4 November 2023 – 29 February 2024
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Press release

The Guastalla Centro Arte gallery is pleased to present Franco Angeli's anthological exhibition entitled Souvenir, with 30 works, starting from a selection from the 60s but with a particular focus on the period from the 70s to the 80s .


Since the 1960s Angeli has been using stereotyped ideological symbols, which he draws from street furniture, symbols which have attracted his attention since he was a child and which summarize the rhetorical and celebratory character of the finds of an eternal and capital Rome; regarding these symbols he himself said: «My first paintings are testimony to my daily contact with the street. I saw the ruins, the gravestones, ancient and modern symbols such as the Eagle, the Swastika, the Hammer and Sickle, obelisks, statues, Roman She-wolves, releasing enough energy to face the pictorial adventure";

In the 70s Angeli still uses these symbols, now typical of his artistic language, reproducing them in his paintings in a serial way, these symbolic elements such as the coin, the "half dollar" are made a universal symbol, despite being by nature conventional objects; the effigy of the golden, silver eagle is a symbol strongly linked to American culture and, not surprisingly, in many versions produced the bird of prey stands out against backgrounds in shades of blue, white and red, colors that are a direct reference to US flag.


In the second half of the 1980s he addressed social issues and the condemnation of war, inserting apparently playful airplanes into his landscapes, but which in reality also had a destructive function, and landscapes which became even more exotic thanks to the presence of pyramids. and obelisks, elements of antiquity that merge with the present, thus creating a continuous cycle of infinite repetition of events.


As Giorgio Guastalla writes in his introduction to the catalogue, his relationship with Franco Angeli was born in the 1970s thanks to the presentation of Renato Guttuso and continued over the years with meetings at his studio in Rome and with the purchase of works; Franco often also passed through the gallery in Livorno, before going on holiday to Forte dei Marmi and in Livorno he resided for a short period to create the graphic works commissioned by Graphis Arte and which we are exhibiting on this occasion: in that period he stayed at the Hotel Palazzo and this episode is told by Livia Lancellotti in a nice text included in the catalogue.


For years we have been selecting paintings, drawings and watercolors to try to give a quality image of this important artist who, together with Tano Festa and Mario Schifano, gave a strong boost to post-war Italian art. These artists of the Piazza del Popolo School have unquestionably marked an important period in the history of Italian art and customs, creating a cultural turning point and indelibly marking an era thanks to their innovative contribution and strong originality which even anticipates some of the outcomes of American Pop .


Angeli was an absolute protagonist of this movement and today his work is receiving the recognition and importance it deserves also thanks to the precious work of the Angeli Archive in Rome, carried out by his daughter Maria who on this occasion kindly granted some materials for the creation of the catalogue; we are happy to witness this affirmation having believed in his talent from the beginning.



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