With this exhibition of 40 works on wood, canvas and paper created from the early 1960s to 1987, we intend to ideally reconnect with the exhibition "The ghost vessel" inaugurated in the Guastalla Graphis Arte gallery in 1987, when the artist was still alive. Most of the paintings exhibited today took part in that exhibition held in the period in which the Guastalla gallery had an assiduous and continuous collaboration relationship with Tano Festa through their mutual friend Francesco Soligo: the catalog in which 64 paintings of the over 100 then exhibited were reproduced documents the importance of that event. The "Ghost Vessel" was the poem that Tano had chosen as a preface to the catalog and that we are now republishing at the bottom.
The current exhibition presents many of the themes dear to the artist: from the monochrome works of the 60s, to the first pop experiments, from the paintings of the 70s dedicated to Michelangelo and Italian landscapes, to the Shutters series, up to the works of the 80s taken from the cycles of the Italian squares, tributes to past artists (Egon Schiele and Picasso), Don Quixote, ancestors and bullfighters.
The tribute to Amedeo Modigliani is of great interest: enthusiastic about the management that the gallery itself had of the birthplace of the great artist from Livorno, whom he particularly loved, he wanted to try his hand at painting a large canvas inspired by the famous Nude with open arms. Currently this work appears in the permanent exhibition of the Birthplace in the section dedicated to the tribute of contemporary artists to Amedeo Modigliani.
Regarding his being considered one of the most important exponents of Italian pop art, Tano Festa explained in an interview with Antonella Amendola: “unscrupulously? what does it mean for you? Is the American pop artist who elects the Coca Cola bottle or the billboard as the status symbol of his culture unscrupulous? I'm sorry for the Americans who have so little history behind them, but for an Italian artist, Roman and moreover who lived a stone's throw from the Vatican walls, the Sistine Chapel is popular, a true brand of Made in Italy. And then Michelangelo's subtle homosexual ambiguity has always struck me... [...] however, more generally, my relationship with Michelangelo is one of plagiarism, because art is plagiarism".
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