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Massimo Bartolini: Hagoromo at Centro per l’arte contemporanea Luigi Pecci

September 16, 2022–January 8, 2023
Opening: September 15, 6–9pm
A significant exhibition honoring Massimo Bartolini (Cecina, 1962) will run from September 16, 2022, to January 8, 2023, at the Centro per l’arte contemporanea Luigi Pecci in Prato. The display will be a fresh installment in the series of monographic exhibitions that the Centro hosts each year to display Italian artists’ works to viewers.
The largest installation the artist has ever made will be on display in the exhibition, which was developed in collaboration with Intesa Sanpaolo. It will serve as a sort of new “backbone” directing viewers around the works produced at various points in his career. The show avoids the traditional retrospective format centered on a chronological or thematic display of works and instead reads more like an unanticipated series of unexpected and illuminating encounters.
A well-known Japanese Noh play with the title Hagoromo relates the tale of a fisherman who one day discovers the hagoromo, the feathered cloak of the Tennin, a feminine celestial spirit of exceptional beauty who is a part of Japanese mythology. The fisherman responds when the spirit requests for her cloak, without which she cannot go back to heaven, that he will only give it to her after seeing her dance.

The 1989 piece Hagoromo, which Bartolini regards as his first mature work, features a musician improvising saxophone music on a stage inside his former studio. A girl dancer moves within a parallelepiped on wheels that resembles a miniature house as she responds to the music.

This performance foreshadows some of the themes and defining characteristics that continue to define his current experimental work: a narrative built around homages, allusions, representations of other narratives, artistic creations, and biographies; the relationship with space and architecture; the relationship with theater and performance art, partly through the use of sound and music; and the way the work reconciles seemingly incompatible opposites.

Hagoromo: Massimo Bartolini, the most comprehensive book ever written about this Tuscan artist, is a companion to the exhibition. The book, edited by Luca Cerizza and Cristiana Perrella and released by NERO, is a project funded by the Italian Council (10th edition, 2021), a program run by the Directorate-General for Contemporary Creativity of the Italian Ministry of Culture to promote Italian contemporary art abroad.

Over 400 pages long, the book presents a rich iconographic overview in chronological order of the artist’s entire career together with detailed bio-bibliographical notes and references; the publication includes contributions by the likes of Fiona Bradley, Luca Cerizza, Laura Cherubini, Carlo Falciani, Chus Martínez, Jeremy Millar, Cristiana Perrella, Marco Scotini, David Toop and Andrea Viliani.

Curated by Luca Cerizza with Elena Magini.

Centro per l’arte contemporanea Luigi Pecci
Viale della Repubblica 277
59100 Prato
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