11 November 2017 – 22 April 2018
Event: THE TROTOLA AND THE ROBOT. Between Balla, Casorati and Capogrossi
Mancini, Sartorio, Tomassi, Vagnetti and Noci from the Berardi Gallery at the exhibition “The Top and the Robot. Between Balla, Casorati and Capogrossi” in Pontedera at Palazzo Pretorio.
On 11 November 2017, the great exhibition The spinning top and the robot will be inaugurated at the PALP Palazzo Pretorio in Pontedera. Between Balla, Casorati and Capogrossi, curated by Daniela Fonti and Filippo Bacci di Capaci and promoted by the Pontedera Foundation for Culture, the Municipality of Pontedera and the Pisa Foundation, in collaboration with the Biorobotics Institute of the Sant’Anna School of Pisa and with the patronage of the Tuscany Region and the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism.
The exhibition, which will continue until 22 April 2018, is born around a prestigious collection of vintage toys owned by the Municipality of Rome, presenting together with the ancient toys about 110 works by Italian artists active between 1860 and 1980.
The spinning top and the robot compares two aspects of creativity linked to childhood, the one that translates into concrete objects, toys, once created by artisans and then by industry, and the one that represents and interprets childhood play in the arts. figurative and Italian plastics, from the end of the 19th century to the second half of the 20th.
These are two separate universes, which only from time to time have found a way to reflect each other (the toys) in the other (the works of art) and the long story of figures and objects that unfolds in the exhibition halls of Palazzo Pretorio , offers from different, dialectical or integrated points of view an unprecedented and evocative observatory on the changes in Italian society over the decades, on the variations of pedagogical models, of life and thought and on the often controversial relationship between the world of adults and that – far more mysterious – than children.
The works of Italian artists who have preferred the theme of childhood, will dialogue in the exhibition, around some key themes, with nuclei of playful objects, chosen from time to time for their social, didactic, but also more latently symbolic and dreamlike value. ; of these will be highlighted the formal change, the alternation of materials in use, their tapping into the technological changes taking place.
Among the significant themes identified in the exhibition sequence, the house coincides with the representation of the interior space, of the domestic intimacy in which the daily life of the adult and the play of the child take place. Large models of a doll’s house, differentiated between the upper middle class model and the more modest one, vintage dolls, miniature furnishings are compared with the works of Zandomeneghi, Balla, Casorati, Cambellotti, Francalancia, Campigli, Viani, Pirandello, Novelli with toys created by artists.
The relationship of the child with the life of adults, as well as in the game, is configured in the models of childhood education that are traditionally associated with it; the artists gladly portray the moments of formation of the child, from school learning to education in singing, music, reading.
In the room works by Mancini, Cambellotti, Lloyd, Levi, Capogrossi, Casorati, Mafai, Pirandello. Playing outdoors prepares the child for a different perception of the world with an expansion of the imaginative horizons which include the full perception of oneself and movement, the theme of travel, of exoticism; on the walls works by Muzzioli, Corcos, Boccioni, Müller, Erba, Magri, Sartorio, Capogrossi, Gentilini. The theater and the circus extend the amazement of the game into adulthood; the works of Balla, Cambellotti, Depero, Casorati, Natali, Capogrossi, Levy are inspired by this fantastic “double” of the world that is always renewed and confronted with theatrical models, rides for children and puppets.
Games without age recalls the pedagogical value of play, the ability to develop in the child, and later in the adult, his learning skills, critical faculties and all those attitudes to the organization of action in space and time; the paintings and sculptures (by Boccioni, Pasquarosa, De Pisis, Raphael, Severini Novelli, Santoro, Novak) have games as protagonists, from dominoes to cards, from chess to tarot cards.
Finally, the automaton room refers to the development, illustrated through the toys in the collection, of the theme of automation, which goes from the first naive spring elements to the most sophisticated modern devices.
Many artists who over the course of a century have reflected on the possibility of creating copies of themselves mechanically animated, on the ambivalence of man / mannequin, on its transformation into a mechanical robot: Metaphysics, Futurism, later the mocking Pataphysics have a several takes relaunched the theme, with expressionist, playful, tragic or ironic values (on display works by Grassi, Sironi, Pannaggi, Prampolini, Depero, Casorati and Baj). In this section, a significant link is established with the field of research in biorobotics conducted by the Sant’Anna Institute of Pisa, an Italian university center of excellence and partner of the exhibition.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalog edited by Daniela Fonti and Filippo Bacci di Capaci, with texts by the curators, Cristina Biagi, Giovanna Conti, Paolo Dario, Emma Marconcini, Gianfranco Staccioli and Claudia Terenzi (Bandecchi & Vivaldi).