Virtual exhibition of Piero Guccione, the new gallery online


By John

Virtual, but conceived on the south-eastern coast of Sicily, in the twilight and liquid light of Sampieri Bay. Immersed in the clarity of the Ragusa sky, among the unmistakable skeleton of Furnace Penna and the sand dunes that separate the Iblean countryside – the carob trees, the olive trees, the dry stone walls – from the eternal blue of the sea. Almost an invitation to travel, on the pictorial traces of the most lyrical of contemporary Italian artists.

It is the new online gallery ofPiero Guccione Archive who, five years after the artist’s death, with the virtual exhibition “Piero Guccione. The years in Rome” (until May 4, 2024) starts a dialogue with the artist’s admirers, giving them a digital space full of period contributions, anthological essays, newspaper articles and rare photographs. A true mapping of the artist’s first personal exhibitions which allows scholars, researchers, critics, gallery owners, collectors or simple enthusiasts to deepen their knowledge of the author with the necessary scientific rigor and the comfort of texts that are not always accessible.

Among the documents available there is also a unpublishedfound in Rome, in the library of National Gallery of Modern Art (GNAM) during the preparatory work of the exhibition: an autograph article for the magazine New World in which Guccione, just twenty-five years old, declares the reasons for his poetics and the choice of the figurative. A “modern” choice, very against the current for those times, it was 1960, and premonitory of the contemporary sensitivity towards the nature and the planet which the artist motivates as: “… the desire to make one’s conscience active towards society and reality (…) I don’t know where this choice will take me and if I will be able to make paintings that are such: I only know that this choice helps me feel more alive and close to Earth”.

The virtual exhibition brings together thirty-five works created in Rome between 1957 and 1972, some of which have never been published before. A true immersion in that “mysterious and serene” painting, to put it Dino Buzzati (among the documents available is his article from 1966), which attentive connoisseurs of Guccione’s poetics will already be able to intercept in those minimal portions of canvas that the master delivered with dense and thin brushstrokes of blue – as in Butcher’s (1960) and the series of Balconies (1965) – until exploding in Spring in via Flaminiafrom 1972, with the white blossoming of an almond tree in an urban flowerbed in Rome.

The exhibition begins with a VIDEO and a narrative voice in which Guccione, with an autographed text, talks about himself, his family, his training path, his pictorial “belief” which has made him a sort of “visual poet”. And then his departure for Rome at the age of eighteen in 1954, his first cultured acquaintances with Guttuso, Attardi and Vespignanithe debut in the early sixties, the first participation in the Venice Biennale in 1966 until that fateful, but unplanned, return to Sicily in the quiet of the remote Iblean countryside where over time the horizon will become an imperceptible line between the blues of the sky and the sea: “In Rome – says Piero Guccione – I always felt like I was passing through and always knew I would return to Sicily based on my painting. But in an unconscious way. While I was there, I didn’t think of returning to Sicily. It all happened naturally and progressively.”

Each single work is accompanied by an information sheet, to which are added four audio contributions and a selection of thirteen period texts, including critical writings with the prestigious signatures of Renato Guttuso, Dino Buzzati, Enzo Siciliano, Alberto Moravia and Luigi Carluccio.

The creator of the project is his daughter, Paola GuccionePresident of the Archive, who explains the reasons for the virtual gallery and the family’s connection with Sicily where the exhibition is ideally geolocalised:

For us, the Gallery wants to be a place accessible to everyone so that its art always remains alive in the eyes of its admirers. Furthermore, in the spirit of dialogue and comparison with the new generations of painters that was typical of my father, in collaboration with the Academies of Fine Arts throughout Italy, the Gallery will also host works by young artists. Its virtual location on the Sampieri Bay is a sort of restitution to the territory and community of Scicli where my father was born and worked for almost half a century in his beloved home-studio in the Modican countryside. But also an invitation to travel and get to know my father’s places, thanks to the photographer’s signature shot Gianni Mania, on the trail of glimpses, perspectives and shots of the Iblean landscape, its nature and its sea that he loved so much”. The visit – or journey – begins HERE