Je suis l’autre
The exhibition curated by Francesco Paolo Campione with Maria Grazia Messina is conceived as a journey through thematic areas, which correspond to the main characters of the interior exploration that brought together all those artists of the twentieth century to the art of the cultures from which they took inspiration.
Promoted by the National Roman Museum, directed by Daniela Porro, and the Museum of Cultures in Lugano with Electa, the exhibition is set up in the Great Halls of the Baths of Diocletian. The project confirms the vocation of these monumental spaces to host large exhibitions of modern and contemporary art.
At the end of the nineteenth century, the irruption on the world scene of non-Western cultures produced a real revolution in the field of the arts: the universe of sources for the artists was extended and the desire to cross visions and schemes that European realism grew he had inherited from four centuries of aesthetic reflection. It was a "fatal encounter" that generated a rich cultural openness and the first real convergence of the world in art , far from creating a creative fracture.
Particularly subversive, more fruitful and lasting was the relationship with the ethnic and popular arts, whose languages - only apparently naive, were able to communicate without mediation the relationship between the human and the divine and the supernatural. An art revealing of the deep tensions and needs of the individual, able to enter without fear in the world of myth and in the sphere of utopia, even the political one.
They were at least three generations of artists, who adhered to it mainly by virtue of a personal research path. Within a few decades the outward aspects of things were so overwhelmed by the irruption of unusual kinds of art, which not only schematized or deformed the bodies, until they were unrecognizable, but which - composing previously unknown sets - were somehow independently in search of its meaning.
The sculpture of the first half of the twentieth century had to fight tenaciously to affirm that loyalty to appearance could no longer be considered a priori the measure of art. Sculptures that, freeing themselves definitively from any ideological inhibition, embodied entities that sought their own principle of justification. It was a torment that found in the matter itself its primary foundation and, at the same time, it was a liberation that freed forever the western sculpture from the conformism of the physiognomy.
The exhibition catalog published by Electa, edited by Francesco Paolo Campione and Maria Grazia Messina, includes numerous essays and a rich anthology on the "primitive arts" seen by artists and intellectuals of the twentieth century, offering a wide and documented multifocal vision of the meanings and values of the works on show and, more generally, of the theme of Primitivism in 20th century art.