EXHIBITION GIORGO MORANDI – BOLOGNA;
THE ESSENCE OF THINGS
Last week I visited the exhibition of the Italian artist Giorgio Morandi (1890-1964) in the Belvédère Museum in Holland.
Morandi is the maestro of the 20th Centurys’s still life art. Despite the seemingly uncomplicated theme
of subtile painted vases, pots and bottles, he grew into this true icon. The timelessness, stillness and soberness
in Morandi’s works not only appeals many other artists, but also me as a still life lover.
Morandi is often called a ‘painter’s painter’, a great example for other painters,
but also for many other creatives I think.
It was so nice to see that not only works from out the Museo Morandi were exhibited, but also from out private collections and Dutch museums. Of course the total Dutch art scene was very involved. For example, artist Ada Duker discovered an important relationship between Morandi’s work and the architecture of Bologna. She ‘framed’ her findings in a series of pictures of architectural details, in the characteristic Mediterranean colors, which were part of the total exhibition as well.
At that exhibition I bought the book ‘Giorgio Morandi I Bologna, wherein Alessia Masi (Museo Morandi, Bologna) stated the following, which to me is the ultimate summary for this blog.
“THE ONLY THINGS THAT MATTER
TO ME IN THE VISIBLE WORLD
ARE SPACE, LIGHT, COLOR AND FORM”
Order and rigour
A man of fairly subdued and reserved character, Giorgio Morandi spent much of his time between Bologna and the Emilian hills, shunning a life of travel and noise in favour of a quieter daily existence of concentration and meditation in his bedroom studio. We know that only a privileged few were given the chance to enter and breathe that atmosphere, filled with the smells of ink, resin, oil and turpentine, presages of future creations.
Giorgio Morandi’s studio was different from that of other artists. It was a true installation ahead of its time, a place of still lifes always in motion; a vocabulary that contained all the elements of his highly personal mode of writing, from A to Z. If we think of the studios of artists like Picasso or Freud we do not find in them any sign of the order and rigour that make Morandi’s so unique. For him it was the necessary and fundamental location and platform for the future of his work. We could not, in fact, imagine the work of the Bolognese artist without this setting, where everything was governed and arranged according to precise schemes, which were in turn rooted in a precise frame of thought.
But what do we see when we look at a work by Giorgio Morandi? This is a question around which a substantial body of literature has sprung up and one that has found the best response in perceptual analysis. What matters is not what the artist is representing, but how he presents the sensible word, in the infinite variations of it that are generated not by the subject, but by the manifestation of space, light, color and form. Like a designer really. At times, Giorgio Morandi leaves the visitor with the impression of looking at still lifes that are still in the process of becoming, as if there were something unresolved, unfinished.
There is no division in him between life and the necessity of art. He was the art and his aesthetic research partook of the absolute perfection of his identity. Morandi did not coincide with his time. And this makes his art all the more necessary and eternal.