Difference and Affinity
Difference and Affinity, a group exhibition of four preeminent Italian artists: Vincenzo Agnetti, Alighiero Boetti, Giulio Paolini, Emilio Prini. The first in a series of exhibitions aimed at showcasing the main themes of 1970’s Italian art, Difference and Affinity traces an identity of Italian “conceptual” art.
Poetic, elusive, playful, at times romantic – Italian conceptualism is clearly distinct from its British and American variants. The latter are mostly concerned with language and processes, and have the dematerialisation of the work of art as their main aim (‘Art as idea’). Italian artists, on the other hand, continue in the tradition of making artworks as tangible objects. The physical presence of the art object and the properties of its materials, a link with history and politics, the recognition of intrinsic aesthetic qualities: these elements remain fundamental in Italian art from the 1970’s, even in its more “conceptual” variants.
Through many important works from the late 1960’s and early-to-mid 1970’s, this exhibition illustrates the common features among the artists showcased, as well as their individual specificities and what makes them unique and impossible to classify in a movement or tendency. This is a feature common to several Italian artists of that decade, including some that had begun their career or had touch points with Arte Povera, but then went on to forge their own very individual paths (Boetti, Paolini, Prini).