Contemporary Art in Villa Pisani Bonetti in Lonigo Nicola Carrino and Arcangelo Sassolino

Location: Villa Pisani Bonetti, Lonigo (Vicenza)
Project: Arte Contemporanea a Villa Pisani: Nicola Carrino ed Arcangelo Sassolino
Team di progettazione/Project Team: Progetto coordinato da Luca Massimo Barbero. Mostra a cura di Francesca Pola Associazione Villa Pisani Contemporary Art in collaborazione con A arte Invernizzi
Periodo di realizzazione/Time: 14 giugno – 8 novembre 2014 - VI Edizione “Arte Contemporanea a Villa Pisani Bonetti”
Documentazione fotografica/Photos: Courtesy Associazione Culturale Villa Pisani Contemporary Art
Villa Pisani Bonetti is one of Andrea Palladio’s early works (the project is from 1541 and it was built between 1544 and 1545), and now every two years houses exhibitions of artists who conceive and produce their works exclusively for this amazing setting

Villa Pisani Bonetti is one of Andrea Palladio’s early works (the project is from 1541 and it was built between 1544 and 1545), and now every two years houses exhibitions of artists who conceive and produce their works exclusively for this amazing setting – the Palladian villa in Bagnolo di Lonigo – where first the artists are the guests and later their works.

For the VI edition, the artists Nicola Carrino and Arcangelo Sassolino have been invited to take on the challenge of the complex identity of history, spaces and the relationship between the villa and its surroundings.

The “Contemporary Art in Villa Pisani” project began in 2007 given the wishes of the current owners, Manuela Bedeschi and Carlo Bonetti. This year the event has been coordinated by Luca Massimo Barbero and organized by Francesca Pola, while the Villa Pisani Contemporary Art Association with A arte Invernizzi have been responsible for the production.

The two artists’ works interpret their relationship with the venue, the spaces of a historic home which, unlike many other famous Veneto villas, still stubbornly conserves its private scale. It is a home that is lived in and not just an exhibition venue: there are the memories of the past but also the activity and creativity of memories yet to come, a component where the Contemporary Art experience is fully integrated and operative.

Historically, Villa Pisani in Lonigo was not just the affirmation of Venice’s power over the mainland, but also the full expression of a totally new and modern concept for the era, of liveability and rationality in the relationship with the land: the villa controlled the surrounding farmland and its configuration enhanced this function and opening onto the land.

According to the original project, the villa should have had two main facades: the first facing the river for the transport of people and goods to and from the Serenissima, and which is fully visible today, and the other facing the countryside, and left incomplete. The opening onto the land was not only formal (traceable in the architectural layout of the building, the position of the outbuildings, the main visual and transit axes inside the building), but, above all, subtended very strong cultural and artistic interest supported by economic and entrepreneurial drive. At that time villas were a crossroads for academics, artists, thinkers and the ideal place where to reflect and invent, along with places of work to harvest the fruits of the fields.

Today, in a perfect continuation of that research, that sharing of work and reflection, there are two new itineraries – those of Nicola Carrino and Arcangelo Sassolino.

Nicola Carrino’s Reconstructive Palladian sculpture is situated outside the villa: four large parallelepipeds inspired by Palladio’s thoughts in “The Four Books on Architecture” and are placed along an itinerary to follow and experience, a functional space that invites visitors to cross through, in the same way as the rhythmic variation of the Constructive sculpture 1/69 in 32 scaled modules exhibited in the Villa cellars. The dialogue with space is volumetric and physical besides being exceptionally conceptual: <<The sculpture is the shape of the place, rather it is the place itself. >> [1]

In his Villa Pisani Bonetti project, Arcangelo Sassolino begins from the reflection into the identity and driving cultural activities of the current owners, continuing the traditions of renaissance and baroque patronage, in the inseparable relationship between villa and owner (whose name is conserved in the villa’s name). In the central hall in the Villa, in the physical heart where the guests are welcomed, two portraits of the owners are placed opposite each other: penetration and tension in their gazes, imprisoned energy that their portrait generates.

The portrait photos were taken in close succession at high resolution, then printed on two large metal plates. According to a meticulous mechanical conversion process, using hydraulic pistons and metal supporting frames, the energy flows and tension needed to bend and compress the plates have been incorporated in the images: the full face view – typical of classical portraits – is unavoidably compromised and fragmented. As you draw near to the portraits and walk around them, there is the clear sensation that a new perspective has been invented that endorses the tensions impressed, first in the conception and then in the creation, with a new driving energy that makes the portraits vibrate and is concealed in the lines of their faces, in their deformed gazes that observe us.

Nicola Carrino (Taranto 1932) lives and works in Rome. He was teacher of Sculpture at the Fine Arts Academy until 1992, Academician of San Luca from 1993 and President of the San Luca Academy for the 2009-2010 biennial. In 2009 he was appointed Académico Correspondiente dell’Academia Nacional de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires, in 2013, Academician of Merit at the Pietro Vannucci Fine Arts Academy in Perugia. His works are found in the Roman collections of the GNAM – National Modern Art Gallery in Rome, in the La Quadriennale Foundation, the MACRO, the MUSMA in Matera, the Mart in Rovereto, the Neues Museum für Moderne Kunst in Nuremberg, the Museum Boymans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. Of his permanent works in public spaces there is the Relief on the façade of the Corviale IACP complex (Rome 1974) and the Urban reorganization of Piazza Fontana (Taranto 1985-1992). In 1971 he received the International award Bienal de São Paulo at the XI Biennial in San Paolo in Brazil. He has exhibited in the Biennials in Venice (1966, 1970, 1976, 1986), Paris (1967), San Paolo in Brazil (1971, 1979), Rome Quadrennials (1965, 1973, 1986, 1999). Since 1967 he has been designing public works for architecture and landscaping, with installation works of modular and transformable sculptures in iron and stainless steel called Transformable Constructive, Deconstructive, Reconstructive. From 1962 to 1967 he was part of the Group 1 in Rome, conducting rational research. From 1952 to 1962 he focused on pictorial research from realism to informal.

Arcangelo Sassolino (Vicenza 1967) lives and works in Trissino. After graduating from the School of Visual Art (SVA) in New York, and living in the USA for six years, in 2001 he held his first personal exhibition in the Grossetti Gallery in Milan. Of his most recent personal exhibitions we would mention Afasia in Palais de Tokyo in Paris (2008), Time-Tomb in the Z33 Museum in Hasselt (2010), in 2007 his participation in Ginnungagap/Pavilion of Belief within the 52nd Venice Biennial and in 2011 the production of the grand installation Small Animism in the MACRO Contemporary Art Museum in Rome. Sassolino has been part of important collective exhibitions in leading international artistic institutions. In Italy he has exhibited in the Arnaldo Pomodoro Foundation in Milan with his Italian Sculpture in the XXI century (2010), the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice (2009), the C4 – Caldogno Contemporary Culture Collection (2006), the Mart – Modern and Contemporary Art Museum of  Trento and Rovereto, where he took part in the ‘Per Esempio’ exhibition in 2005. Italian Contemporary Art in the UniCredit Collection, the Bevilacqua La Masa Foundation in Venice (2001). Abroad, his works have been exhibited in the Museum Tinguely in Basle (2010), the Essl Museum in Vienna (2009), the Haus für Konstruktive und Konkrete Kunst in Zurich (2008), the FRAC in Rheims (2007), the ZKM – Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie in Karlsruhe (2006).

[1] Notes by Nicola Carrino in the Exhibition Catalogue “Contemporary Art in Villa Pisani: Nicola Carrino and Arcangelo Sassolino”, Graphic&Digital Project Srl, Milan, 2014 pag.39

Chiara Centineo
Acciaio Arte Architettura 59