ART IN GORIZIA: THE PROPOSAL DEVETAG-DEGRASSI
An exhibition that can mark the turning point of cultural tourism in Gorizia.
TO THE MAYOR OF GORIZIA RODOLFO ZIBERNA
OBJECT: PROPOSAL FOR AN EXHIBITION ON THE "GORIZIA SCHOOL OF PAINTING"
Gorizia and Nova Gorica joined together to become the Capital of European Culture, a hope and a project that could give rise to a cultural and touristic - and therefore economic - quality leap for a territory that, although belonging to two different nations, has surprising homogeneity, resulting from a long common history, made of traditions, languages, natural and architectural landscapes, of exchanges that even in the most tragic moments of the 20th century have never stopped.
And these identities are clear and evident especially in the field of figurative art: links so strong, osmosis of ideas and pictorial representations so strong as to become a "style": the exhibition that we propose and that has as its theme "The Gorizia School of Painting" proposes a new and unpublished reading of that "European region" of which Gorizia was the capital for a millennium putting it in its proper place, as a meeting point between East and West Europe and above all creative junction between Italy and Central Europe of whose artistic movements represented the synthesis, enriching its contents, thanks to men and artists of exceptional value, often underestimated or the subject of exhibitions that, although valuable, have never provided an overview such as to enhance not the individual author but the whole city.
We, therefore, propose an exhibition that fits perfectly with the project of European Capital of Culture that Gorizia and Nova Gorica are carrying out and that would find a solid foundation on which to base itself since it will demonstrate the close connection and continuous cultural exchange between Italian and Slovenian artists in the years of the First and Second World War. These very close and so fruitful ties constitute a unique, original, fascinating "case" in European culture and will certainly be one of the founding elements of the exhibition.
An exhibition on "The School of Painting in Gorizia" means reaffirming the existence of a predominantly Goritian style in figurative art and the adjective coincides with the noun: Gorizia is a vast, interesting, complex territory with a variable surface area but which has always had our city as its epicentre.
The school of painting in Gorizia - to which Luciano de Gironcoli dedicated a book years ago - derives from the thousand clues that we will bring to light in an exhibition that only for the names of the authors of the works on display can and must become an event of European significance. An exhibition on several venues that reveals how the city has been and still can "create" culture and thus to shape the main imprint, welcoming and elaborating a pictorial style of its own that derives from the original and conscious elaboration of the great and historical European trends, merging in an original synthesis the contributions that come from Venice, Ljubljana, Vienna and Munich and also Paris and Florence.
An exhibition that brings to light and enhances the treasures studied and often commented on with successful exhibitions, which lacked an organic synthesis, a narrative that highlights the centuries-old activity of artists such as Tominz, Spazzapan, Music da Del Neri a Pillon, are linked by this sometimes imperceptible but always present perception of the world, of men, of life which is "gorizianity", a Weltanschauung which, as art critic Francesca Agostinelli states, is "characterized by a singular atmosphere of clarity, of "clarity", of "clean air". In essence, it is a "way of painting" that, metabolizing the Austro-Slavic world, has been able to concentrate its artistic action outside of the national and international experiences of the second post-war period of the so-called Western culture. The "School of Gorizia has rejected the border and its caesura has continued to produce outside the historical dictates in a supra-historical awareness, nourished by its root and geographical/territorial peculiarity".
An anthological exhibition that originates from the centuries-old vocation of Gorizia as the capital of a vast and transnational area: an exhibition that provides a narrative that dedicates a prologue to the medieval role of Gorizia and from that "Goritian Gothic" that at the time of the medieval county illustrates many churches and small churches, uniting recognisably still today the Friulian Collio to the Val d'Isonzo.
An exhibition that brings to mind that synergistic role of our city also compared to the nearby Udine and Trieste already in the 18th century, when the rich and powerful aristocracy of Gorizia gathered around the rich and powerful artists from Udine and Trieste, whose works fascinate a Giuseppe Tominz, the painter who laid the symbolic foundation stone of the Gorizia School of Painting.
It was at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century that Gorizia's culture underwent a fundamental development, which has its epicentre in that extraordinary Staatgymnasium (today the seat of the State Library Isontina) in which personalities such as Carlo Michelstaedter, Biagio Marin, Antonio Morassi and Ervino Pocar were forged, but also many of those Italian and Slovenian painters who would later form the founding nucleus of the "Gorizia style".
It was in the period after the First World War that a "Gorizia style" was affirmed with strength and unprecedented genius: an extraordinary agora was created, with the café Garibaldi as the epicentre in which truly extraordinary artists discussed and tackled the themes of modern art. The Artistic Circle of Gorizia was formed (in Piazza Vittoria in the current seat of the Kinemax) and the great Antonio Morassi, who understood the importance of that circle and organized the first exhibition of Fine Arts of Gorizia, in 1924, of great success.
But the Gorizia School of Painting took on even more specific substance in the Second World War when a second excellent generation of artists, mostly born in the 20th century, made their way, even more, aware of painting and creating within an ideal Gorizia "style", just as the School of Art of Gorizia forms the excellent generation of artists that accompanies us successfully until today.
Written by: Antonio Devetag & Marino Degrassi