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Italian masterpieces collected by Italian government on show at Sonje

By Park Yuna

Published : July 17, 2023 - 10:51

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An installation view of An installation view of "The Grand Italian Vision: The Farnesina Collection" at the Art Sonje Center (Italian Embassy, Italian Cultural Institute in Seoul, Art Sonje Center)

Masterpieces of Italian art from the 20th and 21st centuries are being presented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in Rome at the Art Sonje Center in Seoul.

The exhibition “The Grand Italian Vision: The Farnesina Collection” displays 71 works by 63 artists held by the Italian ministry for the first time in Korea. The exhibition has been curated by Italian art critic Achille Bonito Oliva and comprises sculptures, paintings, video art and photography.

The works are rooted in artistic movements of Italy – Arte Povera, metaphysical art, futurism, informalism and transavantgarde -- presenting a combination of figurative and abstract elements that ultimately merge into a harmonious blend.

Unique Forms of Continuity in Space by Umberto Boccioni (Roberto Bilotti Ruggi d’Aragona) Unique Forms of Continuity in Space by Umberto Boccioni (Roberto Bilotti Ruggi d’Aragona)

Futurist sculptor Umberto Boccioni’s bronze sculpture Unique Forms of Continuity in Space is among the works on display that have been shown at notable museums around the globe. Futurism was an artistic and social movement that originated in Italy, documenting the dynamism, speed, technology, youth and violence of the early 1900s, leading up to the suspension of time represented by surrealism.

Included is the life-size gilded bronze statue L'etrusco, created in 1976 by Michelangelo Pistoletto, an artist who has been associated with Arte Povera, or “Poor Art,” which prevailed in Italy in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

“Art is always the fruit of imagination that knows no barriers. Italian art is the clearest proof of this. From the Renaissance to the present day, it has always operated under the sign of renewal and memory,” Bonito Oliva said in a statement. He is the world-renowned critic and curator who directed the 45th Venice Biennale in 1993.

An installation view of An installation view of "The Grand Italian Vision: The Farnesina Collection" at the Art Sonje Center (Italian Embassy, Italian Cultural Institute in Seoul, Art Sonje Center)

The arrival of the Farnesina Collection was made as part of the commitment of the Embassy of Italy in Korea and the Italian Cultural Institute in Seoul to promote Italian culture in Seoul, according to the Italian Embassy. Next year marks the 140th anniversary of bilateral relations between the two countries.

The exhibition runs through Aug. 20 after opening to the public on Saturday. The museum will hold a talk with curator Bonito Oliva moderated by Kim Jang-un, director of the Art Sonje Center, at 2 p.m. on Saturday in the lecture hall. A reservation is required to attend the talk.