From 20 December 1985 to 10 February 1986
Curated by Mirella Bandini
The core collection of the Museo Sperimentale d’Arte Contemporanea was begun in 1963 by Eugenio Battisti at the University of Genoa’s Istituto di Storia dell’Arte (History of Art Institute), with the aim of complementing the Institute’s educational programme with practical examples of art that could be related more directly to the debate on contemporary culture. The collection of art works, donated by the artists themselves, was accompanied by the founding of a library and archive, along with the organisation of conferences and talks with critics and artists. In 1966 the collection was donated to the Galleria d’Arte Moderna (Modern Art Gallery) of Turin, which exhibited the works the following year. The collection represents one of the most complete and innovative overviews – in terms of its educational content and concept – of Italian art in the 1960s. The Castello di Rivoli exhibition presented the entire original core collection, which continued to be expanded throughout the 1960s, alongside some of the more recent acquisitions; and also documented the comprehensive cataloguing and filing of the works, which was supported by photographic and restoration projects. The collection includes work by the pre-eminent exponents of Informal art – Burri, Vedova, Novelli, Tancredi and Capogrossi – along with that of artists such as Fontana, Manzoni and Castellani whose investigations into vision and gesture in the early 1960s were the genesis of Arte Povera. The collection also traces the development of Neo-Figurative and Neo-Abstract art, along with the contemporaneous Pop Art and Objectivist movements. Created to “broaden the debate on contemporary art and widen its audience”, the Museo Sperimentale d’Arte Contemporanea collection soon also became a stimulus for the museum institution, amplifying its function as a public forum for the discussion and promotion of contemporary art by directly addressing the work of artists and experimenting with new forms of interaction. As such, the collection of works from the Museo Sperimentale d’Arte Contemporanea exhibited at the Castello di Rivoli provided an exemplary model of research and innovation for the new museum to follow.