AQUA AURA – La stratégie du camouflage

La strategie du camouglage 2 (Large)

Curated by Marta Santacatterina in collaboration with the Chinese and Ethnographic Museum of Art

Parma, Italy

6. April – 19. May 2019

By guest author Clare Ann Matz

The Chinese and Ethnographic Museum of Art in Parma has opened its doors to the exhibition „La stratégie du camouflage“ by the artist Aqua Aura in occasion of the „PARMA 360 Festival of Contemporary Creativity“.

The gift 1 (Large)

The museum itself is a wonderful space, brainchild of  the Bishop of Parma, Guido Maria Conforti,  the museum testifies the attention toward various cultures on behalf of  the Xaverian priests who collected various Chinese artworks and objects made of ivory, wood, stone, jade; and a whole range of heterogeneous ethnographical material: prints, shoes, stamps,  jewelry, ornaments, screens, everyday objects, etc. from all around the world.

La Strategie du Camouflage 1 (Large)

The contemporary works of Aqua Aura, which include photographs and sculptures, as well as a huge video installation, establish a profound dialogue with the millenary memories of these distant civilizations and highlight the longevity included in natural, artistic and cultural expressions.

The gift 2 (Large)

Emblematic in this sense is the video installation „Millennial Tears“, which opens with the immense scenarios of the Arctic glaciers, so essential for the planet Earth, and with their sounds, to then narrow the visual field from the infinitely large to the infinitely small, with drops of human tears seen through a microscope.

Millennial Tears 1 (Large)

In the words of the artist Aqua Aura: An interview with Clare Ann Matz.

Clare:  You work with video, photography, sculpture, do you find that, although multimedia art has existed for a long time (see Leonardo Da Vinci), the art world distrusts those who easily move from one specialization to another? Almost as if creative artists who work on multiple medias cannot be easily defined?

A.A.: I believe you went to the mark with this question. In fact, there is a mistrust in this sense, coming from large layers of the „art system“. It seems that the difficulty of defining and boxing a multi-language falls on a part of the system’s processes; first of all the marketing of the works and the recognition of the „brand-artist“. Although, I have the impression, the problem is felt especially in Italy, in other countries it has less weight. It is as if the „public of buyers“ and of certain insiders need a formula with which to pigeonhole and archive the product of an artist to make it more vehicular, in a sort of prêt-à-porter object that allows to bypass quickly the effort of studying and deepening his demands. The dilemma of „style“ is still rampant, it seems, in this third millennium. I, on the other hand, am convinced that style is now a secondary problem.

Millennial Tears 2 (Large)

In my personal conception the work of art is the ultimate term, the synthetic reduction of a complex set of cues, intentions, arguments and goals, sometimes far from each other, that find their conclusion only after a tiring process of drying and filing find their space in the conclusion of the finished work. The advantage of art, in my opinion, is to keep in the small space of its manifestation and among the few selected „signs“ from which it is composed, the infinite variety of its „reasons“, in a sort of universality forced into its limitedness of object or in the banality of its aesthetic manifestation.

If it wants to be recognized as a sign of the contemporary, the work must be the mirror of the thought of its time. That peculiar form of thought that made it, in itself, possible; that put it, in some way, to the world.

Bony Still Life 1_Web (Large)

Sociology defines our time as the era of COMPLEXITY. Every form of expression, every action, every form of relationship the time in which we live is interwoven, intertwined, they almost never seem univocal, unidirectional. On the contrary, they seem to be born of a series of purposes, of impulses, of needs that are different from each other, often in contrast in a sort of reciprocal negation, subjected to a centripetal-centrifugal force. The result is a set of dissonant tones of a non-linear reality.

Clare: How much does a fascination towards alchemy affect your artistic research? I seem to see a passage from the Nigredo of the first works and „The Hidden Project“, to the Rubedo in „The Purple Resonance“, to the Albedo in „Millennial Tears“.

A.A.: I am amazed (laughs, ed.), impressed and fascinated by this form of reading. It is the first time that someone mentions the alchemical stages to describe the relationships between my works (laughs, ed.).

Carnal Still Life 3_Editoria (Large)

In the past, in my courses of study, I met and deepened the theme of alchemy and its relations with artistic production … even during the preparation of my degree thesis on Anselm Kiefer. But believe me, there is no intentionality of alchemical transfiguration in my various productions and in the passage from one work to another. If this is visible to your eyes, well … it is possible that it is the expression of a form of my hidden and deep thoughts, belonging more to my subconscious than to the „waking“ processes, and on which I have no faculty of lucid government.

„The Gift“ presents in gleaming cases enclosed by ribbons of tulle one of the greatest dangers that threaten human life: mad, crazy cells – disguised by a bewitching appearance – with which, directly or indirectly, almost everyone in the world must deal with either defeating them or facing their fatal outcome.

Clare: The fascination of science and illness. Your work „The Gift“ packs like a gift of pop virus sculptures, as if the disease were a gift. Why, where does this idea come from and how should the viewer interpret it?

The gift 3 (Large)

A.A.: I have to go back to the past, to my studies at the Academy. I remember one of my teachers told me – „In an opera it is important to know where to stop in order not to invade the observer’s space. An art work, of whatever type it may be, moves on a feeble boundary between the intentions of the artist and the journey the viewer must make; it must unite your personal reasons together in a harmonious relationship with meanings that are as universal as possible. It is important that you manage to find that small space in which your work is no longer irrelevant or sterile, but neither intrusive, to the point of removing the possibility for the public to move in multiple directions. When you have found this virtuous point the work will be finished „.

Here, with regard to „The Gift“ my personal reasons were born following the death of a dear friend of mine. After almost a year of decay and agony, a bone cancer turned her off. Following that experience I realized that the disease, in its various forms, had been touching me for years. It affected loved ones, friends and relatives, and enveloped me like an invisible cloak but I felt all the consequences. Along with this awareness, I began to realize that all around me, confronting and listening to the stories of others, a population of „touched“ or even survivors moved around. Other people like me who lived or had lived the same experience as me, sometimes silently, in the company of death that consumes, so much as to take on the appearance of a real person, as if it were another member of the group. I had found that experience truly „universal“.

A sort of common language that modifies the relationships with things and the gaze on existence. At one point I thought I wanted to build a „monument“ to this dark and cursed gift, that you are not looking for … only that sometimes it happens to you. Existence leaves you this strange „package“ outside your front door, to start a journey you would not have wanted to make. Of these stories, mine and those of others, I was struck by the power with which they drag you into a dangerous form of „Sublime“. A sensory condition that terrifies but that fascinates like the aesthetics of a shipwreck seen from the shore. Within this territory you live a form of individual transcendence and uselessness. You meet something that transcends your own actions, your saying, your fussing around. It makes them useless and inappropriate.

Millennial Tears 4 (Large)

Since then I have begun to collect and catalog images of cancer cells of various shapes and origins. I wanted to go to the lowest denominator of the experience, enter its infinitely small and represent that „unicum“ from which it all originates. One thing, a creature that, however small, contains in its form all the storm that will come, and I wanted to make it available to the eyes of others. I chose 5 of these archived entities. I set up vector mathematics and had it made by a computer in 3D sculpture or in 5-axis computerized prototyping. Once they became three-dimensional objects, I had them painted, choosing specific chromatic ranges used by car manufacturers. I wanted these objects to be distant from any subjectivity. I wanted them inhuman.

It was important that the public perceive this peculiarity at first glance. In the end I put them in museum display cases to turn them into objects of contemplation: dedicated only to the eye. They are nothing but what they are … enigmatic and foreign objects. I like that the work doesn’t immediately show up. At the beginning, unless you are an oncologist, the sculptures seem irrelevant, playfully aesthetic and seemingly useless. They can be exchanged for marine concretions or for deep sea creatures. Only after having revealed the nature of their origin does the public’s attitude change. At that point I stop. Up until that point I only staged the smallest and most concentrated point of a drama. The stories that are told later do not belong to me anymore. Each viewer has his own story to tell in front of the work, the fruit of his peculiar experience and his own personal history. If, on the other hand, he has never been touched by these events, work remains what it seems: a set of useless and vividly aesthetic objects.

The incessant metamorphosis of life finds its aesthetic manifestation in the two new series „Sweet November“ and „Carnal Still Life“, in which the digital elaborations of photographic images combine the environment of nature and typically urban objects with microscopic enlargements of cells, human tissues, viruses and parasites, in order to restore both the complexity of organisms and of the environment in which man lives beyond the complexity of contemporary artistic reflection.

3D rendering blue glowing synapse. Artificial neuron in concept of artificial intelligence. Synaptic transmission lines of pulses. Abstract polygonal space low poly with connecting dots and lines

3D rendering blue glowing synapse. Artificial neuron in concept of artificial intelligence. Synaptic transmission lines of pulses. Abstract polygonal space low poly with connecting dots and lines.

Clare: The „Sweet November“ series is an explosion of pop colors that attracts the eye only to then reveal a juxtaposition of micro / macro; junk / nature. It is very far from the meager ambiguous decay of your first works, how did you get there?

A.A.: To answer, I feel compelled to correct the premises implicit in your question. My work, as it appears today, has been like this since its inception. Actually, at the beginning of my journey, I had already decided to move in at least 3 different directions in terms of aesthetics and the languages ​​that are the consequence. The fact that only recently these 3 directions have reached maturity and can be distinguished in all their differences is due only to the „incidents of the journey“ or to the external stimuli that led me, for certain periods, to deepen some images more and others less. All the works you have had the opportunity to observe are the product of that distant choice, whether it is „Sweet November“ or of the bare and almost monochrome landscapes.

Between 2009 and 2011 I stood in the mirror and I saw myself as a western artist of the late age of capitalism, shaped by the infinite layers of images that preceded it, those of the history of art. Their presence in my mind was almost physical. So I decided to become a „traditional“ artist. In particular I chose the 3 genres that, for the most part, constituted the history of art of the old continent – Portrait, Landscape and Still Life. This was my field of action. Imposing these narrow perimeters, I built a discipline that allowed me to shape a „portrait of the world“ through a new hyper-realism, which is the ultimate goal of all my work. The use of technological and sculptural languages, the use of video for example, are only natural consequences when the perimeter of a two-dimensional rectangle is no longer enough to make each of those fields of action evolve.

Millennial Tears 3 (Large)

Although in many ways I have been defined as a multimedia artist, attentive to the contemporary, the path I have taken in the construction of my work is entirely focused on the history of images: in art, cinema and photography. Thus, together with the road that forges the „neo-Romantic“ and aseptic images of the landscapes, which first came to light, there is a parallel attention to Rubens‘ pictorial exuberance, in a sort of hyper-Baroque visual narration which, perhaps, offends the all-contemporary predilection for a drying and emptiness of the image.

Clare: Why „La strategies du camouflage“? What does this title mean with respect to the exhibition? Why in French?

„The strategies du camouflage“ has nothing to do with any of the themes that the exhibition conveys. It does not refer to works in their specificity but, rather, to the strategy that the works themselves assume when they enter into relation with the space that hosts them; especially when, as in this case, the place is full of other images, objects and another story. Depositing an exhibition of contemporary art in a museum designed for other forms of expression is a very delicate operation. The feeling that your intervention is irrelevant within such a place always accompanies you. The works, then, begin to take on the typical behavior of an animal with mimetic abilities, They adapt to the environment, they choose the angle in which to lie and enter into relationship with the context. They camouflage themselves as a new „sign“ between pre-existing signs.

Sweet November 1_Editoriale (Large)

The „Strategie du camouflage“ is a tribute to the arduous art of making sense of the signs of our contemporary life within the flow of history. The individual works, on the other hand, can tell a thousand other stories.

In French because, from time to time, I like to remember that Aqua Aura is an obsession that appeared to me in Belgium, for the first time, several years ago. That obsession spoke French.

The artist’s page: www.aquaaura.it

If you can’t make it to Italy to view this exhibit you might catch the artist’s solo exhibition AQUA AURA Landscape Flowers and Guts at the Galleria Kajaste in Helsinki (Finland) opening the 15 May 2019 or at the VOLTA ART FAIR in Basel (Switzerland) – Stand: Luisa Catucci Gallery – Berlin from 10. – 15. June 2019.

Sweet November 3_Editoria (Large)

Photo Credits: Aqua Aura

 

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Giuseppe Ragazzini: An approach

_Guarda a sinistra!_, mixed media on paper, 2006, 27x35 cm (Large)

Exhibition:

GIUSEPPE RAGAZZINI: INCONTRI GROTTESCHI

MORI Gallery
29 November 2018 – 19 January 2019
Vicolo del Vescovado 5/A, Parma, Italy

_Bus_, 108,3x77 cm., 2009, Giuseppe Ragazzini (Large)

By guest author Clare Ann Matz

Painter, set designer, and visual artist Giuseppe Ragazzini was born in London in 1978.

After earning a degree in Philosophy, he became fascinated by the vision of Henri-Georges Clouzot’s documentary Le Mystère Picasso, and in 2002 he began using digital techniques to film the creative process of producing the pictorial image.

Dedicated to both painting and pictorial animation, Ragazzini has developed his own technique for pictorial animation and digital set design, which makes use of huge videoprojections and „mapping“.

Vanoni Servillo, _Le Canzoni della Mala_6 (Large)

In his work, the image becomes subject to an incessant transformation from the permanence of its preceding elements – a flux, a digital collage of elements continuously superimposing over themselves.

His set designs and projections have been displayed across Europe in theaters including Milan’s Piccolo Teatro Strehler and Venice’s Teatro La Fenice.  His animations have been featured in several of the main international animation festivals, including International Trickfilm Festival of Stuttgart, Anima Mundi, International Animation Festival of Brazil, Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF), International Festival of Erotic Animation (FIAE), Festival Internazionale at the Palazzo Venezia in Rome, and Visionaria International Festival.new york philharmonic-giuseppe ragazzini-dolce vita (Large)

In september 2014 he realized the video set design for the opening gala of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra at Lincoln Center. In July 2015 „La Dolce Vita, the music of Italian cinema“ was put on stage at the 58. Spoleto Festival. He has also produced videos and set designs for famous Italian musicians such as Avion Travel, Paolo Conte, Vinicio Capossela, Lucio Dalla, Gianna Nannini and Ornella Vanoni.

_Uomo con bambino_, (detail), 2014, mixed media on paper, 70x100 cm (Large)_uomo seduto su poltrona_, 2014 tecnica mista su carta, 70x100 (Large)From _The crumpled series_, 2016 (Large)

Ragazzini’s paintings and illustrations have been displayed in international exhibitions, collections, galleries, books, and periodicals, and he collaborates with the newspapers La Repubblica and Le Monde. Giuseppe Ragazzini is the son of the Italian photographer Enzo Ragazzini.

He lives and works in Milan.

ingranaggi facce (Large)

Clare Matz‘ Interview with the artist:

In which ways has the rich artistic heritage from Italy and Europe influenced your creative language?

My work, especially when I use the collage technique, is largely influenced above all by the Renaissance and Flemish painting. I like to think that this is partly due to my origins, half Italian and half Dutch. These inspirations and suggestions are declined in an imaginary that largely takes inspiration from the reality of our everyday life. Just think of my series „Mysterious Routine“, a series of characters sitting inside a modern bus, made using pieces of Renaissance paintings.

Who/What have been your mentors/teachers?

I am self-taught, which in part I think has saved me from the risks of the „academy“ and the risk of losing the signs and the language I was lucky enough to find myself naturally with since I was young. I am grateful, however, to my parents who were able to recognize and support this pre-disposition without forcing upon it.

My father Enzo in particular (an internationally renowned photographer) was and still is an artistic and moral model for me, a great teacher, an inspiration, as well as a friend and a travel companion from whom I have learned a lot about the shape, the sign and the freedom of artistic experimentation.

From the theatre to television and animation films to the printed page; from pop music, to classical music and more. How do you approach the projects in such different „ambients“? Is there a media you prefer working with? If so why?

My language tends continuously to contamination. The various „drifts“ I have undertaken over the years have all been natural evolutions of a journey begun with traditional painting. Initially I started using digital technologies to summarize the creative process in its development. A technique that I call „pictorial metamorphosis“ was born when my father showed me the documentary: The mystery of Picasso.

The pictorial animation arrived only later, when I felt the need to „animate“ my characters, my paintings and my collages. My pictorial animation and my video scenography is mostly my pictorial works and moving collages. There is no particular field I prefer, the only criterion is the freedom I enjoy in these situations. Obviously, the more I am free from various conditions, the happier I am and I think this always affects the result obtained.

What advantages have the new electronic technologies brought on for creative mutimedia artists like you?

My relationship with the digital world is very strong, although always starting from an analogical base. I believe that in many ways this is an unhappy era for contemporary art, where bluffs abound and often the excess or the end is found to be „an end for the sake of it“. However, I must admit that being born in the digital age was a great fortune for me: I was able to experiment with technologies that did not exist or had exorbitant costs until a few years ago. Just think of pictorial animation or collage or video projections. I believe that the fact of living in this time is the face of my art and my research in the digital and interactive media, a sort of small link between tradition and modernity.

l'acqua non è blu alta hd (Large)

You have created a marvellously interactive app named Mixerpiece. Why did you make it and how did you develop it?

Mixerpiece was born as a creative and educational application able to bring children closer to contemporary art. For years I had this project in mind and the opportunity came after a large permanent installation that I made in the waiting room of the Meyer Pediatric Hospital in Florence, where I also designed an app for hospital children. On that occasion I finally approached the world of teaching and applications and then I finally managed to realize my project.

However, Mixerpiece is not just a children’s app, but it is also a powerful creative tool for adults and even professionals: it is a sort of digital magnetic board with a series of elements, collected in categories, that can be combined to create new collages with infinite and very surprising creative possibilities. The peculiarity is that all these elements are extrapolated from famous masterpieces of art of all the centuries.

If you make ‚long tap‘ on an element you open a card that shows the work from which the piece has been extrapolated and some insights. Creatively speaking the most exciting feature is the ability to change your collage by shaking the iPad, which automatically creates new combinations of pieces starting from the outline of the first illustration created.

What are you presenting at the Mori Gallery in Parma, Italy?

There will be various works on exhibition, from my digital collages, drawings, ceramics to some works that I would call sculptural. The exhibition will end with the screening of my video The Kiss, a passionate kiss collage (made using 60 collages composed of pieces of work by great masters of the Renaissance), a metaphor for the ambiguity and mutability of Eros and human sexuality.

Giuseppe Ragazzini kiss frames copia (Large)

The project presented is an evolution of the theme of the grotesque and the newspaper, a theme dear to me. I like to talk, sometimes even in a rather brutal and disquieting way, of what surrounds us.

I believe it can be defined a work on identity and its grotesque manifestations, a changing identity consisting of endless fragments in constant change. I would like to thank Virginio Mori and Giorgia Ori (curator) for this opportunity to show my latest work.

What other projects are you currently working on?

I’m working on a video set design for a play by Lucia Poli directed by Angelo Bruno Savelli and I’m working on a pictorial video mapping project for a table.

At the same time I’m planning a „Pro“ edition of my ‚Mixerpiece‘ application and I am carrying  on  with my work as an illustrator, collaborating regularly with some newspapers including Le Monde.

Thank you.

L'Illusionista, Teatro dei Rinnovati, Siena (Large)

 

 

Patti Smith: Higher Learning, Parma

Patti Smith, Slippers of Pope Benedict XV, New York City, 2007, 10 X 8 in (25.4 X 20.3 cm) (Large)

Patti Smith, Slippers of Pope Benedict XV, New York City, 2007.

A review by guest author Clare Ann Matz.

 PATTI SMITH „Higher Learning“

120 photographs by Patti Smith and THE NY SCENE „Art, culture and the new avant-garde movement in the 70s – 80s“
150 works of art by Galella, Ginsberg, Gorgoni, Makos, Warhol …

Palazzo del Governatore
Parma, Italy
Until July 16, 2017.

Patti Smith, Auto Portrait 2, 2003, 10 X 8 in (25.4 X 20.3 cm) (Large)

Patti Smith, Auto Portrait 2, 2003.

Higher Learning is a meditative journey on creativity and the passage of time, presenting 120 black and white Polaroid photographs taken by Patti Smith during her travels around the world, its title comes from the record Land, published in 2002.

Gianfranco Gorgoni, Jean Michael Basquiat, NYC, 1983, Lambda print mounted on aluminum, 180x130cm, -®Gianfranco Gorgoni _ Courtesy Photology.jpeg

Gianfranco Gorgoni, Jean Michael Basquiat, NYC, 1983, Lambda print mounted on aluminum, 180x130cm, ©Gianfranco Gorgoni _ Courtesy Photology.

The exhibition, organized by the University of Parma, the City of Parma and produced by International Music and Arts, celebrates the work of Patti Smith in occasion of  the honorary doctorate in classic and modern literature awarded her by the University of Parma on May 3rd, 2017.

The small photographs, taken with a vintage Land 250 Polaroid camera, are a visual diary showing the locations, the furniture, the statues, tombstones, and other objects which belonged to artists who contributed in developing Patti Smith’s cultural heritage, including Herman Hesse’s typewriter, Frida Kahlo’s bed, corset, crutches and medicine bottles, Paul Verlaine’s revolver, Margot Fonteyn’s ballet slippers and other relics.

Printed with gelatin silver process in limited 10 copy editions the photos defy the modern concept of digital photography, most images are out of focus and badly exposed, as if on a nostalgic quest, a longing for artistic masters and mementos from the past.

Patti Smith, Hermann Hesses's typewriter, Lugano, Switzerland, 2003, Gelatin silver print, edition of 10, 14 X 11 in (35.6 X 27.9 cm)

Patti Smith, Hermann Hesses’s typewriter, Lugano, Switzerland, 2003.

A yearning which has been at the heart of Patti Smith’s visual work from the very beginning, and whose embryo can be found in the book Babel published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons in New York in 1974.

Patti Smith, Pier Paolo Pasolini's grave, Giulia, Italy, 2015, Gelatin silver print, edition of 10, 8 X 10 in (20.3 X 25.4 cm)

Patti Smith, Pier Paolo Pasolini’s grave, Giulia, Italy, 2015.

Speaking about the honor of receiving a Laurea honoris causa Patti Smith comments:

„When I was young I dreamed of going to a big university. It is an honor to receive  the  Laurea honoris causa from Parma University, one of the oldest and most prestigious universities of Europe. I have always believed in the importance of education, and receiving this award from this eminent institution for higher education both embarrasses and stimulates me. This exhibition is a homage to another form of education. The university of life, of travelling, of books, artists, poets and teachers.

The images are visual representations of the pilgrimages and of gratitude, an ongoing love and respect for our cultural voices, for their great works and the humility of their instruments. A brush, a typewriter, the beds on which they dreamed. The places of their eternal peace.“

Patti Smith, gods hand rome, 2007, gelatin silver print, 20.32 X 25.4 cm

Patti Smith, God’s hand, Rome, 2007.

Gianfranco Gorgoni, Keith Haring in Front of Queens Bridge_, NYC, 1985, Vintage Gelatin Silver Print, 35,6x28cm, -®Gianfranco Gorgoni _ Courtesy Photology

Gianfranco Gorgoni, Keith Haring in Front of Queens Bridge, New York City, 1985.

The THE NY SCENE „Art, culture and the new avant-garde movement in the 70s – 80s“, produced by Photology in collaboration with the City of Parma, exhibits 150 images linked to the artistic environment which developed in New York City between the 70s and the 80s, when the city became the world capital of contemporary art and launched the Pop Art  movement and the Beat Generation.

The photographs exhibited illustrate a cauldron of art, sex, drugs, pop culture and literary avant-garde through the eyes of the artists that contributed in the creation of these movements: Galella, Ginsberg, Goldin, Gorgoni, Makos, Mapplethorpe and Warhol and others.

Christopher Makos, Altered Image-Portrait of Andy Warhol, NYC, 1981_82, 50x40cm, Installation of 9 digital pigment print, -®Christopher Makos _ Courtesy Photology

Christopher Makos, Altered Image-Portrait of Andy Warhol, NYC, 1981_82, 50x40cm, Installation of 9 digital pigment print, ©Christopher Makos _ Courtesy Photology.

However the alembic container of the Palazzo del Governatore purges them of the nitty-gritty, grubby, noisy reality of the Big Apple, distilling an essence of refined photographs, carefully enclosed in sober frames, which defy the very purpose of the exhibition, which is to illustrate the energy in the Big Apple in the 70s and 80s.

photology 102

Ron Galella, Mick Jagger, NYC, 08_09_1983, Vintage Gelatin Silver Print, 25,2×16,3cm, ©Ron Galella _Courtesy Photology.

The exhibition is divided in two sections „The East Side“ with Allen Ginsberg’s „Beat+Pieces“ portraying the poets of the Beat Generation with refined gelatin silver prints, including John Giorno, Gregory Corso, Julius Orlovsky and other interesting players of the scene such as Annie Leibovitz, John Cage and Judith Malina.

Allen Ginsberg, Francesco Clemente, Greenwich Village, N.Y.C., June 1992, Gelatin Silver Print, 30x40cm, -®Allen Ginsberg Estate, New York_ Courtesy Photology.jpg (Large)

Allen Ginsberg, Francesco Clemente, Greenwich Village, N.Y.C., June 1992, Gelatin Silver Print, 30x40cm, ©Allen Ginsberg Estate, New York_ Courtesy Photology.

Gianfranco Gorgoni who focuses more on visual artists with both b/w as well as striking, large Lambda color prints depicting Richard Serra, Francesco Clemente, Claes Oldenburg, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol and Keith Haring.

Nan Goldin’s Cibacrome „Everyday“ photographs recall the more familiar atmospheres of those years.

There are also two films: A documentary by Gianfranco Gorgoni about the owner of renowned art gallery Leo Castelli and the work of Swiss filmmaker Albert Schepflin shot in Sandy Daley’s room at the Chelsea Hotel with a soundtrack by Patti Smith chanting the poem „Thief“.

Patti Smith, Winged Cherubim, San Severino Marche, 2009, 14 X 11 in (35.6 X 27.9 cm) (Large)

Patti Smith, Winged Cherubim, San Severino, Marche, 2009.

The second section „The West Side“ begins with Andy Warhol’s „Instant Polaroids“ of artists and the jet set which gravitated around each other including Jane Fonda, Ryan and Tatum O’Neal, John McEnroe, Joan Collins, John Denver and artists Jasper Jones and Roy Lichtenstein. „Altered Images“  by Christopher Makos is a series of stark portraits of Andy Warhol in normal clothes, but heavy facial make up. „Not a drag act but 8 wigs, 2 days and 349 shots“, as Makos recalls, to capture the king of Pop Art in his multiple facets. At last Ron Galella’s „Disco years“ are just that, Polaroid pictures of celebrities at the Studio 54.

Patti Smith, Gabriele D'Annunzio's bed, Brescia, 2015, Gelatin silver print, edition of 10, 10 X 8 in (25.4 X 20.3 cm)

Patti Smith, Gabriele D’Annunzio’s bed, Brescia, 2015.

A small room with just one large photograph of a skull is dedicated to Robert Mapplethorpe yet one can spend a good hour there (they have placed comfortable benches) watching a clever 2016 HBO documentary film by Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey. „Look at the pictures“ depicts the extra-ordinary life of the controversial photographer through interviews with friends, school mates, colleagues, clients and gallery owners, plus historic footage, drawings made as a child, multimedia experiments at Pratt Institute and of course many exceptional photographs. Especially touching is the extensive interview with Robert Mapplethorpe’s brother Edward and the trial during which the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center was charged of obscenity twenty-five years ago.

Patti Smith, Michelangelo, David, Florence, 2007, Stampa su gelatina al bronuro d'argento, 35.56 X 27.94 cm (Large)

Patti Smith, Michelangelo, David, Florence, 2007.

As one exits the gallery a final room houses the double screening of Andy Warhol’s 1967 film „Chelsea Girls“, maybe an interesting experiment for the time, but quite insignificant after the overwhelming experience of a full immersion in Robert Mapplethorpe’s world.

Patti Smith, Columns (Gabriele D'Annunzio's garden), 2003, Gelatin silver print, edition of 10, 10 X 8 in (25.4 X 20.3 cm) (Large)

Patti Smith, Columns (Gabriele D’Annunzio’s garden), 2003.