Contrasting the explosion of colour in the garden that surrounds it, Villa Bardini welcomes Spring with an exhibition… on the colour black. The show Nero su Nero. Da Fontana e Kounellis a Galliani is open from April 14 to July 9, 2017 and is put on in collaboration with the contemporary gallery Tornabuoni Arte, who loaned most of the paintings, and the Fondazione Roberto Capucci fashion museum, located in the Villa Bardini.
Black has long been the colour of sin, of absence of light, of dirt. Elevated in the Counter-Reformation, it became the colour of judgement. It has always represented mourning in Western Culture. Never particularly positive, it has nonetheless played an important role, in art and especially in fashion.
This exhibition, which the curator indicates is “by no means exhaustive”, explores how modern Italian artists have used this non-colour. The show starts off with Fontana, as many modern shows in Italy do. Here, we have one of his “cut” canvases, black on black, so dark he even puts an additional layer of black underneath. There’s a bit of arte povera, as one also always has that in modern Italian shows. But the true contemporary works are more interesting.
As we move through to more contemporary works, we see black treated in various ways. To show constellations, to hide yet reveal figures in modern allegories, to play with texture (see Francesca Pasquali’s neoprene sculptural wall hanging), to insert contrast with other colours.
Perhaps the part I liked best of this exhibit is the selection of dresses by designer Roberto Capucci, whose Foundation’s museum comprises the top floor of Villa Bardini. I’d already been to (and reviewed) a show at Villa Bardini but I didn’t realize that the Capucci Foundation is included in the entry fee. In this case, dresses “invade” the final room of the temporary exhibition in a room that kind of sums up the whole show and brings it full circle, Capucci with Fontana together.
The top floor displays a selection of Capucci’s dresses based on black, one more incredibly and sculptural than the next.
‘Nero su Nero. Da Fontana e Kounellis a Galliani’’
Curated by Vera Agosti
April 14 to July 9 2017
Firenze, Villa Bardini (Costa San Giorgio 2)
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 7pm, closed mondays
Tickets: € 8.00