CARLO BENVENUTO, THE ORIGINAL
June 27, 2020 – October 18, 2020
An important exhibition marks the reopening of the Mart and its new season. One of the most important artists of our generation to emerge at the beginning of the new millennium, Carlo Benvenuto is the author of a refined and disorientating metaphysic perception of everyday life. The exhibition hosts sixty works, interacting with three masterpieces by Giorgio de Chirico, Giorgio Morandi and Renato Guttuso, conserved in the Mart Collections.
The exhibition – states the artist – “is in an ideal orbit around a centre containing four types of self-portrait”. In the various aspects that characterize the exhibition layout, the theme of duality is constantly instated, through reflections, pairings, dialogues with the paintings of the museum collection, repetitions and variants, until it meets a pictorial self-portrait that Benvenuto has conceived as “solitary”, unique in scanning the emptiness, an apparently unrelated enigma, but a decisive clue for considering all the artist’s work as an essential self-reflection.
The exhibition is accompanied by a rich catalogue that includes a long essay on the work of Carlo Benvenuto proposed by Gianfranco Maraniello, a critical piece by Massimiliano Gioni, a comment by Daniela Ferrari on the self-portraits of Morandi, de Chirico and Guttuso included in the exhibition and a conversation between Chiara Ianeselli and Carlo Benvenuto on the themes of the exposition at the Mart, and more general matters relating to the artist’s poetics.
” A phantasmagorical world that lies hidden in the cracks of everyday life. ” Massimiliano Gioni.
” Observed in their fixity, these subjects become paradoxical negations of ephemerality, an equilibrium that assuages the risk of catastrophe. ” Gianfranco Maraniello.
” An exceedingly slow display of liturgical contemplation is clearly visible, encased in a time that becomes circular, from where the artist, in the centre, leans out from time to time, always to achieve the same result. ” Chiara Ianeselli.
During his 20+-year career, the photography medium has privileged Benvenuto’s ability to examine the world closely, and phenomenologically, elevating his vision to a perceptive and sentimental verification of life. He does so by contemplating what appears familiar, domestic and intimate, exploring the mute insistence of the objects he portrays and bringing the long preparatory phases of his work to conclusion in the immediacy of the camera shot. In this universe of objects, furniture and mirrors, the narrator, and the private mythology, are silent: the works are untitled, their function is not to describe.
The ratio in scale 1:1 and the use of the optical bench with no need to resort to digital corrective interventions, are the clues to a strategy that remains faithful to the subject but fails to create any documentary or realistic images. The apparently pictorial quality of the captured images and their surprising compositional equilibriums immortalise an extraordinary metaphysic perception of everyday life. The virtuous classic mood of Benvenuto’s work begs comparisons with the grand art of the 20th century, going beyond the contingency of the historical period and evoking, as emphasised by Massimiliano Gioni in his text in the catalogue, the suspended atmosphere of Magical Realism, the rigour and the sobriety of Luigi Ghirri or the obsession for details of Domenico Gnoli, the mini metaphysic theatres of de Chirico, Savinio and de Pisis and the careful orchestration of the image found in the still life paintings of Giorgio Morandi.
The solo exhibition of Carlo Benvenuto is the first large exhibition event proposed by the Mart post-lockdown. The project is an essential component of the most recent museum schedule of events offering visitors an itinerary on the theme of the image. This includes the independent but contemporary exhibitions dedicated to the history of photography conceived with Italo Zannier, the film medium adopted by filmmakers Gianikian and Ricci Lucchi and the research performed on pictorialism in the photography collections of the museum proposed by the focus After Monet.