Fabio Viale – In Between
Royal Museums, Turin
October 14, 2021 – January 09, 2022
Fabio Viale’s monumental tattooed statues have arrived in Turin. The sculptures of the Piemontese artist famous all over the world for his creative marble artworks will be on display in Piazzetta Reale and inside the Royal Palace in collaboration with the Poggiali art gallery in Florence. Vigorous bodies and delicate female figures, masterpieces by masters such as Canova and Michelangelo: an expression of classic iconography in which the purity of marble clashes with the boldness of the colourful, provocative tattoos that emerge from the skin.
After the solo exhibition at the Glyptothek Museum in Munich, the participation in the Venice Pavilion at the 2019 Biennale, the exhibition at the Pushkin Museum in Moscow and Truly, an exhibition widespread in
the symbolic places of the city of Pietrasanta in Summer 2020, Viale brings his sculptures to the Piemontese capital. Not only are his works remarkable for their technical virtuosity but also for his ability to reinterpret the forms and themes of classical art in a contemporary way. Eternal models of beauty and metropolitan tribalism, tradition and innovation, a timeless past and current trends all come together in an exhibition designed to make public areas and museum locations interact closely.
The exhibition is an opportunity to illustrate Viale’s long-standing research as well as his refined and eccentric poetics while deepening into artistic production techniques within a modern professional sculpture studio, ranging from traditional knowledge to numerical control technology. “Leveraging wonder, technical virtuosity and creative reinterpretation – says Enrica Pagella, director of the Royal Museums – Fabio Viale’s artistic production invites us to look in a new light at the sculpture masterpieces that populate our museums and are engraved into everyone’s mind: a bridge between past and future, linking tradition and modern experimentation, a tribute to the multiform potential of cultural heritage and an invitation to discover and challenge it without prejudice.”
The large area in front of the Royal Palace makes a perfect urban setting for the monumental works that, immersed in light, interact with the surrounding architecture and the urban fabric while showcasing masterpieces that stimulate the collective imagination. The artistic itinerary continues inside the Savoy residence with Cupid and Psyche, a new work that dominates the Hall of the Swiss Guards. The artwork replicates Canova’s neoclassical masterpiece while disrupting its traditional interpretation through the tattooing of the female body with the wedding motifs of Middle Eastern brides suggesting a very topical reflection on the condition of women in the current geopolitical context on the themes of conquest, suffering and salvation.
In the Chapel of the Holy Shroud, the work Souvenir Pietà (Cristo), from 2006, establishes a strong connection with one of the most important and mysterious icons of Christianity. Finally, in the Royal Armoury, the original work Lorica offers a wearable old-fashioned armour made in pink marble, created from a high-resolution 3D scan of the body of the well-known rapper Fedez, who lent himself to the playful heroisation of his public figure.
“For thousands of years – explains the curator Filippo Masino – marble has transformed what is born humble and transitory (be it a human body, a cloth or acanthus leaves) into a noble and eternal substance. Thanks to the work of Fabio Viale, the vitality of real-life re-emerges from the stone surfaces, though without following the usual metaphors. The restructuring of the statues of the Masters, the rewriting of the meanings and the illusion given by the marble representation of other materials stimulate our senses and curiosity while conveying messages of a universal value.”
“Fabio Viale’s works showcase masterpieces that stimulate the collective imagination, in a dialectic relationship between classicism and metropolitan tribalism, innovation and tradition, reality and simulation, which delivers a universal image of the human society and its forms”, adds the curator Roberto Mastroianni. In this grey zone between the known and the unknown, between being and becoming, Fabio Viale explores the timeless value of art and aesthetic practice, illustrating our cultural heritage through contemporary languages in a constant relationship between present and past”. In December 2021, the second stage of the exhibition will take place within the new Halls of Royal Antiquities, which will be dedicated to the series of material fictions – marble that becomes wood, plastic, rubber, polystyrene and paper. The exhibition boasts technical sponsors such as the IREN Group, which took care of the lighting of the sculptures in Piazzetta Reale as well as in the interiors of the Royal Palace, the General Marmi from Collegno, which supplied the precious stone bases for the monumental statuary and Strategica Group from Milan which offered insurance coverage for the artworks.