The modern and contemporary art gallery of Bergamo will be the home for two of the most important exhibitions of Italy: “The Four Seasons” by Ryan McGinley and “Reasons” by Rashid Johnson.
McGinley’s “The Four Seasons” unites “Fall” and “Winter” with “Spring” and “Summer” in a single display. This exhibition marks the New York-based photographer’s first solo show in Italy as GAMeC highlights McGinley’s signature juxtapositions of nude figures and beautiful landscapes.
McGinley is considered one of the most important contemporary artists, so influential that the Whitney Museum and MoMA P.S.1 in New York devoted a solo exhibition to him in 2003 and 2004, respectively. In 2007 he received the Young Photographer Infinity Award from the prestigious International Center of Photography in New York. He grew up in New Jersey and then moved to New York’s East Village, becoming part of the irrepressible underground community of graffiti artists, skateboarders and artists. He captured this group of young people in their excesses and restless lifestyle, making them the main subject of his work, which culminated with his first publication, The Kids Are Alright (1999).
As the exhibition curator Stefano Raimondi explains, the exhibition structure “moves to the musical rhythm of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons: in each room there is a completely different sequence of horizons, colours, musicality and atmosphere, but they are all tied together.” The exhibition is divided into four rooms and presents over forty medium- and large-format works from the artist’s most recent production. In particular, the autumn and winter photographs represent a new moment of research and organization of the artist’s oeuvre and are conceived as an autonomous work. Starting in 2004, for ten years McGinley travelled the continent looking for an array of different locations and taking the pictures that conceptually compose the quartet of the seasons, but the two latter series are the most circumscribed and, in a certain way, the most intimate, tied to well-known and widely explored territories.
Reasons is the first Rashid Johnson’s solo exhibition in an Italian institution. The afro-american artist is central to the debate around the topics of identity, integration and memory.
Curated by Stefano Raimondi, the exhibition staged by GAMeC showcases a series of previously unseen and historical works to offer a more intimate yet also universal interpretation of Johnson’s artistic practice, moving away from simplistic labelling and entering into the fascinating network of the formal and narrative stratifications, suggestions, and personal and historical experiences that shape his works. With this show Johnson wants to offer a new point of view on the consciousness of the afro-american community about its role and place in the complicated American social scene.
The centre of the room is occupied by the imposing work Fatherhood (2015). This pyramidal totemic sculpture is a form of delocalized psyche and its exoskeleton – composed of steel cubes of various sizes stacked to create a three-dimensional grid – evokes the geometric compositions of Sol LeWitt and the modular works of Carl Andre. The sculpture interacts and makes dialogue with the works along the perimeter of the Spazio Zero, the works creating a constellation of readings. Amongst these works, Between Heaven and Hell (2012) is central to understanding the transformation of meanings in objectual forms. Goodbye Derrick (2012) is an exceptional abstract painting made with red oak flooring, the surface of which has been repeatedly branded with ambiguous symbols. The exhibition also includes the works Them (2014), Untitled Anxious Men (2014) and Positions (2015)
The exhibition will remain on display at Gamec through May 15.