Franco Angeli – Dalle ricerche informali ai souvenir- 24.11.05

On Thursday 24 November at 6.30 p.m., at Fabio Falsaperla’s La Nuvola Gallery, the exhibition Franco Angeli, Dalle ricerche informali ai souvenir, curated by Andrea Tugnoli, will be inaugurated.

The event includes an exhibition of about twenty works, from the 1950s to the 1970s, including papers, oils and mixed techniques, up to the artist’s first video experiment in the 1980s, entitled Souvenir. The decisive encounter with painting,’ explains Andrea Tugnoli, ‘came to Angeli from the impression that the bombing of San Lorenzo, which he witnessed first-hand, aroused in him.

This experience gave rise to his first works with a strictly informal gestural style, shared in his youth with the artists of the Scuola di Piazza del Popolo, including Mario Schifano, Tano Festa and Giosetta Fioroni. Angeli began to use veiled gauze, clearly referring to the bandages of the wounded recorded in his memory on that terrible day.

A painful connotation that marks many of his works and is closely reminiscent of Alberto Burri’s Sacchi. Through the gauze, the images are veiled ‘between saying and not saying’ through the artist’s gesture communicating his emotions transferred onto the canvas to the viewer. Lacerazione, executed in 1958 and exhibited here, is an example of this. The work, created with mixed media on paper, is also close to Burri’s research in terms of Angeli’s use of dark colours and matter, adopted to suggest the beauty of painting and emptied of meaning in order to elevate it to another symbolism. The gauze, which he himself defined as a veil with which to filter symbols, would continue to ‘screen’ his later paintings, from Lupa to Dollars.

In the following years, stimulated by consumer civilisation, Franco Angeli produced a series of pictorial works that can be understood as a blob of symbols. It is with this in mind that the works in the exhibition inspired by advertising, television, theatre, up to the famous Souvenirs were created. Angeli eagerly collects ‘good things in bad taste’ such as Roman she-wolves, American eagles, the ancient and modern symbols of power, from the hammer and sickle to the dollar, bringing political idealism closer to the masses. The artist thus represents symbols rather than reproducing easy consumer objects, bringing them from the street into the courtly language of art while maintaining their political commitment.The exhibition ends with the projection of the video Souvenir, made by Angeli in 1984. These are images of the artist’s works retouched with computer graphics, highlighting the “pop” symbols: from the eagle to the she-wolf. The final image features the work Souvenir, a canvas depicting the silhouettes of protesters holding red flags. A catalogue edited by Andrea Tugnoli will be presented on the occasion of the exhibition.