi900 itinerary, created within the National Library in Rome. The space named after Bentivoglio, which houses the permanent exhibition of some of her works, is next to spaces dedicated to authors such as Pier Paolo Pasolini, Elsa Morante and Italo Calvino.