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In Pictures: Giorgio de Chirico and Giorgio Morandi: 'Rays of Light in Italian Modern Art’
The Futurism is now: More than 140 original artworks by Giorgio de Chirico and Giorgio on exhibit at Modern Art Museum.
By Jun 19, 2017 Arts


Opened on Saturday, Modern Art Museum is hosting a massive and enthralling exhibition of modernist pieces from two of Italy's chief innovators: "Metaphysical painters" Giorgio de Chirico and Giorgio Morandi. Organized as retrospectives of the two artists' careers, for the first time in Shanghai, on display are Giorgio de Chirico iconic proto-Surrealism works The Song of Love (pictured above), The Disquieting Muses, and Mystery and Melancholy of a Street, as well as Giorgio Morandi's own prolific career in Natura Morta and landscape pieces. Darkened porticoes and loggias, disjointed figures, lights and shadows stretched across empty city streets, bombast and subtly, from the covers of Art History 101 textbooks around the world, it's all in the flesh on a Shanghai museum wall. For fans of Surrealism, Italian Futurism, mid-20th century existential emptiness and fantastical escapism, this is really one to make the trip down for.

SmartShanghai posted up on the museum this morning with our trusty SLR camera. Here's a peak inside. If you'd like to go yourself, SmartTicket is handling entry tickets for the event right here.


Riders on the storm...

One of the highlights is Giorgio de Chirico L'Apocalisse, 20 etchings in 160 exemplars that illustrate the Apocalypse of St. John. Presented with a "feeling of amazed playfulness" according to the accompanying documentation, the series depicts the final judgement with a bright and child-like vision. Said the artist: "In that great strange house that is The Apocalypse... I dream curious and happy, like the child among his toys on Christmas night."

So metal.

Known for his "surreal" works that juxtapose incongruous subject elements doused in light and shadow, Giorgio de Chirico's famous "Metaphyisical painting" is on display, as the artist wrestles with the attempt to "paint that which cannot be seen." De Chirico was a chief influence of the Surrealism movement, bridging technical ideas and themes from Cezanne and post impressionism with the impulse to explore the depths of the unconscious.

He also knew how to lay down some sweet prog-sounding titles for this works: The Nostalgia of the Infinite, The Philosopher’s Conquest, and The Soothsayer’s Recompense. Sounds like Rush.

Mystery and Melancholy of a Street -- this was definitely the cover of my university Art History textbook. Ahhhh, the malaise and purposelessness of modern life!

A self-portrait. Although the exhibition is primarily paint on canvas, they've also got some video displays showing as well. One video is archival footage from the BBC from the '70s, and features an elderly Giorgio de Chirico painting one of his most famous works, Sun on the Easel.

One section of Rays of Light includes de Chirico's work in set and costume design.

Although it's a less varied section of the exhibition, Giorgio Morandi's own forays into metaphysical painting are also represented in several versions of his landscape and still life works, exploring gradation, color, and hue. Private, and almost somber, the pieces are sort of a silent response to the bombast of de Chirico's, and the pairing of the two sets up an interesting metaphorical conversation of light and dark.

"It takes me weeks to make up my mind which group of bottles will go well with a particular colored tablecloth... Then it takes me weeks of thinking about the bottles themselves, and yet often I still go wrong with the spaces. Perhaps I work too fast?"


Giorgio de Chirico & Giorgio Morandi: ‘Rays of Light in Italian Modern Art’ is on until September 10. Tickets available right here.



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