From May 30, 2019 to January 6, 2020, the rooms of the GAMeC – Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Bergamo will host Libera. Tra Warhol, Vedova e Christo, the second project in the cycle La Collezione Impermanente, the platform which since 2018 has served to make the museum collection an instrument for the activation of memories and the involvement of the public through the use of innovative exhibition formats.

Conceived as a homage to creative freedom and emancipation from the restrictions of tradition, the exhibition project originates from the encounter between the GAMeC collections and a set of prestigious works confiscated in Lombardy and managed by the National Agency for the Administration and Destination of Assets Seized or Confiscated, and will present the public with a rich selection of works by some of the most famous international artists of the second half of the 20 th century.

Entrusted to Bergamo Town Council on the request of the Regional Secretariat of the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities of Lombardy, the confiscated collection will for the first time be placed in dialogue with major works from the GAMeC Collection, providing a unique opportunity to explore some of the key international artistic currents — from the Informal to geometric abstraction, from Nouveau Réalisme to Pop Art, from Minimalism to Arte Povera — through stimulating comparisons and associations.

The four thematic areas tell of artists’ desire to overcome the canons of traditional art to set themselves free from given rules, consolidated values, and conventions:

Free from form
The first section brings together a series of paintings and drawings by some of the leading exponents of the Art Informal movement, along with other lesser known ones.
Emerging post-WWII, in the wake of the worldwide conflict and alongside American abstract Expressionism, Art Informal rejected the limitations of form, be it figurative or abstract, to display a communicative urgency, drawing on the force of the stroke and the essence of pure matter.

Works from the 1950s and ’60s by masters of the gestural current such as Wols, Mark Tobey, and Georges Mathieu — in which the stroke flows in calligraphic narratives or stands out against backgrounds with registers of color, as in the case of Hans Hartung — are placed side by side with pictorial exemplars of a strictly material nature, such as the precious Catrame (1950) by Alberto Burri and the Paesaggio a Imbersago (1957) by Ennio Morlotti, both part of the GAMeC Collection.
The link between the various souls of the Informal is the surprising painting by Emilio Vedova Ciclo 61/62 N.4 (1961-62), in which matter and gesture go hand in hand in an original composition characterized by the presence of bright colors and collage inserts.

Free from figuration
The second section is dedicated to geometric abstraction in its most varied forms, derived from the elaboration of abstractionist experimentation from the early decades of the 20 th century, giving rise to global phenomena such as Minimalism and Optical Art, within which the radical desire of artists to be emancipated from the limits of figuration finds its expression.
The career of Victor Vasarely is particularly interesting. Following his geometric compositions of the early 1950s, he shifted towards an ever stricter limitation of form and color, to the point of reaching the essentiality of two-tone modules in black and white, infinitely combinable and variable. Instead, in the more recent painting
Horizontal Brushstrokers by Sol LeWitt, short oblique and wavy lines come to life and combine with one another to occupy the red surface.
From the modular treatment of pure geometric elements and colors which induce the perception of a moving surface—of which Superficie a testura vibratile (1972) by Getulio Alviani is also an example—a comparison arises with creations that presuppose the consideration of the surface of the work itself as an independent element of expression and meaning, to be varied and regulated on the basis of the surrounding space. Thus we are presented with layers of levels, of insides and outsides, of fulls and voids in the works of Remo Bianco and Paolo Scheggi, in the estroflessioni of Enrico Castellani and Turi Simeti, right up to the ever more pure essentiality of Ettore Spalletti’s sculptural creations.

Free from style
The third section hosts a selection of works by Italian artists that may be considered part of the Arte Povera movement. As is known, the characteristic feature of this group, founded around the end of the 1960s, was that to not seek out a recognizable style, common to the various exponents, but to operate through the use of “poor”
materials, through the substantial rejection of traditional media and supports, with a view to summoning up the potential primary structures of the language, going beyond the idea of the work of art as a transcendent entity standing outside of time.
The creations of Giulio Paolini and Luciano Fabro herein express the most conceptual component; those of Giuseppe Penone and Pier Paolo Calzolari instead manifest a greater attention towards experimentation with poor materials and their interaction. Lastly, special mention goes to the precious Delfino (1966) by Pino Pascali: a work of great scenographic impact, recently acquired by the GAMeC, one of the rare examples with head and tail emerging from the wall.

Free from representation
While through Informalism and Abstractionism art was freed from figuration and form yet still remaining representative of something (a sentiment, a vision of the world, a canon, an idea…), in certain artistic currents of the ‘60s and ’70s—such as New Dada, Nouveau Réalisme and in part also Pop Art — what took on artistic value was the object itself, representative exclusively of its own intrinsic reality or its own status.
Within this section, among others, we find two accumulations by Arman, a compression by César and a wrapping by Christo — among the very earliest of his production (1963)—while on the Pop front, the silkscreen print by Andy Warhol portraying Giorgio Armani (1981) transforms the image itself into a mere object of consumption.