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Kandinsky, Harmony preserved. Behind the scenes of the restoration

The exhibition project originates from the collaboration between the CRC Foundation, the City of Bergamo, the GAMeC – Bergamo Modern and Contemporary Art Gallery and the “La Venaria Reale” Conservation and Restoration Center.

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The protagonist of the exhibition will be the work “Spitz-Rund”, oil on cardboard made by Kandinskij in 1925, which became part of the Collections of GAMeC in 1999 thanks to the donation of Gianfranco and Luigia Spajani.


Thursday, November 15 at 17.30, at the Museum of Ceramics of Mondovì (Palazzo Fauzone of Germagnano, Piazza Maggiore 1), will take place the inauguration of the exhibition “Kandinskij, harmony preserved. Behind the scenes of the restoration “. The protagonist of the exhibition will be the work “Spitz-Rund”, oil on cardboard made by Kandinskij in 1925, which became part of the Collections of GAMeC in 1999 thanks to the donation of Gianfranco and Luigia Spajani. The work has been the subject of an accurate diagnostic analysis conducted by the Conservation and Restoration Center “La Venaria Reale”, from which emerged unpublished details on its state of conservation and its history. The exhibition will be open until Sunday 3 February from Tuesday to Friday from 3 to 6 pm; Saturday and Sunday from 10 to 18.

The preparation of the exhibition was preceded by an in-depth diagnostic campaign functional to the study of the artefact and to support the definition of materials and methods of intervention, curated by the “La Venaria Reale” Conservation and Restoration Center. The painting has undergone a series of scientific analyzes, starting from the diagnostic imaging campaign to the in-depth analysis of the executive technique and the state of conservation, through advanced non-invasive techniques and precise micro-sampling. At the end of this first phase, the Conservation and Restoration Center intervened on the work with the consolidation of some points that presented problems of adhesion between the preparation and the paper support. The comparison between the data and the observations made directly on the painting now allows us to present it with a significant set of information, useful for a better understanding and for its future conservation. The installation in the exhibition spaces of the Ceramics Museum will accompany the visitor through the different stages of the project: the exhibition opens a section dedicated to the analysis and restoration phases, illustrated by photos, graphs, but also by the exposure of the tools used and from the story through applications and videos of the observation of the work and of the operations carried out by the restorer. It continues with the section dedicated to the biography of the painting – its complex stratigraphy, the materials used – to finally arrive at the vision of the same, displayed in a specially designed case that protects it from possible changes in temperature and humidity. Finally, in an area dedicated to children, the materials are made available to create a personal version of Spitz-Rund, using the forms that compose it.

“After the great interest aroused last year by the project on Manet – said Giandomenico Genta, President of the CRC Foundation – this year the Foundation wanted to bring to Mondovì the work of a world famous artist, inserting the moment dedicated to exposure to the public in the context of a larger project, of research and commitment on the conservation front, which has allowed us to discover and present unpublished information on the construction, conservation and history of the work “. “I express the profound gratitude of the whole city – adds Nadia Ghisalberti, Councilor for Culture of the Municipality of Bergamo – towards the Cassa di Risparmio Foundation of Cuneo and the” La Venaria Reale “Conservation and Restoration Center for supporting and carrying out the restoration respectively of Kandinsky’s work, public heritage held at GAMeC – Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art. An important initiative that sees among its strengths also the return to the public of the in-depth study phases of a twentieth century masterpiece, which Bergamo is proud to guard “.

“The Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art of Bergamo is one of the few Italian museums that can boast a work by Kandinsky in their collections – concludes Lorenzo Giusti, Director of GAMeC -. Since 1999, the year in which the entrepreneur Gianfranco Spajani and his wife Luigia donated their collection to the City of Bergamo with the aim of creating a first nucleus on which to base the development of the museum collections, Spitz-Rundè became one of the works more famous than our heritage, and the subject of major international loans. The opening of this exhibition, at the conclusion of a campaign of diagnostic investigations that allowed to acquire valuable information on its history, is now a unique opportunity for the public, who has the opportunity to admire the painting outside the walls of the GAMeC “. “Strengthening collaboration with local and national institutions is an important opportunity for our Foundation”, says Stefano Trucco, President of the “La Venaria Reale” Conservation and Restoration Center. “We are grateful to the CRC Foundation for making this project possible, which allows the public to get a closer look at the world of restoration and to tell us about our daily commitment to research and conservation of cultural heritage. The availability of GAMeC and the Municipality of Bergamo, which have entrusted us with an extraordinary work, has provided our laboratories with a very interesting and complex case study, which further enhances our experience in the field of conservation of contemporary art works “.

Wassilij Kandinskij (1866-1944) was born and raised in a wealthy family in Moscow. After his studies in Law he decided to refuse university teaching to devote himself to painting, a passion that, together with music – he studies and plays piano and cello – will mark his whole life. He moved to Munich in 1896, to come into contact with an international and updated context, he frequented the Expressionist sphere. They are years of intense production, pictorial and theoretical: in 1910, in fact, publishes The spiritual in art, a text in which he exposes his poetics that sees united anti-naturalism, abstraction and inner gaze, all contaminated with music. The chromatic lighting and friendship with Franz Marc led him to found, in 1911, the movement Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Knight). This is how lyric abstraction is born, linked to emotions and sensations.
After a brief return to Russia, from 1914 to 1921, at the outbreak of World War I Kandinsky returned to Germany, called by Walter Gropius to teach at the Bauhaus, a school of architecture and avant-garde applied arts. Here his works are influenced by a geometrical turn and a compositional rigor. The school, seen as a democratic stronghold, was closed in 1933, with the advent of Nazism, which brought to the fore the works of Kandinsky who moved to Paris the following year, to avoid persecution. He died in Neuilly-sur-Seine on December 13, 1944.


Spitz-Rund, 1925
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Spitz-Rund becomes part of the Collections of GAMeC – Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art of Bergamo in 1999, thanks to the donation of Gianfranco and Luigia Spajani. The work demonstrates the internationality of the collection donated by the entrepreneur from Bergamo and his wife who includes, in addition to the major outcomes of Italian painting of the twentieth century – including Enrico Baj, Giacomo Balla, Umberto Boccioni, Massimo Campigli, Felice Casorati, Giorgio de Chirico, Giorgio Morandi, Alberto Savinio -, also a varied selection of foreign artists such as Hans Hartung, Hans Richter and Roberto Sebastian Matta. Considered the father of abstractionism, around 1910 Kandinskij came to a painting that does not imitate nature, but which springs from an “inner need”, composed of shapes and colors that communicate emotions. After having favored structures born of improvisation, starting from 1922 it makes the most geometric shapes and the separate chromatic backgrounds. It is a compositional rationalization linked to the years from 1922 to 1933, during the teaching period at the Bauhaus, a state-of-the-art school of applied architecture and arts which is based first in Weimar and later in Dessau. Spitz-Rund belongs to this phase. The title of the work means “pointed-round”, clear reference to the geometric figures that compose it: in the monochrome field, in fact, geometries and lines overlap in the vertical momentum of the painting, in a dialogue between shapes, sounds and colors. The latter have precise correspondences for the artist: “the triangle is always yellow and is sharp and unpredictable”, compared to the ringing sound of the trumpet, “the circle, on the other hand, is a simple, complex and mysterious figure, symbol of the universe” it is associated with the deep, pure blue color, and with the heavy sound of the double bass or cello, or with the deep sound of the organ.

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