The exhibition Illustrations for non-existent books opens at the Museum of Rome in Trastevere. Artists with Manganelli which traces the partnership between Giorgio Manganelli (Milan, 15 November 1922 - Rome, 28 May 1990), one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century, with eleven artists, between the Sixties and Seventies, known to him thanks to the famous criticism of art Lea Vergine: Lucio Fontana, Fausto Melotti, Carol Rama, Toti Scialoja, Gastone Novelli, Achille Perilli, Franco Nonnis, Gianfranco Baruchello, Giovanna Sandri, Giosetta Fioroni and Luigi Serafini.
The exhibition itinerary presents around 60 works including painting, sculpture, graphics, photography, books and documents, coming from important private collections, but also from the Foundations of the artists involved and from the National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art. Also on display is the cycle of twenty-three plates created by Gastone Novelli in 1964 for Manganelli's debut book published in the same year, Hilarotragoedia: the plates, all of the same format (35 x 50 cm) and preserved in two different private collections in Milan are presented as a whole for the first time in Rome on this occasion. The exhibition also analyzes the huge amount of Manganelli's writings dedicated to the visual arts, which embrace a wide repertoire both in chronological and typological terms.
Also on display is a space that hosts works by artists who were friends of Manganelli or commented on by him in his writings, while in the last room it is possible to admire rare and valuable books, as well as leaflets from exhibitions of the past. Among these, the two different editions of Pulcinellopaedia by Luigi Serafini (commented by Manganelli in a 1985 article), a designer with mysterious works with whom the writer planned to create a four-handed noir comic that was never made. The title of the exhibition is inspired by an article that Giorgio Manganelli wrote for the magazine “FMR”, in the Salons column. It was dedicated to surrealist painting accused of being "literary", in particular to Paul Delvaux: those paintings were "illustrations", but in fact of "non-existent" books, never (or perhaps not yet) written.
To accompany the exhibition, a series of meetings is also proposed, entitled "Manganelli with artists", conceived and coordinated by the curator Andrea Cortellessa. In each meeting, the bond between the writer and one or more of the artists on display is explored in depth, in particular among those active in Rome from the 1960s to today, from Gastone Novelli to Luigi Serafini, the meeting with which the cycle will conclude.
The exhibition, curated by Andrea Cortellessa, is promoted by Roma Capitale, Department of Culture, Capitoline Superintendence of Cultural Heritage with the collaboration of the National Committee for the celebrations of the centenary of the birth of Giorgio Manganelli. Organization of Zètema Progetto Cultura, catalog published by Electa.
Photo credits: courtesy of Museum of Roma in Trastevere
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