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THE SCHOOL OF GORIZIA
ENHANCEMENT OF LOCAL EXPERIENCES
by Luciano Gironcoli
Art goes where the economy takes it. And that's it. The only way to escape, at least partially, from this perverse logic is that of the self-management of the system by artists (this was clearly stated by Prof. Strassoldo in his article at the beginning of the first chapter) which would require artists themselves to think and produce works, manage exhibition spaces and oversee all possible and desirable market operations connected to exhibitions. Therefore, artists who demand any form of "freedom of art" should directly assume both the responsibility for the "creation" and the "supply" of works to a market without any form of mediation outside the "category". All this should be done with extreme rigour given that the art system "in power", as I have tried to explain, is not only undemocratic but also decidedly immoral. Moreover, the self-referentiality of art, the one that allows a failed painter, perhaps a graduate in economics and commerce or international relations, to become an exhibition curator and selector of artists at an international level or that establishes when and why an artist becomes "the best", the "greatest" and, above all, one can boast the title of "international", tends to exclude all voices "outside the chorus", using every means to eliminate dangerous opponents. And, as chance would have it, the "enemies" of the powerful system can nestle in the still too submerged world (I don't deliberately use the term "system") of local art, the one that is produced in Varese, Como, Avellino, Caltanisetta, Reggio Emilia, Latina and, why not, in Gorizia, Trieste, Udine as in Cormons, Gradisca d'Isonzo or... in Nova Gorica in Slovenia, then in Europe, just over a kilometre from the centre of Gorizi
Local experiences of self-management of the "art system" have been there, are there and will be there again. I jump here and there in the most recent art history of Gorizia and its immediate surroundings remembering, first of all, the activity of APAI, the Association of Painters and Artists of Gorizia active in the 50/60s, which organized the first exhibition of painters from Gorizia in Yugoslavia, a few years after the end of the war, bringing to Nova Gorica a selection of works of the members. The International Art Group "2xGO", an original association between Slovenian (then Yugoslav) and Italian artists working in the territories of the "two Gorizia". The isontine section of the FNLAV-CGIL artists' union that promoted various initiatives including a large national exhibition in support of the struggles of Italcantieri workers in Monfalcone and an exhibition of graphics at the Italian Cultural Institute in Vienna. Not to forget the activity of the privately run galleries "Il Torchio" in via Mameli and "La Bottega" in via Nizza. At the end of the '80s was born "EXIT", a cultural association that managed a small exhibition space in via Favetti whose management was directly followed by the artists Kusterle, Valvassori, de Gironcoli and the art critic Emanuela Uccello. The gallery hosted various exhibitions, including an articulated homage to the Trieste/Slovenian master Avgust Černigoj; the review of the group "Cacciavento" made up of young architects and artists from Ljubljana; a collective exhibition of contemporary Japanese graphics; the exhibition of the works of "computer art" by Mauro Mauri; a solo show by Mario Tudor from Gorizia after forty years since the last exhibition at the Caffè Teatro... The activity of "EXIT" ended at the Cinema Vittoria where, in a part of the atrium of the old building, a real gallery was set up that hosted, with great success, many exhibitions including the first solo show in Gorizia by Nico Di Stasio. And also the far-sightedness of the Municipal Administration of Moraro (green/progressive council headed by the mayor Renato Fiorelli) which supported the realization of a real territorial reconnaissance through more than ten exhibitions, which documented the "state of the art" of Capriva, Cormons, Mariano, Corona, Mossa and Moraro from the end of the 19th century to the present day.
Not to forget the great sensitivity, the organizational ability and, above all, the radiant smile of Alba Gurtner, dear, dearest Alba, who died of cancer at only 54 years old, at 3 am on Friday, March 16, 2012. It was the head and heart of the great initiative that involved just under a hundred artists who, in two separate moments, painted the outer wall of the former cotton mill of Piedimonte, creating mural works inspired by two themes: "The wall of the five languages" and "The wall of time". Today, thanks to the extraordinary intuition of Alba, those who pass through the area pass through a unique contemporary art museum that offers the work of Austrian, Slovenian and Italian artists
belonging to various generations, each characterized by different and original expressive languages.
An important role in this necessary, perhaps still too "shy", self-management of artistic activities is being played by the Cultural Association "Prologue", also born from a meeting between artists: Franco Spanò, Paolo Figar, Max Busan, Claudio Mrakic). "Prologo", which also runs a small gallery in Via Ascoli, a few steps from the Synagogue, has chosen to seek active collaborations with local authorities to create qualified contemporary art events such as the exhibition "Passaggi", set up in the charming interior and exterior space of the Castle of Gorizia.Then there are single episodes and particular situations that I would define as spontaneous but no less effective and significant than others. I want to refer, first of all, to the group of friends (Anna Devecchi, Franco Dugo, Michela Fabbro, Michele Fenzl Menardi, Giuseppe Longo, Piero Loviscek, Damjan Makuz, Igor Prinčič, Alberto Princis, Jaki Rener, Toni Simone, Emanuela Uccello) who wanted to remember, a few months after his death, the painter Nico Di Stasio organized a retrospective exhibition in Casa Morassi, in Borgo Castello, giving the prints a rich and complete catalogue that documents with emotional passion but also with due scientific rigour the complex human and artistic figure of the important painter from Gorizia. And how not to underline the particular sensitivity and the absolute availability always shown by Giovanni Fierro, poet (therefore, in turn, an artist) and owner of the bookshop "Equilibri" in Via Seminario (now unfortunately closed), who wanted to reserve for exhibitions, from the first to the last day of opening, a small, important space in the already small book shop. On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of its activity, "Equilibri" celebrated the milestone by hosting a beautiful exhibition by Franco Dugo, who exhibited works from the "Boxers" cycle.
And again, the painter Mario Tudor from Gorizia, who has lived in Milan for over fifty years, with a curriculum full of solo and group exhibitions in Italy and abroad, who, at the solicitation of a friend of Treviso's artist, has hung a dozen or so small works on the brightest wall of an ice-cream parlour in the historic centre of the beautiful Venetian city, obtaining great satisfaction and flattering criticism from the local press since the day of the inauguration. Not to mention another important talent that unfortunately no longer exists, Mario Di Iorio who, thanks to the generosity and willingness of the Friulian painter Renzo Codognotto and his son, a young and serious gallery owner, was put back in Udine, after a long silence, in a beautiful solo exhibition hosted in the gallery "La Piazzetta", in via Aquileia. Moreover, Mario was one of the six Isonzo painters (Roberto Cantarutti, Ignazio and Giancarlo Doliach, Luciano de Gironcoli, Enzo Valentinuz) gathered together in the exhibition spaces of the State Library of Trieste on the initiative of the Director pro tempore Marco Menato and Enzo Valentinuz.
And Ignazio Doliach of Cormons who received the due homage of his city and wanted, thanks to the work of his son Giancarlo (also an important and talented artist), to personally take care of the photographic documentation and the setting up of the anthological exhibition in the exhibition spaces of the so-called Museo del Territorio of Palazzo Locatelli in order not to overburden the expenses incurred by the City to realize the exhibition. And ahead with Sergio Altieri di Capriva, who created, almost by chance, an opportunity for a meeting between artists from Cremona and Gorizia "combining" the exhibition "Voices" on the walls of a bar in the centre of Gorizia. The Municipal Administrations of Moraro, Cervignano and Treppo Carnico who, at different times, both before and after the death of the great painter from Gorizia on 2 June 2006, wanted to exhibit the paintings, drawings and sculptures by Cesare Mocchiutti. And again Enzo Valentinuz, a painter from Romans, who could do an exhibition on his own in a famous farm in Gorizia on the occasion of the traditional "Cantine Aperte" (Open Cellars) festival and, instead, chose to transform the initial project: he gave up his exhibition and organized a collective exhibition of painting, sculpture and photography that was a flattering success and many visitors. And I could go on ... And maybe I could remind everyone that the Venice Biennale, at the end of the 19th century, was born thanks to the work of a group of Venetian artists in close collaboration with the City of Venice.