Chiostro del Bramante celebrates its 20th anniversary with exhibition

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Chiostro del Bramante celebrates its 20th anniversary with exhibition
Tracey Emin, My Forgotten Heart, 2015. Neon (snow white), 38x152,5 cm. Ed.2/3. Courtesy: Galleria Lorcan O'Neill © Tracey Emin by SIAE 2016.

ROME.- From 29 September 2016 to 19 February 2017 Chiostro del Bramante in Rome hosts LOVE. Contemporary art meets amour, curated by Danilo Eccher.

Chiostro del Bramante is celebrating its 20th anniversary with an exhibition of international significance.

It has been years since Rome's cultural landscape witnessed anything like this not-to-be-missed event, which endeavours to bring the city up to the level of the most respected international exhibition venues. For the first time, some of the most important contemporary artists will be shown together, including Yayoi Kusama, Tom Wesselmann, Andy Warhol, Robert Indiana, Gilbert & George, Francesco Vezzoli, Tracey Emin, Marc Quinn, Francesco Clemente and Joana Vasconcelos, with artworks that speak in highly experiential languages (Kusama's All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins is one of the most instagrammed in the world), created to engage visitors with different kinds of stimuli.

Art meets love
The exhibition aims to tackle an emotion that is universally recognized and constantly studied and represented – Love – showing its various facets and its infinite manifestations: love that is happy, that is longed-for, misunderstood, hated, ambiguous, transgressive, or childish, love that unfolds along an unconventional exhibition route featuring visual and sensory input.

Love goes beyond the concept of the museum.
In this exhibition, it's the visitors who really tell the story, as they reappropriate the display spaces and become consumers and communicators at the same time, being freely allowed to photograph all the works on display (official hashtag: #chiostrolove). The experience of the museum is an experience of 360° sensory involvement, fully embracing the concept of the continuously evolving 'open access' museum.

In addition, in connection with DART Chiostro del Bramante’s scientific project, visitors can experience a truly unusual active guide by selecting, for the first time, from among 5 “audio partners”: John, Coco, Amy, David and Lilly will be the special travel companions on this journey. Depending on the type of experience each visitor would like to embark on, they will describe the works on display and help visitors appreciate the emotions they hold. The Audio Guides were created by Zeranta Edutainment srl, a company that specializes in education and entertainment.

The exhibition is a unique collection displaying various facets of Love. The course of the exhibition begins with the work Love (1966-1999), the square of letters that Robert Indiana designed in the early nineteen-sixties. Since then, this icon has remained the strongest and the most evocative, an image that has something to say, that takes over the space, that shows the essence of art itself.

Of course, love also means getting involved in person, the extreme choice between admiration and participation, the need, even more important than pleasure, to be a part of the artwork, not an outside observer. It's what Yayoi Kusama asks of those who "enter" her very recent Infinity Mirrored Room, All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins (2016), where space is repeated indefinitely in a chaotic game of mirrors in which visitors must immerse themselves, abandon themselves, breathe the solitude. The moment the door to the Infinity room is closed, the boundaries between man and the world – between truth and enchantment – collapse, and hallucinatory landscapes of pumpkins create the mystery of imagined atmospheres, psychedelic dreams in which sizes become distorted, points of view overturned, objects and characters confused for others.

Stylistic simplicity and the absolute centrality of the image are the essential features of Tom Wesselmann's Smoker # 3 (3-D) (2003): a deliberately stereotyped and commercial image, dictated by a mass culture that imposes its own grammar, its own vocabulary, which will then undermine the social order of the images through a courageous pop love that isn't afraid to approach seduction and eroticism.

Treacherous and swampy is the terrain where the watercolours by Francesco Clemente flutter: his works give off the aromas of oriental spices and have infinite faces, like Androgyne Selfportrait III (2005), where smile and pain coexist, where life and death are found in an inextricable embrace. In these pictures love is recognized in all its ambiguity, is reflected on a small boat drifting before sinking and raising the symbol of surrender from its heart, as in the work Surrender (2015).

The work of Marc Quinn belongs to the same turbulent universe, with his victorious representations of happy nature, colourful bouquets of flowers. The dazzling blaze of light pushes away the suspicion of evil but lets the icy whiteness of the end, of time run out, slip in through the cracks. They are cut flowers like in Thor in Nenga (2009): chemically fixed colours, nature frozen; it is the magnificent smile of death that appears, with arabesques and plumes, in all its triumph. They are images of the intense beauty of love that holds its own tragedy, the joy of a profound feeling drowning in the tears of deceit.

But perhaps the image of Marilyn Monroe with One Multicolored Marilyn (Reversal Series) from 19791986 is the one that, more concretely than any other, represents the complex emotional overload of love. Marilyn is the very face of love, and it is only natural that her image should have become the signature of an artist such as Andy Warhol: it is not only the most reproduced icon of our time, but a visionary, hallucinatory dream of beauty and despair, of elegance and poverty, of childlike sweetness and secret perversion. An entire twisted, contradictory lifetime frozen in the sanctity of a face, the silence of a look that combines every expression, every emotion, every image possible.

Video installations in the exhibition speak in the new artistic languages explored by Ragnar Kjartansson, Tracey Moffatt, Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg.

Love is recounted in the deceptive theatre setup of God (2007) by Ragnar Kjartansson and in the romantic and historical scenes of film kisses in Love (2003) by Tracey Moffatt; meanwhile, distorted voices from a dark world, giant papier-mâché flowers that hint at a disturbing beauty and a structure for theatre and film are the central elements of The Clearing (Pastels and Red and Purple, 2015) by Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg.

Art and writing express indelible fragments of life in intimate, luminous words by Tracey Emin with My Forgotten Heart (2015); frailties and fears are revealed in all their clarity in the tortured and wounded bodies of the female sculptures by Mark Manders.

With Francesco Vezzoli the languages of sculpture and of film embrace in a subtly seductive dialogue: in Self Portrait as Apollo del Belvedere's (Lover), from 2011, the stony silence of Roman sculpture is fused with luxurious baroque cinematography alla Luchino Visconti, while an impossible love plays out, embroidered with tears, captured in intense gazes, perfumed with barely touching lips.

And yet another exercise in balance is expressed in Crystal Gaze (2007) by Ursula Mayer, in the icy shell that wraps her ethereal models, beautiful and distant, devoid of breath, elegant mannequins with impossible feelings on the vortex of sin. We see the same fetishistic relationship with classical statuary in Vanessa Beecroft who, however, prefers photography and the actual bodies of the models, as in VBSS.003.MP (2006).

Gilbert & George took another great risk in Metalepsy (2008) in which they disfigured their own bodies in a tangle of images and a game where it is impossible to relinquish the great dream of identity of art and life.

And, because art is also music, the kaleidoscope of sensations is completed by Coração Independente Vermelho # 3 (PA) [Red Independent Heart #3 (AP)], the giant heart made of red plastic cutlery by Joana Vasconcelos which sings enchanting fado through the voice of Amalia Rodriguez. Thus the harmony of music is countered by the melody of sadness, the symbolic image of love by repetitive everyday life, expressed through the plastic cutlery with which Vasconcelos pursues at once both the most tormented aspects of the symbol and the most conceptual aspects of the rules of composition.

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