The section devoted to contemporary art comprises around thirty works by artists active between the 1960s and the present day, allowing visitors to appreciate the evolution in the use of copper from Arte Povera to Minimal Art and the tendencies of recent years.
Alongside the creations of some historic figures like Lucio Fontana and Fausto Melotti, we have selected works by Carl Andre, Marco Bagnoli, Joseph Beuys, Pier Paolo Calzolari, Luciano Fabro, Paolo Icaro, Anselm Kiefer, Eliseo Mattiacci, Fernando Melani, Marisa Merz, Hidetoshi Nagasawa, Remo Salvadori, Gilberto Zorio and Meg Webster, as well as a number of artists belonging to a younger generation: Nina Canell, Laurent Grasso, Roni Horn, Alicja Kwade, Cristina Iglesias, Damián Ortega, Andrea Sala, Tatiana Trouvé and Danh Vo.
We have taken as our starting point an exhibition held in 1962 (at the Galleria dell’Ariete in Milan), at which Lucio Fontana presented a series of works realized in copper. It was a seminal event in the history of contemporary art. This time the abstract laceration of the canvas, a minimal gesture previously carried out with a scalpel, was transferred by Fontana onto sheets of copper, with more concretely material gestures, tools and consequences.
The layout of the exhibition dedicated to the period from the 1960s to the present day presents a chronological, at times semantic continuity. In the more recent interpretations of this metal, the languages and experiences have become to a more marked extent an expression of the poetics of individual artists. There is no univocity of intents and interpretations of the versatile red metal; the aim instead is to convey the variety of ways in which this material is used to speak languages that can be technological, political or emotional. Copper epitomizes well this rich range of modes of expression. This may be because it is a conductor: it makes the current flow, it makes energies flow. We can use it as a lens through which to look at artistic production and pick out vital, animated situations leading toward transformation.
The works on display are arranged in a sequence in which they hold a dialogue with one another, through shiny, oxidized or etched sheets, assemblages of interlaced wires, volumes projecting from the wall, spherical forms or reflective dishes, revealing the underlying poetics of these artists who have entrusted the expression of the results of their research to copper.