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What You Need to Know: Tornabuoni Art’s On Fire brings together an ensemble of artworks from postwar avant-garde movements that have all employed the element of fire in their creation. The exhibition, which is curated Bruno Corà with support of Fondazione Giorgio Cini, includes 28 works, by Yves Klein, Alberto Burri, Arman, Jannis Kounellis, Pier Paolo Calzolari, and Claudio Parmiggiani, among others. Several have never or have rarely been exhibited, coming on view from the artists’ estates and through private loans.
Why We Like It: This is the first major gallery exhibition to interpret the radical and revolutionary history of the European postwar avant-garde through the lens of fire as a medium and a subject matter. Artists including Klein and Arman were attracted to fire for its combustive effects, how it leaves traces of its own existence wherever it travels, and how, in its moment of creation, it offers light, smoke, and spectacular visual effects. For Kounellis, his interest in fire comes from its historic symbolism. The artist has written, “My interest in this element lies…in its references in medieval legends where fire is identified with punishment and purification.” Taken together, the exhibition is a dazzling and poetic reconsideration of these famed artists’ aims.
According to the Gallery: “Naturally fugacious, fire has no shape, weight, or density. It has always been a source of fascination for artists, both for its potential effects on other materials and for its potential active presence in works of art. The postwar avant-garde movements experimented with fire on various materials, thereby exploiting its destructive as well as its generative effects. Thus, in the work of these great artists, fire became not only the sensitive protagonist, but also a medium of innovation within their pictorial and visual language.”
See additional images from “On Fire” below.
“On Fire” is currently on view at Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Island of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice, in collaboration with Tornabuoni Art through July 24, 2022.
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