L'ombra del mare sulla collina

Works from the MAN collection

08/11/2019 - 12/01/2020

From Friday 8 November 2019 to Sunday 12 January 2020, the MAN in Nuoro will be hosting L’ombra del mare sulla collina exhibition alongside the Anna Marongiu retrospective. Curated by Luigi Fassi and Emanuela Manca, it will feature a wonderful selection of works from the museum’s permanent collection.

The exhibition offers an unprecedented look at the MAN collection, telling the story of more than a century of Sardinian art in a new way through a diverse selection of drawings, paintings and sculptures. It reconstructs the artistic events of twentieth-century Sardinia using some of the most emblematic works in the collection, continuing all the way through to the present day and establishing a close dialogue with various contemporary artists.

The exhibition title comes from a work by Mauro Manca and was chosen due to the clear-cut divide it forms between figurative and abstract experiences. Unanimously believed to mark a crucial step towards broadening the horizons of modern art in Sardinian in the post-war period, L’ombra del mare sulla collina by the artist from Sassari is the point around which the entire exhibition revolves.

The exhibition illustrates the heterogeneity of Sardinia’s art history, combining different worlds and styles, traditions and experiments, and showcases new acquisitions by Aldo Contini and Mario Paglietti.

The artists who feature in the exhibition include some of the key figures in the development of the different expressive styles that have characterised Sardinia’s art scene from the twentieth century to today: Edina Altara, Antonio Ballero, Alessandro Biggio, Giuseppe Biasi, Giovanni Campus, Teodorico Cavallazzi, Cristian Chironi, Francesco Ciusa, Giovanni Ciusa Romagna, Aldo Contini, Mario Delitala, Francesca Devoto, Salvatore Fancello, Dino Fantini, Gino Frogheri, Vincenzo Grosso, Caterina Lai, Maria Lai, Mauro Manca, Melkiorre Melis, Wanda Nazzari, Costantino Nivola, Mario Paglietti, Rosanna Rossi, Giacinto Satta, Vincenzo Satta, Tona Scano, Antonio Secci, Bernardino Palazzi.

Anna Marongiu

08/11/2019 - 01/03/2020

From Friday 8 November 2019 to Sunday 1 March 2020, the MAN in Nuoro will be presenting the first museum retrospective of Anna Marongiu (Cagliari 1907 – Ostia 1941), curated by Luigi Fassi.

The exhibition represents an important landmark in the MAN’s research into twentieth-century Sardinian and Italian art.

The exhibition revolves around three cycles of illustrations dedicated to literary masterpieces and created by Marongiu between 1926 and 1930: the complete series of plates illustrating A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare (1930), the illustrations to The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni (1926) and the plates for The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens (1929). This latter cycle, made up of 262 line-and-wash plates, forms the bulk of the retrospective. The cycle has been loaned to the MAN by the Charles Dickens Museum in London and can now be seen on display in a museum for the first time, ninety years after it was created.

Anna Marongiu, who died before her time in a plane crash in Ostia, is one of the most original and yet forgotten figures of the early twentieth-century Sardinian art scene. After studying in Rome and attending the English Academy in the capital, Marongiu embarked upon an artistic path that saw her experiment skilfully with numerous different techniques such as drawing, pen and ink, etching, oils and burin engraving. Her linguistic register, characterised by highly expressive lines, fluctuates between humour and drama, comedy and mythology, finding originality and strength in all the techniques she used. The exhibition devoted to her at the Galleria Palladino in Cagliari in 1938 was one of the first solo shows of a female artist in Sardinia, helping to establish her even further on the national scene, so much so that she took part in the Mostra dell’incisione italiana moderna in Rome in 1940.

The exhibition includes a short film on the artist, made by MAN and Film Commission Sardegna in partnership with the Charles Dickens Museum, and directed by Gemma Lynch.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue published by Marsilio Editore.

Il segno e l’idea

Works from the MAN collection

15/03/2019 - 09/06/2019

Curated by Luigi Fassi and Emanuela Manca

In keeping with the curatorial project as a whole and the subjects featured in Personnages and Allori senza fronde, the MAN will be exhibiting around twenty works from the museum’s permanent collection, including drawings, sculptures and paintings.

The featured artists will be Antonio Ballero, Giuseppe Biasi, Salvatore Fancello, Francesco Ciusa, Francesca Devoto, Bernardino Palazzi and Giacinto Satta, all key figures in the development of new expressive canons on the Sardinian art scene.

The exhibition offers an extraordinary opportunity to see not only finished works, but also drafts and anatomical studies, which reveal both a focus on the classics – reworking ideas in the light of the artist’s individual background – and the exploration of physiognomy that was of such interest to science in the late nineteenth century, profoundly influencing Sardinia’s cultural history.

The portrayal of the human figure in its symbolic dimension prevails in the works, with details of faces and shapes of bodies, while always maintaining a close connection with the world of twentieth-century Sardinia and Mediterranean island culture.


Maliheh Afnan

15/03/2019 - 09/06/2019

Curated by Luigi Fassi

Personnages is the first museum retrospective dedicated to the French-Palestinian artist Maliheh Afnan (Haifa, 1935 – London, 2016). Despite not yet being well known to the public, during five decades of intense activity Afnan was a diasporic witness to the events and destinies that made their mark on the Mediterranean shores of the Middle East.

The exhibition title is inspired by an evocative series of drawings entitled Personnages, produced by Afnan over the course of a number of years using mixed media and featuring a succession of human faces and figures.

The portrayals within the works simulate a crowd of ghostly presences through which the artist restores fragments of her existence during the troubled course of twentieth-century events in the Middle East. Each work conveys a face, a potential memory and a forgotten story, alluding to the uprooting of her culture and identity as a dimension of human destiny that is not only historical but also existential.

The exhibition narrative presented at the MAN is characterized by a series of enigmatic works by the artist on different supports, using a variety of techniques that include layering, combustion and plaster reliefs.

It also features two works from the 1970s: boxes subjected to a combustion process that evokes the contemporary drama of the Civil War in Lebanon, and an installation, constructed using ancient Bahá’í books, a faith founded by her ancestor Bahá’u’lláh in the nineteenth century.

The exhibition concludes with a display case containing a selection of small sketches and drawings.

These drafts reveal an aspect that runs beneath the surface of all of the artist’s work: the perception of the tragic as being inseparable from the dimension of humour and irony.

Born in Palestine to Persian parents from the Bahá’í religious tradition, Afnan’s life was a diasporic one, going from the Mediterranean shores of Palestine and Lebanon to the United States, Kuwait, France and the UK.

The historical and social events of the Middle East from the 1940s onwards characterized her artistic career, during which she testified to the traumatic events of those decades, such as the devastation caused by the Civil War in Lebanon.

The project is accompanied by a monographic catalogue published by Cagliari-based Arkadia, with texts by Sussan Babaie (reader in the arts of Iran and Islam at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London), Rose Issa (Middle Eastern art historian, London) and Luigi Fassi.

Allori senza fronde

Pierre Puvis de Chavannes

15/03/2019 - 09/06/2019

curated by Alberto Salvadori and Luigi Fassi

The Allori senza fronde exhibition pays tribute to French artist Pierre Puvis de Chavannes (Lyon, 1824 – Paris, 1898), a decisive figure on the European scene and a leading name in nineteenth and twentieth-century French art, who was strongly influenced by Italian Renaissance painting.

The youngest of four children, Puvis was born in Lyon, France, to a family that descended from the Burgundy nobility. He quit his engineering studies after the death of his father and travelled to Italy to recover his health following a long illness.

This Italian experience, together with his encounter with the works of Giotto and Piero della Francesco, made a deep impression on Puvis, who decided to devote himself entirely to art upon his return to Paris in 1848.

Puvis started working in the studios of Henri Scheffer, Eugène Delacroix and Thomas Couture, shunning conventional artistic training and instead painting alone in his studio. His interest in great heroic subjects and classical images led him to start producing murals, deemed to be the greatest aspiration of all the most ambitious painters at the time.

Allori senza fronde aims to shed light on de Chavannes’ symbolist portrayal of the human body and landscape, in keeping with his artistic style inspired by an innovative model of decorative painting that clearly looks to frescoes and the classical ideal.

The exhibition will feature around eighty artworks, including drawings, oils on canvas, sketches and drafts from international private and public collections, some of which have never been exhibited before, and will offer a general overview of all the subjects tackled by the artist during his career.

The French artist developed an original palette with multiple opaque tones, painting in such a way as to infuse his figures with solidity and character through a symbolist language that succeeds in going beyond the boundaries of realism.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue published by Marsilio, with texts by Louise D’Argencourt (art historian, former curator at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa), Bertrand Puvis de Chavannes (art historian, chairman of the Comité Puvis de Chavannes) and the curators, Luigi Fassi and Alberto Salvadori.

La Bohème. Toulouse-Lautrec and the Masters of Montmartre

22/06/2018 - 21/10/2018

La Bohème. Toulouse-Lautrec and the Masters of Montmartre

Curated by Claire Leblanc and Otto Letze
22 June | 21 October 2018

Opening: 22 June, h. 19:00

Press release

The industrial revolution at the end of the 19th century led to a social change -both negative and positive - throughout Europe. While industrialisation caused harsh working conditions, it also made available a large amount of new commodities and leisure events. People might have felt that by taking advantage of these newly available items and participating in all kinds of entertainments they could escape for a short time from the bitter reality of their severe everyday toil.

As both events and products needed to be promoted to the public, mass advertising became a necessity and opened up an entirely new branch for artists, graphic designers and printing companies.
This rapid development allowed artists like Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and his contemporaries to quickly revolutionise graphic reproduction. It was the beginning of the perfect blending of an entire art sector with an independent discipline: graphic printing became poster art.

The exhibition La Bohème shows the unique lithographic œuvre of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, presented in close interaction with works by his forerunners and contemporaries, who all experienced and lived in the Paris of the Belle Époque. This overview allows the visitors to sense and understand the origins of modern mass advertising.
The presentation on the premises of the MAN - Museum of Art of the Province of Nuoro in Sardinia - will be the start of an international touring exhibition through renowned museums.

When Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec moved to Paris as an adult, he soon became a chronicler of Parisian life. He was a painter who captured the exhiliarating society of le demi-monde and its establishments: racecourses, circus tents, theatres and opera houses, cabarets and brothels which became his ateliers.
There he drew the performers as well as the audience[no virgola] in representations that were direct, admiring and merciless. He made fun of the supposedly elitist audience, illustrating it in caricatural representations and at the same time elevated the lowly actors of these establishments – the provocatively presented singers, dancers and even prostitutes – to being the stars of his works.
Through his loving and unabashed representation of the Parisian life, the spirit of this time is embedded in Toulouse-Lautrec’s art up to the present.

To hasten the publication of his observations of modern Parisian (night-)life, Toulouse-Lautrec started to experiment with lithograph printmaking from the late 1880s onwards. He employed the technique for artistic use and, through the oversize dimensions of his works, his variety of lush colours, his brushwork and chalk- and spatter techniques, he truly revolutionised the discipline.
In only ten years, up to his death in 1901, he produced three hundred and sixty-eight prints and lithograph posters, which he considered of equal importance to his paintings and drawings: Even today, his name is linked closely to his posters of Jane Avril, Yvette Guilbert and Aristide Bruant. They became classics of art history long ago.

Prior to Toulouse-Lautrec, Jules Chéret and Pierre Bonnard had intensively used posters as advertisements for different events. When Toulouse-Lautrec started to experiment with lithography, his contemporaries, well-known artists like Alfons Mucha or Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen did so as well, and they too succeeded in creating true masterpieces. During their lifetimes, and because of their work, lithographs and posters were elevated from the status of mere mass advertising media to an accepted artistic genre.

Grouped into six sections, not only the Paris of Toulouse-Lautrec is brought to life by this show, but also the Paris of his forerunners and contemporaries.
The majority of the posters in the exhibition are advertisements for events of Paris nightlife, mostly combined with an announcement for a show. Others advertise products and services – the luxury items of those days for the working class.

The complete lithographic œuvre of Toulouse-Lautrec‘s advertisement posters can be found only in two museum collections in Europe. Together with works of Alfons Mucha, Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen, Pierre Bonnard[no virgola] and Felix Vallotton, a selection of a hundred and ten works will be exhibited at the MAN from 22 June to 21October 2018. The exhibition has been organised in cooperation with the Musée d’Ixelles of Brussels and the Institute for Cultural Exchange of Tübingen.

A fully illustrated catalogue in Italian and English, with text contributions by Tonino Rocca, Luigi Fassi and Claire Leblanc will be available at the museum shop of the MAN and at Silvana Editorale (www.silvanaeditoriale.it).

MAN_Museo d’Arte della Provincia di Nuoro
Via Sebastiano Satta 27
08100 Nuoro
t. 0784|252110

Petra Feriancová

An Exhibition on Doubt

15/07/2016 - 09/10/2016

Petra Feriancová

An Exhibition on Doubt


Press Release

From 15 July to 9 October 2016, the project room of the Man Museum will host Petra Feriancová’s project entitled An exhibition on doubt, curated by Emanuela Manca.

 The exploration of the processes of perception of reality and the construction of memory as well as the ways (hardly ever unambiguous) through which these take place are the recurring themes  in the work of Petra Feriancová. Through the use of diverse visual language - installations, photographs and texts - her works reflect reality in a fictitious way and raise doubts on the spatial and temporal dimensions in which the spectator moves.

In this installation created for the MAN Museum of Nuoro, the artist introduces a space-time situation that is open to multiple interpretations, a rearrangement of time periods and places through which to reconsider the ways of perceiving reality and art.

The spectator will have the feeling of being in a traditional ethnographic museum that illustrates Sardinia's life and occupations. The objects on display will in reality be replicas of common tools on an enlarged scale and re-made by hand with materials different from those of the originals. The change in scale and material characteristics clearly render the objects as created for purely aesthetic contemplation through a process of abolishing their functional use. They become untouchable artefacts, relics, that of which one perceives the form, even before our common knowledge realizes their initial purpose.

The exhibition thus materially calls up the idea of a faraway island, using exclusively Slovak elements - handicraft objects, photographs of folklore manifestation and festivities - determined by natural and cultural conditions that are surprisingly similar to those of Sardinia (sheep breeding, folk costumes, music, tools). The artist's aim is to demonstrate that just as our understanding and interpretation of history can be disputed, so can what appears before our eyes be persuasive even when non-existent or based on a fabrication.

Here, the typical impression of Sardinia is thus uprooted and questioned. Every representation of places is indicative of a precise reality, which in the space generated by doubt the artist succeeds in transforming into a metaphor: a process of personal interpretation that links individual experience and the mechanisms of comprehension conditioned by history and culture. Forms, images and traces of the past are received with the understanding that their original meaning has for some time been corrupted or lost, but for the very reason of this distortion of the "original" meaning the vision of reality can be questioned by redefining one's own account of the world.

Petra Feriancová's work was selected by the MAN Museum at the time of the Art Verona 2015, within the framework of the Level Zero project, to which some of Italy's most important museums of contemporary art have adhered. The exhibition has been organized with the contribution of the Slovak Art Council.

Petra Feriancová was born in 1977 in Bratislava, where she lives and works. She works mainly with texts, photographs and installations. In 2010, she was awarded the Oskar Cepan Prize for young visual artists organized by the FCS Foundation for a Civil Society, and has exhibited in many institutions, among which: Fondazione Morra Greco, (Naples, 2014), ISCP International Studio & Curatorial Program (New York, 2011) and the Brno House of Arts (2012). In 2013, she represented Slovakia and the Czech Republic at the 55th Biennial of Venice with the project titled Still the same place.



Garry Winogrand

Women (are Beautiful)

15/07/2016 - 09/10/2016

Garry Winogrand

Women (are Beautiful)


curated by Lola Garrido

At one year from the success of the Vivian Maier exhibition, the Museum of the Province of Nuoro is proud to announce the opening of a new important exhibition dedicated to Garry Winogrand, the father of street photography.


In recent years, Winogrand's (1928-1984) work has often been compared to and presented together with that of Vivian Maier. He too, as did the now famous "nanny photographer", worked in the streets of New York, starting from the early 1960s, and continued, almost obsessively, an extensive work of reportage.

Winogrand was one of the most important chroniclers of American society, as well as being one of the great international photographers of the 1960s and ‘70s. His observation of the habits of his fellow citizens, seemingly cursory, almost casual and often ironic, was influenced by the social photography of Robert Frank and Walker Evans.

Winogrand saw in the anonymous inhabitants of American cities the ideal subjects through whom to express his vision of the world, narrating unconventional stories, with no script or theatrical effects, always captured in public places: parks, zoos, shopping centers, museums, airports or during political rallies and sports events.

His technique is based on the use of wide-angle lenses. The many contact prints that have come down to us show that Winogrand went in search of a space outside his subjects, often exaggerating the slant of the camera. As has been written many times, it would be wrong to disregard the backgrounds of his shots as mere secondary elements, as irrelevant visual "noise". In Winogrand's original vision, the external details within the frame of the picture contributed to strengthening the impact and meaning of the subjects portrayed.

The MAN exhibition, curated by Lola Garrido and organized together with diChroma Photography, presents for the first time in Italy the complete collection of the photographs which in 1975 went into the famous volume “Women are Beautiful”, now a cult object. These are snapshots, proposed here in a series of original prints that celebrate the figure of women with a faithful gaze in which we see a mixture of admiration and irony, veneration and sarcasm.

In many aspects this is a controversial work, comparable to that of the poets of the Beat Generation, and was on the receiving end of much criticism. Indeed, if in the eyes of some interpreters the photographs appear as a joyous reflection on women's emancipation and sensuality, others - owing to the presence of shapely figures in succinct garb or miniskirts, or the lingering of the camera on breasts and posteriors - see them as the contorted expression of male chauvinism and misogyny.

What is certain is that it is not a superficial reflection on the new concepts of beauty, but rather a description of the social consequences of American counterculture, as well as a declaration in support of women's rights and freedom at a time when puritanism appeared to be questioning the conquests of the postwar period. The renowned photographer Joel Meyerowitz, Winogrand's friend, spoke of his work as a clash and an embrace, Winogrand as a contradiction and his images as contradictory.


Garry Winogrand (1928-1984) was born into a working class family in the Bronx. He began taking pictures while serving in the army. He studied painting at the City College of New York and photography at Columbia University. In 1949, he followed a course in photojournalism at the New School for Social Research of New York and from 1952 to 1969 he worked as a freelance photo reporter. His first important exhibition was at the MOMA in 1963. In 1966 he presented his photos at the exhibition Toward a social landscape at the George Eastman House in Rochester, together with Lee Friedlander, his friend and travelling companion. With Friedlander and Diane Arbus he participated in the exhibition New Documents (MOMA, 1967). He won the Guggenheim Fellowship Award three times (1964, 1969, 1979) and once the National Endowment of the Arts Award (1979). Garry Winogrand's documentary photographs appeared in magazines such as Sports Illustrated, Fortune and Life. On his death from cancer in 1984, he left an enormous archive of images, many of which never developed. A number of these were collected, exhibited and published by the MOMA in the volume Winogrand. Figments from the Real World (1988). Winogrand's works are present in the collections of the world's most important museums, such as the MOMA in New York, the Tate Modern in London and the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

Lola Garrido is an art historian specializing in photography. She curated the collection of the Banesto Foundation, which today enhances the patrimony of the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid. As an art critic she has worked with the most important Spanish journals. Her personal collection of photographs has appeared in many exhibitions.

The MAN Museum is an institution of the Province of Nuoro supported by the Autonomous Region of Sardinia and the Banco di Sardegna Foundation. 


22/04/2016 - 03/07/2016

The MAN Museum is pleased to announce the forthcoming opening of the exhibition Roman Signer. Films and Installations, curated by Lorenzo Giusti and Li Zhenhua.

With a treasure of more than two hundred films and a series of new installations created for this occasion,  the project at MAN Museum  will be the first solo exhibition of Roman Signer in an Italian museum.

Signer began his career as an artist in the second half of the 1960s, after working as an architect’s draftsman, an apprentice radio engineer and, for a short time, as a technician in a pressure cooker factory. Known for having defined a new concept of sculpture linked to process, transformation and movement, Signer created installations as actions, experiments, almost always solitary, for which he employed objects of everyday use (umbrellas, tables, boots, containers, hats, bicycles) activated by gunpowder or natural forces such as wind and water. These were processes mostly of explosions and collisions, visually and emotionally intriguing, which interpreted the empirical approach as an artistic challenge.

The MAN exhibition will be divided into two sections. The first, the result of cooperation with the Chronos Art Center of Shanghai, presents the artist's entire production of Super 8 films, a collection of 205 works covering from 1975 to 1989, the year in which Signer abandoned film and turned to other media. It is presented in a fascinating 100-channel video installation created in China and proposed here in a new, enhanced and further developed version. The video footage was shot in his San Gallo "workshop" or in natural settings, mostly in Weissbad (Canton Appenzell).

The second part of the project presents three new sculptural works created for the MAN exhibition, as always connoted by a subtle irony. Of these works, Ombrelli (2016) is a site-specific installation for the museum's staircase, a bizarre arrangement of umbrellas held together in an unstable equilibrium. Installazione (2016) is a sculpture that fills an entire room of the museum, a surreal itinerary that meditates on perception of the self and one's body, in which the observer becomes the object observed. The itinerary comes to an end with Occhiali (2016), where the light radiated by a Super 8 projector is altered by eye glasses. The sculpture is an unusual object, which seems to give an ironic view of the artist's production, on the border between sculpture and video, stillness and movement, action and vision.

he exhibition will be completed with a catalogue containing texts by Lorenzo Giusti, Li Zhenhua, Barbara Casavecchia and Rachel Withers. Besides the documentation of his new works, the catalogue will also come with a DVD presenting a collection of Signer's activities in Italy, starting from the early 1990s, in places such as Civitella d’Agliano, Stromboli, the Maremma region, and also Venice at the time of the 1999 Biennial.

Roman Signer (Appenzell, 1938) has participated in the most important international artistic exhibitions, such as Documenta in Kassel (1987), the Skulptur Projekte of Münster (1997) and the Shanghai Biennial (2012). In 1999, he represented Switzerland at the Venice Biennial. Recent personal exhibitions include: Bonnefantenmuseum in Maastricht (2000), Camden Arts Centre in London (2001), OK Centrum für Gegenwartskunst in Linz (2005), Aargauer Kunsthaus in Aarau (2006), Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin (2007), Swiss Institute New York (2010), Sala de Arte Publico Siqueiros in Mexico City (2011), Hangar à Bananes in Nantes and Kunsthalle of Mainz (2012), Kunstmuseum in Saint Gallen (2014), the Barbican Centre in London, Kunsthus Zug and Centre Culturel Suisse in Paris (2015). In China, Roman Signer’s work was recently presented at the China Academy of Arts in Hangzhou, the CAFA Art Museum in Beijing (2014), the GAFA Art Museum in Guangzhou and OCT in Shenzhen (2015).

Roman Signer. Films and Installations is a project of the MAN Museum, curated by Lorenzo Giusti and Li Zhenhua, in cooperation with the CAC-Chronos Art Center of Shanghai, with the technical partnership of the WTI International Co. Limited, the support of Pro Helvetia and the contribution of the Sardinian Region, the Province of Nuoro and the Fondazione di Sardegna.


Paul Klee

Animated Worlds

30/10/2015 - 14/02/2016

Following the exhibition dedicated to the relationship of Alberto Giacometti's works and archaic statues, MAN Museum of Art of the Province of Nuoro continues with its project that explores little-known aspects of the most important artists of the 20th century with an exhibition dedicated to Paul Klee (1879 - 1940).

Unprecedented in Sardinia, Klee is one of the most complex and original artists of the last century. With this exhibition, organized by the MAN Museum and the Autonomous Region of Sardinia, the Province of Nuoro and the Banco di Sardegna Foundation, curated by Pietro Bellasi and Guido Magnaguagno, with the scientific coordination of Raffaella Resch, the intention is to explore a fundamental element in the artist's work: the perception of the presence of a vital, generating principle inborn in the matter of things.

Specifically, Klee never spoke of “animism”, but his work appears permeated with an animated spirit to be discerned in all material reality and evoked by the artist's creative action. In “Superior Being” (Diaries, no. 660), through his vivifying vision the artist brings to life the generating element present in the different worlds that inhabit the cosmos, beneath the surface of things. Be they men, children, animals, objects, landscapes or architecture, Klee's worlds all obey the same law of nature, which the artist investigates and imitates.

A single vital principle governs the entire natural order, from large things down to the infinitely small. This principle seems to appear in many of the artist's works, especially in his drawings and watercolours of the 1920s and 30s. Works such as Feigenbaum (Fig Tree) of 1929, or Im Park (In the Park) of 1940, on exhibition here, and also the important painting Wohin? (Where?) of 1920, from the collection of the city of Locarno, displayed in 1937 at the Degenerate Art exhibition organized by the German nazi regime.

The representation of the animal world offers a series of parables and moral fables, where animals are elevated to the role of human beings with their vices and virtues. In the drawing Tierfreundschaft (Animal Friendship) of 1923, a dog and a cat go for a peaceful stroll, personifying the sense of friendship that can arise between two human beings.

The study of his architectural works reveals Klee's interest in the perception of form and comprehension of the organic, living element in it, evident in watercolours such as Americanisch - Japanisch (American Japanese), created in 1918, where we see stylized buildings rise beside the icon of the eye. “And once one has grasped the idea of measurability in connection with design, the study of nature will progress with greater ease and accuracy" wrote Klee (Diaries no. 536).

But the generative principle in all things can be seen declaredly mostly in the works that evoke or imitate the world of infancy, as in Hier der bestellte Wagen! (Here's the Requested Wagon) of 1935, but also in the very fine painting Getrübtes (Troubled), of 1934, from the collections of the GAM in Turin, or still again in the works where the figures are represented with simple, stylized childlike lines, as in the painting Gebärde eines Antlitzes (Expression of a Face) of 1939, from the collection of the Biella Museum.

Organic forms of life and spirits of matter enliven the different subjects present in Klee's works. An image that seems to find a formal synthesis in a work such as Figurale Blätter (Figurative Leaves) of 1938 where anthropomorphic figures, like small fetuses, live curled up in leaves representing incubators.

As an artist immersed in the spirit of his times, in which scientific discoveries followed one another at a rapid pace, Klee understood the upheavals caused by the theories of relativity and quantum physics, as well as the development of psychoanalytic studies. He reinterpreted them in his own way within a magical and phenomenic vision of the universe.


A catalogue of the exhibition will be published by Magonza Editore with essays by Pietro Bellasi, Guido Magnaguagno and Raffaella Resch, as well as the reproduction of all the works on display together with biographic and bibliographic notes.

Pietro Bellasi is an expert in the anthropology of art. He has lectured at the University of Bologna and the Sorbonne. He has curated several exhibitions and catalogues, among which "Giacometti e l'arcaico" Giacometti and the Archaic), Nuoro 2014; "Corpo, automi e robot" (Body, Automata and Robots), Lugano 2010, "The Giacometti. The Valley and the World"), Milan and Mannheim, 2000-2001; "Un diavolo per capello" (In a Foul Temper), Bologna 2005; Tinguely and Munari, La Spezia, 1994.

Guido Magnaguagno, a Swiss art historian, was the vice director of the Kunsthaus in Zurich and for many years the director of the Tinguely Museum in Basel. He has curated many exhibitions of contemporary art and is an expert in the history of Swiss art.

Raffaella Resch has organized and coordinated the scientific aspects of many exhibitions and catalogues at the Antonio Mazzotta Foundation. At present she works as a freelance expert with several artists and institutions.