Marcello Grassi. Les Contes du Regard – Tales of the Eyes

IAGA Contemporary Art is glad to present to the public the solo exhibition Marcello Grassi. Les Contes du Regard–Tales of the Eyes, which is one of the stages of the itinerant exhibition project in Italy and abroad dedicated to the forty-year research of the Italian photographer Marcello Grassi (Reggio Emilia, 1960) internationally known for his investigation of the remains of the past preserved in museums and archaeological sites in Europe, from Ravenna to Arles, from the Louvre to the Uffizi, and told through shots of deep poetry. After the success at the Fondazione l’Arsenale di Iseo where it was exhibited in autumn 2021, Grassi proposes an exhibition especially designed for the halls of the IAGA Contemporary Art Gallery that supported the entire project and that represents the artist, proposing unpublished photographs of new research and accompanying them with the monograph published by Electa, trilingual Italian-English-Romanian, formed by an extensive anthology of photographs of the now forty-year research activity of Grassi. Through over one hundred photographs, taken in forty years of activity, the book reviews masterpieces and secrets kept in our museums, told by the lens of Grassi and analyzed in the critical text by Ilaria Bignotti and other contributions dedicated to the photographer by art historians and curators museum.

The spaces of IAGA Contemporary Art become a magical place animated by the sculptural presences coming from the most prestigious international museums, or from almost secret sites that the photographer has found with long searche: esspecially important is the sequence of photographs dedicated to Antonio Canova, master of the great neoclassical sculpture, photographed in his temple, the Canova Museum in Possagno. Masterpieces that Grassi portrays with attention to that feeling of carved stone capable of making her feel alive and vibrant, thanks to the studied printing technique that uses black in a masterful and dramatic way. The faces and bodies, the deeds and expressions of the statues acquire a vibrant light, and demonstrate, paraphrasing Italo Calvino, that a classic masterpiece has never finished saying what it has to say. The lacerating pain of the Laocoon complex, through Grassi’s photographic cut, is sublimated in the tension of the marble muscles at the back of the sculptural group; the sequence of carved faces from the museums of Arles, Munich, Palazzo Massimo in Rome, offers an almost filmic narration aimed at telling the persistence of desires and virtues, dramas and mysteries of every age, entrusted to the material, carved a second time by the black and light of Marcello Grassi’s photography.

Over 20 works, rigorously selected, highlight the artist’s ability to tell the past as a changing material that soaks in the rock and in the land of sculptures and monuments, making the subjects photographed live and present before our eyes.

Curated by Ilaria Bignotti

An exhibition realized by IAGA Contemporary Art

Exhibition venue
IAGA Contemporary Art, Strada Cloşca 9-11, Cluj-Napoca, RO

Visiting hours
Tuesday –Saturday 2:00-6:00 pm, and by appointment

September 21 – October 14, 2023

Thursday September 21st, 2023, at 6:00 pm

Press release (EN)

Museo Nazionale Romano, Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, Rome, Erma di Auriga, luni marble, 2020
Museo Nazionale Romano, Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, Rome, Erma di Auriga, luni marble
2020, fine art print applied on Dibond
Edition: 150×150 cm, 1/1

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