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The artworks of post-war artist Alberto Burri celebrated in his native town of Città di Castello after exhibitions in New York and Dusseldorf

by Lorenzo Zanini

Alberto Burri’s art takes center stage at an upcoming exhibition in Città di Castello (Perugia). The show is part of the celebrations for the centennial of Burri’s birth [1915-2015]. The series of events, which started last year, has seen exhibitions at the Guggenheim Museum of New York and the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen in Düsseldorf.

It’s now the turn of Città di Castello, the town where artist was born. From September 24 to January 6, the former Seccatoi Tabacco (the Tobacco Drying Compound, where Burri had his workshop and which has long housed a permanent Burri collection) will showcase the artworks of the Umbrian artist, one of the most innovative of the post-war period.

In addition to his work, the exhibition will feature such artists as Dubuffet, Pollock, De Kooning, Rauschenberg, Twombly, Fontana, Manzoni, Rotella, Christo, Arman, Beuys, Kounellis, Pistoletto, Pascali, Leoncillo, Afro, Kiefer. Not to mention Miró, who inspired Burri.

The exhibition in Città di Castello, titled “Alberto Burri: the Space of Matter – between Europe and the USA,” highlights Burri’s influence on twentieth-century art. Richard Armstrong, Director of the Guggenheim Museum, has not doubts: the Italian artist “created a new sort of object, pictorial and sculptural at the same time, which subsequently influenced artists connected with New Dada, Nouveau Réalisme and Postminimalism, right up to Italian Arte Povera.”

The former drying compound will showcase not only the permanent Burri exhibits but a selection of some twenty works by the artist, which narrate the various stages of his creative journey: from his tars to his molds, from his sacks to his ‘hunchback canvases’ or ‘gobbi’.

There will also be photographs chronicling the years between 1947 and 1989 as well as posters, brochures, catalogs, publications, videos, films, bios, theoretical work and other material illustrating the evolution of the various artistic movements of the time, set out in a distinct section to facilitate an in-depth analysis of those crucial decades that go from the end of WWII to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The area that once belonged to Fattoria Autonoma Tabacchi – where a group of buildings was erected in the late 1950s to dry local tropical tobacco production – was abandoned in the 1970s. In 1978, Burri was granted access to it as a workshop where he could create his larger works. In 1989, Fondazione Palazzo Albizzini purchased the entire compound and began the general renovation project that would enable the buildings to house the master’s works.

(Alberto Burri: the Space of Matter – between Europe and the USA, Città di Castello, Perugia, from September 24 to January 6)