See the world through Morandi's masterpieces
For those who want to understand a master, perhaps there is no better chance than the exhibition "Giorgio Morandi" underway at Shanghai Jiushi Art Museum through October 9.
Promoted by the Italian Cultural Institute, the exhibition is the first complete review of the Bolognese master in China. It feature 51 original works on loan from the National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome, the Morandi Museum in Bologna, as well as the historical Giovanardi Collection.
Spanning his life, the exhibition unveils the "inner universe" of Giorgio Morandi. From oil, pencil, watercolor, graphite to etching, the exhibition includes his work in landscape and still-life of different periods.
The artist's charisma is apparent in his paintings.
Morandi was not affected by politics, two world wars, and the changing world.
Through his life, he didn't get married or even leave any record of his love affairs. The artist barely left Bologna where he just quietly painted daily objects around him in silence. His avoidance of public occasions or celebrity made him the most elusive of Italian artists of the 20th century, and his painting even more intimate and touching.
Morandi excelled at hiding profound thoughts in his seemingly common paintings.
"One can travel this world and see nothing," he said. "To achieve understanding, it is necessary not to see many things but to look hard at what you do see."
For Morandi, the great significance of life lay in small objects and excellence in banality.
Visitors might need to review the mindset of the artist so as to "enter" his pure "material universe" where a group of ordinary objects are cleared of redundancy and reduced to their pure nature.
Morandi once said: "For me, there is nothing abstract, I believe there is nothing more surreal and nothing more abstract than reality."
If inspected carefully, visitors might find the variation of arrangement of his later works.
Previously the bottles, cups, small vases and containers were placed next to each other, lined up in sequence, but in the rendering of his late years, these objects were grouped tightly together in the center of the canvas.
The predominantly light and subdued colors, the soft brushstrokes, the slight shades silhouettes and the surrounding sense of emptiness also give the paintings of his final years an air of fragility, an evanescence on the brink of nothingness.
Today his works are not widely and frequently shown around the world, as most of them have been collected privately.
"For reason of art and temperament, I tend towards solitude," he said. "My own desire is to continue to live with a little peace, which is the only thing that still allows me to work."
Date: Through October 9, 10am-6pm,
Venue: Shanghai Jiushi Art Museum
Address: 6/F, 27 Zhongshan Rd E1
Tip: Appointment required. Make reservation on the museum's WeChat account.