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The exhibitions to see in January in Italy

From Van Gogh to Escher, a journey through the art world

The exhibitions to see in January in Italy From Van Gogh to Escher, a journey through the art world

Paintings, sculptures, photographs, lithographs, in all its forms will continue to take centre stage in 2024. January is confirmed as a month full of appointments, between exhibitions that will open in the coming days, such as the major monographic exhibition on Joan Mirò that arrives in Catania, and current events such as the exhibition dedicated to Van Gogh which will be on display at Mudec in Milan until 28 January. There are not only icons of painting to discover, but also legendary photographers such as Robert Mapplethorpe in Florence and Steve McCurry in Pisa. Also noteworthy is the Italian debut of Michael Stipe, the frontman of R.E.M., who is exhibiting ceramics, sculptures, photographs and audio works at the ICA Foundation in Milan. Which exhibition inspires you the most?

Here are the exhibitions you should see in Italy in January.

Robert Mapplethorpe - Florence

The Museo Novecento in Florence pays tribute to one of the greatest exponents of 20th century photography, Robert Mapplethorpe, through an unprecedented comparison with photographs by Wilhelm von Gloeden, considered one of the pioneers of staged photography, and some images by Fratelli Alinari. The comparison of the works of these artists highlights common themes such as the body and sexuality and shows how classicism, the sculptural approach to the photographic medium, the study of the male and female nude and still life characterised Mapplethorpe's photographs. The Beauty and Desire exhibition, which opened on 23 September and will be on display until 14 February 2024, makes it clear how much his passion for the masters before him and his careful understanding of sculpture, especially Michelangelo, helped bring the American photographer's masterpieces to life.

Title: Mapplethorpe - von Gloeden. Beauty and Desire

When: until 14 Feb. 2024

Where: Museo Novecento, Florence

Steve McCurry - Pisa

From 1 January to 7 April 2024, the monograph Icons, dedicated to Steve McCurry, will be on display at the Republican Arsenals in Pisa. In 90 photographs, visitors will embark on a virtual journey from India to Burma, Mongolia, Africa and Italy, encountering a multitude of different cultures and stories that tell of humanity in all its nuances. Joy, suffering, loneliness, resilience, hope and solidarity come to life in the faces of the people McCurry has immortalised. Among the many images, his most famous photo is not missing: Sharbat Gula, the Afghan girl that McCurry photographed in the Peshawar refugee camp in Pakistan in 1984. "Most of my photos have their origins in people. I look for the moment when the real soul emerges, when the experience is imprinted on a person's face. I try to convey how a person can be in a larger context, which we could call the human condition. I want to convey the sense of beauty and wonder that I have experienced on my travels, when the surprise of the foreign mixes with the joy of the familiar." Said the photographer, and the Pisa exhibition makes this clear to even the most inexperienced and inattentive eye.

Title: Steve McCurry. Icons

When: 1 January 2024 to 7 April 2024

Where: Republican Arsenale, Pisa

Michael Stipe - Milan

Michael Stipe, the legendary leader of R.E.M., is not only a singer but also a visual artist. The ICA Foundation in Milan offers us the opportunity to discover this unseen side of him through 120 works, including some that have never been exhibited and others that have only recently been created. The installation interweaves the concepts of homage and vulnerability, with the latter understood as a driving force and powerful tool for survival. Stipe challenges conventional thinking that connotes it negatively and shows it as something inherent to the human condition: "Vulnerability becomes a superpower in this dynamic. A map that shows the difficulties of our present while revealing new possibilities and a new understanding of our meaning - not only for ourselves, but also for our fellow human beings, our communities and our world." The result is a mixture of photography, ceramics, sculptures and audio works. The plus? Admission is free.

Title: Michael Stipe. I have lost and I have been lost but for now I'm flying high

When: until 16 March 2024

Where: ICA Foundation, Milan

Joan Mirò - Catania

After "Homage to Mirò" in Trieste and "Mirò in Turin" in the Savoy capital, the major monographic exhibition on Joan Mirò arrives in Catania on 20 January. The Palazzo della Cultura traces the work of one of the most famous representatives of surrealism. Until 7 July 2024, visitors will be able to see temperas, sculptures, watercolours, paintings, drawings and ceramics as well as books and various documents by the Catalan artist. Curated by Achille Bonito Oliva, the exhibition Miró - The Joy of Colour highlights the playful and playful vision of art that Miró expressed through the bold colours of yellow, black, red and blue, as well as through his essential drawings. A chance to fall in love with his work and perhaps also to understand his genius.

Title: Miró - The Joy of Colour

When: 20 January to 7 July 2024

Where: Palazzo della Cultura, Catania

Guido Harari - Milan

The City of Milan and the Fabbrica del Vapore present a major anthological exhibition dedicated to Guido Harari: more than 300 photographs, installations and original films, projections and musical forays, complemented by a photo set and meetings with the author. The result is a journey through the images of Harari's multifaceted career, from his beginnings in music as a photographer and journalist to his numerous album covers for artists such as Fabrizio De André, Bob Dylan, Vasco Rossi, Kate Bush, Paolo Conte, Lou Reed and Frank Zappa. For over more than 50 years, he has interwoven publishing, advertising, fashion and reportage, favouring the artistic form of the portrait as a means of creating intimate and incisive portraits of the most important personalities of his time. Visitors to the exhibition at the Fabbrica del Vapore can see many famous photographs: Rita Levi-Montalcini, Patti Smith, David Bowie, Umberto Eco, Fernanda Pivano, Mia Martini, Giorgio Gaber, Pier Paolo Pasolini... the game is to recognise them all.

Title: Guido Harari. Incontri

When: until 1 April 2024


Where: Fabbrica del Vapore, Milan

Escher - Rome

Maurits Cornelis Escher comes to Rome with the largest and most comprehensive exhibition ever dedicated to him. More than 300 works are on display in the Palazzo Bonaparte, including his most famous masterpieces such as Hand with Reflecting Sphere (1935), Bond of Union (1956), Metamorphosis II (1939) and Day and Night (1938), as well as numerous works that have neverbeen shown before. In his imaginative world, art, maths, geometry, science, physics and design intermingle. Seeing his works live also means understanding many contemporary and pop works, films such as Christopher Nolan's Inception, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, The Name of the Rose, Suspiria, Squid Games and A Night at the Museum 3, all of which quote Escher in their own way. A curiosity: the Roman location of the exhibition is no coincidence. The Dutch engraver and graphic artist seems to have spent his happiest years in the Italian capital, where he honed his art, which led him to create engravings and lithographs of infinite scale, labyrinthine graphics and glass spheres.

Title: Escher

When: until 1 April 2024


Where: Bonaparte Palace, Rome

Van Gogh - Milan

There are still a few days left to see the monograph dedicated to Van Gogh. Until 28 January, the Mudec in Milan is showing an extraordinary collection of paintings and drawings by the Dutch painter, around 40 of which come from the Kroeller-Mueller Museum in Otterlo, Netherlands. Among the most famous masterpieces are Moulin de la Galette, Self-Portrait and Landscape with Haystacks and Rising Moon, The Potato Eaters. It is interesting how the exhibition allows visitors to discover lesser-known information about Van Gogh, from 'the influence of his master Jean-François Millet to his passion for books and Japan.

Title: Van Gogh. Pittore colto

When: until 28 January 2024


Where: Mudec, Milan

Il sesso nelle camere d'albergo - Modena

The title of the group exhibition curated by Marcella Manni is based on a book by Geoff Dyer entitled Otherwise Known as the Human Condition. Selec ted Essays and Reviews, a collection of essays published in Italian by Einaudi and entitled Il sesso nelle camere d'albergo. The works of various artists are on display in the exhibition rooms of the Metronome in Modena, from Buno Cattai with Eros, who reinterprets classical sculptures through photography to sublimate the beauty of male and female bodies, to Marco Signorini, whose work questions the potential of digital technology. Of particular interest is the section by Lisa Kereszi, whose Fantasies project documented New Burlesque performances between 1999 and 2005 that tell of fantasy and freedom.

Title: Il sesso nelle camere d'albergo

When: until 16 February 2024


Where: Metronome, Modena