The “Gong” exhibition
Following the celebrated monographic retrospective exhibitions of Giuseppe Penone, Antony Gormley and Jan Fabre, and of the collective Ytalia, this year the battlements and the villa of Forte di Belvedere in Florence will host Gong, an imposing retrospective exhibition dedicated to Eliseo Mattiacci (Cagli, 1940), one of contemporary art’s major protagonists, included among the pioneers of Italian avant-garde of the late Sixties, craftsman of experimentation and renewal in sculpture, inspired inventor of cosmological iconographies and of new spatial and conceptual relationships between art and nature, between man and the environment.
A monumental presentation of twenty sculptures exhibited outside the fort and within the villa, in addition to an extensive collection of drawings, about eighty, which, for the first time ever, allow the public to admire the always supreme graphic activity of Mattiacci. It is an almost shamanic exercise, aimed at exploring the sublime of the cosmos, the orbits of the planets and stars, the rhythms and geometries that belong to the infinite universe, so as to draw stellar maps that today, just like millions of years ago, also function in symbolic, ritualistic terms. From his earliest works, iron sculptures that are actual assemblies of a new, as yet unseen archaism, Mattiacci has understood how to blend and reunite gestures that are human and those of the metaphysical imagination with the unfathomable nature of life in the universe and with the immeasurable energy of matter and among the stars, with the cosmic cycle of life and death, that of being and nothingness, the forces that are visible and those not still invisible in space and time, such as magnetic attraction and gravity.
Located within the interior spaces of the Fortress, important historical works such as the Tubo (Tube) (1967) can be found. This work, measuring approximately sixty metres of extension, will be presented along with – for the first time since the exhibition at the Galleria L’Attico in Rome – the Installation Recupero di un mito (Recovery of a Myth) (1975), as will also be found the sound installation Echi di suoni e cani che abbaiano (Echoes of sounds and dogs barking) (1983). Upon leaving the villa, in the large terraced gardens of Forte di Belvedere, one finds the large works of corten steel of cosmic astronomical inspiration, with one side oriented toward the great Renaissance construction site which is the city of Florence, and the other side directed toward the hills that host the Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory, not far from the final residence of Galileo Galilei.