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'What Slick Rock Broke Open' by Rolf Nowotny at Museo Pietro Canonica, Rome

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The exhibition by Rolf Nowotny, the artist's first solo show at a public institution in Italy, continues the Fortezzuola exhibition cycle at the Museo Pietro Canonica.

Fortezzuola, conceived by Pier Paolo Pancotto, reflects on the relationship between protagonists of contemporary international art and Italy. Each author is called upon to make an original intervention expressly created for the museum, in strict relation to its historical and structural characteristics.

In line with these general guidelines, Rolf Nowotny, after having lived several times in Rome, conceived a project inspired by the historical and cultural context of the Canonica Museum, which articulates his creative path through installations, plastic compositions, graphics and sound. To give them a common denominator, a reflection on the idea of the sculpture and the meaning that this expressive system, around which Pietro Canonica has focused a large part of his production, possesses today. For this purpose the artist focuses on the theme of the human face giving rise to a series of "masks" performed with different means and technical solutions - plastic, resin, metal, natural residues - making more or less evident morphological changes (in color, in the measures, in the identity components ...) and presenting them in alternative solutions to the traditional ones: on the ground, linked together, facing the ground, mixed with objects in common use. Nowotny revisits the classical concept of portrait by offering a personal key to understanding the semantic value that this expressive genre, so relevant in Canonica's professional career, takes on in today's social context. Small figures with a savage, almost primitive flavor, appear in the windows offering another point of view on the theme of proportions and reproducibility in sculpture. To these are added some environmental and sound installations with which he ideally frames the works belonging to the permanent collection and the halls of the museum, modifying their visual perception and, consequently, the interpretative perception. In this way, he re-reads diachronic and transversal epochs and stories that settle in Fortezzuola, from the Roman age, represented by the archaeological collection, to the nineteenth-twentieth century, identified emblematically in the life and work of Canonica.

The works just mentioned (all made for the occasion and dated 2018) are arranged in number and variable solution on the different floors of the museum and are integrated with those belonging to the permanent collection thus emphasizing the virtual dialogue with the production of Pietro Canonica. Like Martin Soto Climent, Alfredo Aceto / Claire Tabouret, Tillman Kaiser, Claire Fontaine, Ciprian Mureşan, Nick Devereux, Benjamin Hirte / Chadwick Rantanen, Denis Savary, Şerban Savu, also Rolf Nowotny gives rise to a site specific visual journey developed while maintaining an attitude almost "performative" (working day by day inside the museum, abandoning himself to the suggestions of the place) whose final outcome will be known only at the end of its realization, that is to say, close to the opening date of the exhibition.

22.9.18 — 28.10.18

Museo Pietro Canonica

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