It is open until April 18, 2022 at the regional museum Ferdinandeum in Innsbruck the exhibition"werden. From Michelangelo to ->". "werden" - the title of the exhibition - in Italian means "to become". And in fact the theme that guides us in the two floors on which the exhibition develops is that of the development of the artist from the 16th century to today. How has his figure changed in society? And what role does the institutional environment of the art academy play? Among many works of art and as many artists, the exhibition tries to shed light on these aspects.
Florence and Düsseldorf
Two of the most famous academies in the world confront this theme here: first, the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno in Florence, the oldest existing art academy, which was founded in the 16th century. The other institution is the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf: since the 1970s an important international training center for the figurative arts, a place of interaction between teachers and students.
From Michelangelo on..
On the first floor we find ourselves in Florence. This first part of the exhibition is in fact dedicated to theAccademia delle Arti del Disegno of Florence. The Academy was founded in 1563 - under Cosimo I de' Medici - by the painter and architect Giorgio Vasari, who was inspired by the figure of Michelangelo for the new institution. At the time of the foundation of the Academy Michelangelo is 88 years old and is already considered one of the greatest artists of all time. And he will continue to be considered so for a long time, since he will inspire entire generations of artists.
In the exhibition there is the possibility to admire (I don't think there is a more appropriate word) some of his architectural and anatomical drawings for the Sagrestia Nuova and the Library of San Lorenzo. For this "building site" in fact he designed both the architecture and the sculptures. We can also see here two study models for the statues that are part of this project. In particular the sculpture of the "River God". The original - the artist's only life-size model that has come down to our own time - is made of unfired earth and cannot be moved from Florence because it is very fragile. But here in the exhibition there is a very faithful resin copy that manages to give an idea of the artist's creative process in approaching the final sculpture.
The Academy of Design Arts today
The foundation of the Academy coincides with the historical moment in which the social position of painters and sculptors changes: they are no longer considered simple artisans, but artists! Don't be fooled by the name though. The Florentine Academy - which still exists today - is not a public educational institution. It gathers painters, sculptors, architects, art historians, scholars of humanistic and scientific disciplines interested in the preservation and protection of works of art. There are approximately 6,500 members of the Academy since its founding to date.
Among the oldest names are Benvenuto Cellini, Andrea Palladio, Tintoretto, Galileo Galilei, Artemisia Gentileschi and, of course, Michelangelo Buonarroti and Giorgio Vasari. Among the most modern Giorgio De Chirico, Marino Marini, Alberto Burri and Renzo Piano. There is no shortage of international names, such as Le Corbusier and Henry Moore. The works on display here are all members of the Academy. A rich overview of the history of art, with its currents and movements of recent centuries.
Beuys and the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf
On the second floor we are at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. This institution was founded in 1773, but began to play a very important role in contemporary art since the 1970s. Its celebrity has to do with the figure of Josef Beuys, who teaches there as a professor. A definitely revolutionary professor!
The photographic work "Eigenbewegung" by Katharina Sieverding on display in the exhibition documents the PINK LANE performance that James Lee Byars and Joseph Beuys staged in '69 right in front of the Kunstakademie.
Another work in the exhibition tells us about Beuys. The artist, who introduced materials such as grease, wax and felt into art, "performed" in 1971 a performance in which he washed the feet of some people in the audience. A replica of the enameled basin used for the performance reminds us of this moment in art history.
The social and artistic environment of the Kunstakademie is definitely undergoing a revolution... Beuys has in fact greatly influenced post-war modern art by helping to expand and redefine in a completely new way the concept of art and that of artist.
Not only Beuys....
On display are works by artists from the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf from the interwar period to the present. There are works by all current professors and others by artists who have taught there. Rosemarie Trockel created her work "Get Lucky" especially for this exhibition. Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, on the other hand, is exhibiting his neon work "Endodrome," which was presented at the Venice Biennale in 2019.
Here on the second floor, the architecture of the exhibition allows the eye to embrace several works of art simultaneously. This creates a stimulating dialogue between themes that are central to contemporary art: art and architecture, the inner life and death, the body and its transformations, the animal world and individual mythologies, the portrait and the self-portrait. All told through the wide range of techniques that art has made its own in the last hundred years.
In the exhibition there are several generations of artists: works are different from each other, but many of them deal with similar themes, examining them from different points of view (from my point of view).
On the ground floor next to the museum's foyer, there is also the digital exhibition "looking ahead," in which 25 young artists trained at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf present their visions of a possible future for art and the artist.
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A visual artist from Milan who not only works with brushes and canvases but also loves writing about art, culture, music, design and creativity.