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High School

Thematic activities: “Beyond” Lucio Fontana’s environments

“Ambienti/Environments” by Lucio Fontana

September 21, 2017- February 25, 2018

Background
“Ambienti/Environments” brings together in the Navate space, for the first time, nine Ambienti spaziali and two environmental pieces that Fontana made for galleries and museums in Italy and abroad between 1949 and 1968. The Ambienti spaziali (“Spatial Environments”), rooms and corridors that the artist began to conceive and design in the late 1940s, were almost always destroyed after their exhibition; they are Fontana’s most experimental yet least-known works, due to their ephemeral nature. Some of the Ambienti spaziali on view have been reconstructed for the first time since the artist’s death.
Lucio Fontana (b. 1899 in Rosario, Argentina – d. 1968 in Varese, Italy) was one of the most influential Italian artists of the twentieth century and the founder of Spatialism, an artistic movement that emerged in Italy in the late 1940s. Over the course of his career he investigated the concepts of space and light, and his work radically transformed traditional notions of painting, sculpture, and space, moving past the two-dimensionality of the canvas and foreshadowing many later currents in art.

 Areas addressed

  • Art history
  • History

Activity
The workshop will be divided into two parts: the first will be a brief lecture, accompanied by images, about the figure of Lucio Fontana. Putting his work into historical, cultural, and artistic context, it will focus in particular on the period from 1949 to 1964.
In the second, students will be taken around the exhibition by our Arts Tutors to observe and explore the Ambienti spaziali and environmental works reconstructed in the Pirelli HangarBicocca space.

Make space for manifestos!

“Ambienti/Environments” by Lucio Fontana

September 21, 2017- February 25, 2018

Background
Lucio Fontana (b. 1899 in Rosario, Argentina – d. 1968 in Varese, Italy) was a key figure in twentieth-century art.
In the 1940s, he presented his artistic theories through a series of manifestos that laid the foundations for Spatialism, a movement which tried to challenge traditional notions of art and space by using the innovative materials ushered in by advances in science.
The “Ambienti/Environments” show brings together, for the first time, nine Ambienti spaziali that Fontana made between 1949 and 1968. These ephemeral works, destroyed after exhibition, have been reconstructed through archival research and consultation with the artist’s associates. They combine painting, sculpture, and architecture, and employ new technology like neon, ultraviolet light, and fluorescent paint, in an attempt to move past the static, two-dimensional concept of an artwork.

Areas addressed

  • Art history
  • Italian
  • History

Educational goals
The goal of the guided tour is to introduce students to Lucio Fontana’s pioneering aesthetic innovations, through careful observation of the works in the exhibition space.
The goal of the workshop is to explore the theme of the manifesto, in the sense of a public statement that twentieth-century artists used to express their ideas for change, usually in accordance with specific stylistic guidelines.  Lucio Fontana’s environments will allow students to visually grasp and physically experience the theories expressed in the various drafts of his Manifesto Spaziale, the first version of which appeared in 1946 under the title Manifiesto Blanco.

Activity
During the workshop, the class will be split into groups, each of which will design and realize an artistic manifesto (drawing inspiration from the famous twentieth-century examples) that deals with the idea of space, in every sense of the word. It will be explained that even the graphic design of an art manifesto is often connected to the ideas in it; starting off from such observations, each group will have to come up with the form and content of their own “spatial” theories.

Thematic activities: The cosmos in “The Seven Heavenly Palaces 2004-2015” by Anselm Kiefer and in the temporary show “Ambienti/Environments” by Lucio Fontana

"The Seven Heavenly Palaces 2004-2015" by Anselm Kiefer and “Ambienti/Environments” by Lucio Fontana

September 21, 2017- February 25, 2018

Background
Lucio Fontana (b. 1899 in Rosario, Argentina – d. 1968 in Varese, Italy) was fascinated by the cosmos and keenly aware of the new horizons opened up by the scientific discoveries of his time; he explored the concepts of matter, space, light, and emptiness, using a wide range of materials to push the boundaries of art. In his “environments,” Fontana experimented with emptiness and light as a means of generating space, introducing innovative techniques and materials such as neon, fluorescent paint, and rubber, and foreshadowing the Light and Space movement that later emerged in the US in the 1960s and ’70s.
Anselm Kiefer (b. 1945 in Donaueschingen) is one of the world’s leading contemporary artists. The hallmark of his work is his distinctive use of both natural and artificial materials, often infused with multiple symbolic meanings.
One of the recurring themes of his work is the theme of terrestrial versus celestial space.
The Seven Heavenly Palaces 2004-2015, like Fontana’s environments, stands as a summation of the artist’s oeuvre, encompassing its main themes and concerns.

Areas addressed

  • Art history
  • Science

Activity
Students will be led on a guided tour of both Lucio Fontana’s “Ambienti/Environments” exhibition and Anselm Kiefer’s permanent installation The Seven Heavenly Palaces 2004-2015; it will show how the theme of the cosmos, a central one for both artists, was approached and depicted in different ways and through different media.

 

Talking art: “The Seven Heavenly Palaces 2004-2015” by Anselm Kiefer

"The Seven Heavenly Palaces 2004-2015" by Anselm Kiefer

Pirelli HangarBicocca is one of the largest exhibition venues in Europe for contemporary art. It is a converted industrial plant, measuring some 15,000 square meters, where locomotives were once built.
The site-specific permanent installation The Seven Heavenly Palaces was created for the opening of this space in 2004, and later expanded in 2015, with the addition of five new large-scale paintings.
Along with the “towers,” they form a single installation titled The Seven Heavenly Palaces 2004-2015.
Anselm Kiefer (b. 1945 in Donaueschingen) is one of the world’s leading contemporary artists.
The hallmark of his work is his distinctive use of both natural and artificial materials, often infused with multiple symbolic meanings.
One of its recurring themes is memory, both personal and collective, accompanied by a deep meditation on German history.
The Seven Heavenly Palaces 2004-2015 stands as a summation of the artist’s oeuvre, encompassing all its main themes and concerns.

Talking art: “Ambienti/Environments” by Lucio Fontana

“Ambienti/Environments” di Lucio Fontana

Students will be led on a tour of Lucio Fontana’s “Ambienti/Environments” exhibition, which brings together in the Navate space, for the first time, nine Ambienti spaziali and two environmental pieces that Fontana made for galleries and museums in Italy and abroad between 1949 and 1968. The Ambienti spaziali, rooms and corridors that the artist began to conceive and design in the late 1940s, were almost always destroyed after their exhibition; they are Fontana’s most experimental yet least-known works, due to their ephemeral nature. Some of the Ambienti spaziali on view have been reconstructed for the first time since the artist’s death.
Lucio Fontana (b. 1899 in Rosario, Argentina – d. 1968 in Varese, Italy) was one of the most influential Italian artists of the twentieth century and the founder of Spatialism, an artistic movement that emerged in Italy in the late 1940s. Over the course of his career he investigated the concepts of space and light, and his work radically transformed traditional notions of painting, sculpture, and space, moving past the two-dimensionality of the canvas and foreshadowing many later currents in art.

Uno, nessuno, centomila

“The Seven Heavenly Palaces 2004-2015” by Anselm Kiefer

Introduction
In his Seven Heavenly Palaces 2004-2015 Anselm Kiefer uses several objects imbued with a value that goes beyond what they represent: the tower, the book, the ship and numbered glass shards. The latter help us discover the star, the recurrent element in our daily life, geographical and political history, and – above all – religions. We will see how a seemingly commonplace image can hold countless meanings that are universal and subjective, immediate and hidden, shared and personal.
We will learn that each object can invoke an invisible world that goes beyond its mere representation: form and content, significant and significance, do not always coincide. The symbol is something different from what it appears to be, the visible part of that which is not present.

Focus Areas
• History
• Italian
• Religion
• History of art
• Philosophy

Educational Objectives
The young people will be asked to reflect on the multiplicity of senses that an image contains, learning to go beyond appearance to glean the true value that is concealed behind forms. They will understand the difference between sign and symbol, and the fact that, at times, they can be universal and shared by all, whereas at other times they are strictly subjective.

Activities
Starting with the recognition and interpretation of the symbols in The Seven Heavenly Palaces 2004-2015, they will ponder the broader concept of symbols and the contexts in which they are used. Therefore, starting from the assumption that any daily object can remain such, but can also acquire a myriad of meanings, the young people will be asked to choose an object, form, fruit or word that best represents them, to which they will attribute a content and meaning that will make them their own personal symbol, on a strictly subjective level.

Further information

Thematic Activities: Anselm Kiefer and Multi-material Painting

“The Seven Heavenly Palaces 2004-2015” by Anselm Kiefer

Introduction
Five large paintings from between 2009 and 2013, on display for the first time, enrich and expand The Seven Heavenly Palaces 2004-2015, the permanent work by Anselm Kiefer, bringing new meaning to it by creating an interaction between the installation and the new paintings. An in-depth analysis of Anselm Kiefer’s artistic practice reflects on the core aspects of his work, including the relationship between man and nature, and references to the history of ideas and Western philosophy.

Focus Areas
• History of Art
• Italian and Foreign Literature
• History
• Religion

Activities
The course will consist of two parts: the first in the form of a brief face-to-face lesson, with images showing the use of materials in Anselm Kiefer’s art from the 1970s onwards. In the second, the children will be accompanied by the arts tutors around the exhibition to observe and analyse the five paintings in relation to the Heavenly Palaces. At the end of the activity, they will be given a small fascicle with the key notions explained during the lecture.

Further information