All art has been contemporary


I have never been a passionate of contemporary art(s)

Most of the contemporary art exhibitions I visited, the museums, the permanent and the temporary collections as well as art galleries and other similar institutions display items that I hardly define art. When I think a bout art my mind goes to the concepts of “talent”, “technique”, “ideas” merge together into an object that somehow speaks to me.

When you visit the Sistine Chapel in Rome you cannot stay untouched by the painting mastery of Michelangelo and you easily understand the full concept behind his frescoes, you admire his ability in conveying the sense of movement, and you get astonished by the techniques used to paint the whole ceiling of the most important chapel of Christianity.

Michlengelo, Leonardo, Van Dyeck, Velaszquez.. those are the names that my mind usually run to when the word art is spoken.

Despite my personal opinion, the city of Torino, where I live, is also referred to as one of the world capitals of contemporary art. From one side Torino was in fact the birthplace of several artiistic movements, especially by the end of the 1800s throughout the 1900s, while from the other side the city is home to the largest contemporary art Museum in the Country, called “Castello di Rivoli”.

I visited such museum several times and never get out very enthusiastic. I never got the same soul-touching experience I felt before the Moses by Michelangelo inside the church of St. Peter in Chain, in Rome, or the masterpice by Caravaggio inside the Church of St. Louis of the French, also in Rome. What I felt was a sense of design rather than art. Most of the installation I observed where pretty enigmatic to me as if it was made difficult to understand the message behind them. Bust most of all I felt a sense of lack of talent. I saw many ideas, but not a talent.

Castello di Rivoli – Photo from Internet

The Museum of contemporary art is located within the metropolitan city of Turin, within the context of a smaller municipality called Rivoli. The reason behind such location is the presence of a mighty Castle (included in the UNESCO World heritage as part of the Royal Residences of the House of Savoy), which was meant to become the Italian Versailles, although the project was never completed. Due to the lack of furnitures, this mighty empty palace was choosen to home the contemporary art museum, thus creating a double visit: the castle itself and the museum collection.

The contemporary art Museum has a permanent collection, inclusive of installations that were desigined and created on the spot with the aim to be displayed in a specific room of the palace, such as the iconic coloured walls by Sol Lewitt

Sol Lewitt Castello di Rivoli – Photo courtesy of Castello di Rivoli

Other installations can be moved from one room to another or displayed only for a specific period of time based on a turnation system that allows the museum to display more than what is actually possible within the context of the Palace. One of the artists who contributed mostly to this collection is Maurizio Cattelan, who provided several installations including the controversial work called “900”, which is basically the real body of a horse, dried with tassidermic process, hanging from the ceiling, as if it was a lamp. (Catteland is the same artist who provided the Golden WC displayed at the Guggenheim of New York).

Maurizio Cattelan – 900 – Castello di Rivoli. Photo courtesy of Castello di Rivoli
Maurizio Cattelan – America – Guggenheim Museum. Photo courtesy of Art Tribune

The coolection goes on with installation like these, which a visitor can appreciate and understand…or not.

By roaming around in my hometown this past full year I am paying attentions to details I never looked carefully at before. During one of my latest walk in the old town I saw a blue sign, on the roof of another museum called GAM (Gallery of Modern Art) which is located along one of the main boulevard of the city. The sign says: ALL ART HAS BEEN CONTEMPORARY.

For once I stopped to reflect a bit about my understanding of contemporary art and I realized that in fact Michelangelo works durin his own contemporaneity as well as every other artist in world history. I realized that art changes as well as every other aspect of life and I finally understood that, despite my lack of understanding, art is art all the time. I may not see a talent in the common understanding of the term but I can now see the work of someone who’s got something to say, maybe in a manner that is easy to understand for everyone and require a little more study but..isn’t that the meaning of life?

Therefore, although competition with other iconic museum in town such as the Egyptian museum ot the Royal Palace, I also invite you to visit the Contemporary Art Museum at Castello di Rivoli and the GAM in central Turin. It will be a different journey into arts.

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