Fantastico! Exhibition at Ateneum Art Museum Offers an Introduction to the Mysterious World of Magic Realism

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Cesare Sofianopulo: Masks (1930). Museo Revoltella – Galleria d'Arte Moderna, Trieste.

From 10 May to 19 August 2018, the Ateneum Art Museum hosts the exhibition Fantastico! Italian Art from the 1920s and 1930s. The exhibition explores an artistic movement known as magic realism, which emerged in Italy at the end of the First World War. The exhibition features masterpieces by artists such as Giorgio de Chirico, Carlo Carrà, Felice Casorati, Antonio Donghi and Cagnaccio di San Pietro. The works are drawn from esteemed public and private collections in Italy and elsewhere in Europe.

The art of magic realists is simultaneously realistic and far removed from reality. The works show us the world as it manifests itself, while at the same time superimposing new, dreamlike layers on it. Many of the works are like still images from a film. We can imagine what has happened a moment ago and what will happen next, as the scene unfolds. The magic realism movement is part of a wider interwar wave of realist and classicist modernism both in Europe and beyond.

The key artists featured in the exhibition are Felice Casorati, Antonio Donghi, Cagnaccio di San Pietro, Gino Severini, Ubaldo Oppi, Achille Funi and Carlo Levi. The works included in the exhibition by Giorgio de Chirico and Carlo Carrà will display the basic tenets of magic realism. Works by artists who are lesser known outside Italy, such as Mario and Edita Broglio, Gian Emilio Malerba, Carlo Sbisà, Gregorio Sciltian, and Cesare Sofianopulo, will demonstrate the diversity of the movement. The exhibition has been curated by the director of the Foundation for the Municipal Museums of Venice (“Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia”), Gabriella Belli; Professor Valerio Terraroli from the University of Verona;and the chief curator at the Ateneum Art Museum, Teijamari Jyrkkiö, in collaboration with 24ORE Cultura.

The Fantastico! exhibition features a total of 119 works by 33 artists. In the tranquil surroundings of the light-coloured exhibition halls, the powerful, large-scale works will receive the attention they deserve. Attached to the exhibition is the Piazza space, which exudes an Italian atmosphere and which is designed by the interior architect Eliisa Korpijärvi.

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