From 6 May to 25 June 2017, GAMeC – Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Bergamo is pleased to present the Deus sive Natura exhibition, curated by Elena Cardin, the second of two winning projects in the curatorial schools section, selected during the 8th Edition of the Premio Bonaldi per l’Arte – EnterPrize, which affords students or graduates indicated by leading Italian curatorial schools the opportunity to present an exhibition project conceived for the GAMeC’s Spazio Caleidoscopio which would interconnect one or more works on display in the museum collection with works by other contemporary artists.

The panel for the 8th edition of the Premio Lorenzo Bonaldi, composed of

Chiara Bertola  – Venice’s Fondazione Querini Stampaliarepresentative for contemporary art and creator of the Premio FURLA
Martin Clark – Director of the Bergen Kunsthall, Bergen
Giacinto Di Pietrantonio – Director of the GAMeC
Stefano Raimondi – GAMeC Curator

selected Elena Cardin’s project “for the meticulous and precious research conducted with the Fondation Hartung Bergman archive in Antibes (France), bringing to light a little-known aspect of the artist’s work, which led to an appreciable and far from clichéd dialogue with the works of two young artists”.

The starting point of the exhibition in Hans Hartung’s T1964-R9 (1964), part of the GAMeC’s Permanent Collection and from the 1961–5 phase of his corpus, which centred around grattage, a scratching of graphic lines on a freshly-painted surface.

One of the key themes of Hartung’s career lay in his passion for astronomy and physics, which began when he was just a boy, alongside his passion for photography, the underpinning of his visual universe, which became a constant presence in his work, coming to a production climax precisely in the year that dates the image found in the GAMeC Permanent Collection.

Photography is then the fulcrum of Elena Cardin’s exhibition design, which intends to begin exploration of Hans Hartung’s profilif production, based on about 35,000 negatives found in Fondation Hartung Bergman in Antibes, France, in which he captured the same subjects (shadows, reflections in water, cracks, clouds, leaves, flowers), isolating real details that allowed him to plunge into the abstraction of nature, capturing the pace and patterns found there.

Deus sive Natura (God, Namely Nature),  inspired by an expression used by the philosopher Spinoza (1632–77) to indicate the union of spirit and matter, transcendence and immanence, explores through photography the relationship between thw artist and surrounding nature. The suggestion is to consider the latter – in accordance with Spinoza’s monist philosophy – as a living, intelligent and self-managed matter.

The exhibition welcomes the works of two contemporary artists, Bruno V. Roels and Špela Volčič, communicating with Hans Hartung’s photographs and painting.

Bruno V. Roels constructs series of photographs conceived from the outset as a set of variations on a theme. He is a compulsive photographer of detail, using photography not as a medium of reproduction but as a tool to capture a hidden world, dominated by abstraction and repetition of shapes.

Light is a central element in the work of Špela Volčič. In the 2017 Et Fiat Lux series of photographs, the still lifes are animated by sparks of light that mimic the shape of a flower, obtained using a large format film lighting process when developing. The still-life genre that inspires the work of Špela Volčič achieves one its most flourishing moments in Holland at the time of Spinoza. The philosopher counterbalanced living nature, the energy of matter, with the still life.

Špela Volčič’s photographs capture the movement triggered in passive matter, namely plastic floral arrangements that will deceive at a glance, suggesting they are real. They also point to one of the major sources of inspiration of Hartung’s corpus: Dutch Baroque painting, in particular by works of Rembrandt.

Special thanks to the Bonaldi Family and to the Fondation Hartung Bergman for their welcome, and for encouraging and supporting the archival research without which this exhibition would not have been possible.