curated by Michela Eremita
with Archivio Andrea Marescalchi
December 2022 - January 2023
curated by Michela Eremita
with Archivio Andrea Marescalchi
December 2022 - January 2023
From November 30 to January 20
From Wednesday to Friday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Sunday, November 27 from 4 to 7 p.m.
Free admission with Assab One 2022/2023 card (€10).
For more information write to email@example.com
From the views of Kailash, Tibet’s sacred mountain, to the last works titled Deità, done in 2015, the works featured in this first exhibition of Andrea Marescalchi after his passing evoke without filters a spiritual afflatus. All subjects, whether animals, landscapes or objects, transcend the real, charging the image with mystery. The magic square of numbers, a hallmark of Marescalchi’s practice, often towers over the various representations made in black and white, in ink on paper or on canvas. A technique that requires an exercise of the gesture and an absolute rigor of the sign.
The exhibition, produced in collaboration with the Marescalchi archives, also consists of a short roundup of paper and photographic documents that allows us to learn about the study and research paths and fellow travelers who accompanied the artist throughout his practice.
Andrea “Bobo” Marescalchi (Rome, 1954 – Florence, 2015) attends the Artistic High School in Florence and later the Academy of Fine Arts.
In 1975, after interrupting his studies, he begins to work with graphics, while becoming interested in the oriental calligraphic art. He then started training to replicate the speed in the writing gesture, deepening and studying both techniques and materials.
Alongside his personal research, he collaborates with various artists, producing multi-handed artworks and also worked as an assistant to Alighiero Boetti and Sol Lewitt.
Fascinated by mathematics, numerical symbology, repetitiveness and arithmetic perfection he developed a practice in which the objectivity of the image is connected to unexpected elements. Magic squares, playing cards, geometric shapes, red and yellow numbers superimpose the main imagine usually painted with grey and black India inks.
In 2002, after having his studio in Via Toscanella for over 10 years, he moved to Borgo Albizi in Florence, where he continued working until the last days of his life.
His works can be found in numerous private collections in Italy and abroad.
Paso Doble, Casa dei Mori, Venice, Italy
La scimmia, l’immagine, il suo doppio, Art for the world, Open Care, Milan, Italy
Montaña, Galèria arte sonado, Madrid, Spain
Tra me e te c’è qualcuno che guarda, Galleria Santo Ficara, Florence, Italy
Isole annodate a pesci, Galleria 9, Rome, Italy
Andrea Marescalchi, Limonaia di Villa Strozzi, Florence, Italy
Colpo di mano sul Monte dei Draghi, Galleria Seno, Milan, Italy
Il punto, Galleria Continua, San Gimignano, Italy
Peindre? Andrea Marescalchi, Galleria Krieff, Paris, France
Andrea Marescalchi, tensions, Galleria Mottier, Geneva, Switzerland
One man show, Autorimessa, Rome, Italy
Andrea Marescalchi, Museo Riz à Porta, Florence, Italy
Il Profumo delle fiabe | Cappuccetto Rosso, Santa Maria della Scala | Museo d’arte per bambini, Siena, Italy
Il Terzo Giorno, Palazzo del Governatore, Parma, Italy
Aqua, ART for the World, Château de Penthes, Geneva, Italy
Cosmic Connections, Galleria David Totah, New York, USA
Anda e rianda, Binnenkant 21, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Muro di china, Galleria Eva Menzio, Turin, Italy
Forest magic mountain, Il bosco dei poeti alla FAO, Rome, Italy
Seeing… blue, The gallery at Buck house, New York, USA
Donna donne, ART for the World, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, Italy
Continuità, arte in Toscana 1990-2000 e collezionismo del contemporaneo in Toscana, Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato, Italy
Meditation, ART for the World, Medersa Ibn Yqussef, Marrakesh, Morocco
Dialogue de paix, ART for The World, Palazzo delle Nazioni, Geneva, Switzerland
Improvvisazione Libera, Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato, Italy
Doppio gioco, Galleria Bonomo, Roma/ Bari – San Domenico, Spoleto, Italy
Michela Eremita is an art historian. She curates multidisciplinary projects, as well as collections and exhibitions in different cities and various contexts such as Manifesta (2018) and La Biennale di Venezia (2023). She is in charge of research projects related to contemporary art at the Santa Maria della Scala Museum in Siena, Italy, where she co-founded (1998) the Children’s Art Museum creating an international collection dedicated to childhood containing more than 400 artworks with a diachronic development.
A post it
By Michela Eremita
This exhibition is the first one dedicated to Andrea “Bobo” Marescalchi after his passing away thanks to the collaboration of the archive founded by his heirs with the aim of making his research known and valued. It unites friends and people who shared his relentless practice of art, a space of thought and action that for him matched the rituality of the gesture.
The, that recalls his presence is referred to a piece of paper he accurately placed like a post it note at the entrance of his studio in Florence: IO SONO MARESCALCHI (I am Marescalchi).
Tireless, curious, versatile… these definitions, albeit incompletely, trace the attitudes of the artist, always open to experimentation and with a particular attitude to often add a touch of irony to his practice. Irony, is indeed a two-faced Janus, a blade that by opening lightweight scenarios can distract from the accomplished gash. And it is exactly in that ripped space that we can find the rigorous research dedicated to the τέχνη, with the related empirical implications like the ones required by his favourite language, ink on paper. The ripped space itself is key to dive into the quest for the absolute synthesis that gesture can represent, merging will and the nature of things.
From this perspective angle, what is expressed/impressed or revealed by the white (apparent emptiness) of the surfaces of the rice papers acquires a whole different meaning. The papers become homes/spaces for presences (animal or inanimate it does not matter) that drag the eye and the mind toward a continuous tension between the unspeakable and the said. Andrea Marescalchi’s figuration has the power to disregard physicality even though it is so strongly evoked to appear almost similar to real (true deception for the viewer).
But matter does not interest as such (not surprisingly, the use of black and white is dominant). It is a vehicle for the unspeakable that dwells within. And the technique required to spread the ink spontaneously becomes his practice to experience the complexity of existence with the volatility of lightness. Animals, landscapes – no wonder mount Kailash, the sacred mountain of Tiber – and the objects eloquently let the mystery and the secret that lies in life shine through.
The masterful execution talent leads to make the gesture, pictorial and rapid, an effective sign of the immediacy and nature of things, without artifice. And it is precisely the use of ink (on paper or canvas) that emphasizes the rapidity of what is not mutable and is hidden in the ineffable. The magic square and its unapologetic mathematical rigor, often overpowering the representations, only adds mystery to mystery, leaving the viewer often enraptured (and distracted) by the beauty of the subjects depicted in the trap of verisimilitude.
The paintings chosen for “Io Sono Marescalchi” tell us about the artist’s spiritual quest and in particular they evoke Paso Doble (one of his last exhibitions in Venice where he presented a series of views of mount Kailash and Scarpe Serene) while Deità are works made in 2015, shortly before his death and dedicated without veils to subjects with a spiritual afflatus. These are complemented by other works such as Nodo (knot) and the carpet (the only one) made in Afghanistan, together with some animals from earlier periods that share sensibility and language with the other works in the exhibition.
A brief overview of selected documents provides access to studies and visions developed over time as well as evidence of the collaborations entertained by the artist during his lifetime.
What else to say…just add a little thought about the obvious beauty, the aesthetic cuddle he used to coat life forms with. But cosmetics can be distracting, can direct the eye to linger on the surface and be captivated by it, while, doing the sharp eye, one glimpses the sparkle of the life that makes them animated and supernatural.
I saw a big buffalo with mud-stained hide,
standing near the river with placid, patient eyes;
and a youth, knee deep in water, calling it to its bath.
I smiled amused and felt
a touch of sweetness in my heart.
Rabindranath Tagore (রবীন্দ্রনাথ ঠাকুর)
I first met Bobo with Alighiero Boetti in the 90s. I had the opportunity to see the canvases and drawings in his studio in Florence and I recognized in his talent, in the ease of transforming a word, an image into a work, the same mental rhythm as Alighiero.
Over time, Bobo became a friend and an ally, and he still is today, because feelings do not disappear with people, they remain and eventually grow.
During the past 20 years, we have often worked together for ART for the World’s travelling exhibitions, where Bobo created works in tune with the essence of the place and the theme of the moment, such as the ostrich made of playing cards, with its head buried in the earth, for the 50th of the United Nations in ’95; the series of watercolors of birds inspired by the book The Conference of the Birds by the master Sufi Farīd ad-Dīn ʿAṭṭār, in ’96; for Donna, Donne at Palazzo Strozzi in 2006, the huge painting of the Afghan Woman, or again the black-white Avida Diva canvas of the monkey/narcissus reflecting in water, shown at Open Care in Milano in 2010 and later at the exhibition Aqua in Geneva…but Bobo was already gone…
I have, at home, a canvas by Bobo. It is a portrait of a jaguar whose gaze I never tire of crossing… and I really believe that this jaguar prompt me to produce the recent movie Interactions about the human-animal relationship.
Bobo manages to convey images to us that, while being his personal recollection of the world, are more relevant today than ever. They are the great soul of nature: through the majestic grandeur of the mountains and the strong appearance of animals, his paintings form a special combination from which to take energy.
AvF, November 2022