Alfabeta 1979-1988. Artists’ Proofs in the collection of the Galleria Civica di Modena

Gianfranco Baruchello, Untitled (draft for announcement “Festival di poesia Di-versi in versi”, Roma, 14-16 Febbraio 1986), 1986, ink on photocopy, 420 x 297 mm, Collezione Galleria Civica di Modena


Saturday March marked the the opening in the Upper Rooms of Palazzo Santa Margherita of the exhibition Alfabeta 1979-1988. Prove d’artista nella collezione della Galleria Civica di Modena. The exhibition, staged also thanks to collaboration with the Fondazione Mudima, Milan, is dedicated to the 66 Artists’ Proofs produced by 49 artists for the historic cultural review entitled ‘Alfabeta’ between 1983 and 1988.

The set of paper-based works (made up of drawings, collages, graphics and photographs), among the first to become part of the collection of the Galleria Civica di Modena around the end of the 1980s, following the closure of the monthly magazine, is presented as a rare and precious snapshot of what proved to be an important cultural phenomenon, driven by the spirit of the neo avant-garde.

Published in Milan from 1979 to 1988, on the initiative of the editorial committee made up of Nanni Balestrini, Maria Corti, Gino Di Maggio, Umberto Eco, Francesco Leonetti, Antonio Porta, Pier Aldo Rovatti, Gianni Sassi, Mario Spinella and Paolo Volponi, ‘Alfabeta’ was the expression of a group of intellectuals, different from one another in terms of backgrounds and personal interests, yet all sharing a sense of active participation in the cultural, social and political discourse of the 1960s and ’70s, and later brought together in the reflection on how to carry out their role in the ‘ideologically confused’ society of the early ’80s.

The artists’ proofs began to appear in the monthly review starting from issue 44, that of January 1983, with a drawing by Fausto Melotti. The more than 60 artistic interventions that followed were to come to constitute a self-standing rubric featuring the work of artists, writers and poets, who were also highly diverse in terms of generation (historical artists, born from the start of the 20th century, up to the youngest, born in the 1950s), of style (from Arte Povera to Informal, from Op-Art to visual poetry) and media: different artists focusing on sculpture, installation, drawing, graphics or design, such as Enrico Baj, Alighiero Boetti, Eugenio Carmi, Emilio Isgrò, Ugo La Pietra, Alessandro Mendini, Claudio Olivieri, Concetto Pozzati, Toti Scialoja, William Xerra, among others, together with exponents of the Gruppo 63 like Luigi Malerba or Gianfranco Baruchello.

On display, as well as the drawings published in the review, there will also be a number of unpublished proofs, along with video-testimonies by some of the protagonists of that moment as well as issues of the review, which may be consulted in digital format.

The 66 works acquired by the Galleria Civica in 1989, thanks to the support of the CME Consorzio Modenese Edili, now CME Consorzio Imprenditori Edili Soc. Coop., are part of the Drawing Collection begun in 1988 by Flaminio Gualdoni, then director of the Gallery. An asset which, including acquisitions and loans, is today home to over 4,000 works by contemporary artists, offering an overview of 20th-century Italian drawing culture.

The show features works by:

Rina Aprile, Enrico Baj, Paolo Baratella, Gianfranco Baruchello, Alighiero Boetti, Anna Valeria Borsari, Eugenio Carmi, Giovanni Carta, Tommaso Cascella, Loriana Castano, Pietro Coletta, Giovanni D’Agostino, Dadamaino, Sergio Dangelo, Piero Del Giudice, Lucio Del Pezzo, Beppe Devalle, Piero Dorazio, Gillo Dorfles, Pablo Echaurren, Omar Galliani, Piero Gilardi, Gianpaolo Guerini, Emilio Isgrò, Ugo La Pietra, Alberto Magnaghi, Luigi Malerba, Enzo Mari, Giuliano Mauri, Fausto Melotti, Alessandro Mendini, Aldo Mondino, Claudio Olivieri, Giulio Paolini, Gianfranco Pardi, Goffredo Parise, Claudio Parmiggiani, Luca Patella, Concetto Pozzati, Carlo Ramous, Liberio Reggiani, Marco Nereo Rotelli, Toti Scialoja, Loreno Sguanci, Giuseppe Spagnulo, Aldo Spoldi, Emilio Tadini, Grazia Varisco and William Xerra.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue published by the Fondazione Mudima, with texts by Francesca Mora and Mario Bertoni, and a testimony by Flaminio Gualdoni, as well as the reproduction of the works on display in the exhibition.

The exhibition is curated by Francesca Mora.

Ugo La Pietra, Untitled, 1986, indian ink on carboard, 285 x 220 mm, Collezione Galleria Civica di Modena


Luigi Malerba, Profili, 9/2, 1985, pen and ink on paper, 147 x 209 mm, Collezione Galleria Civica di Modena


Enzo Mari, Dialogo tra Fidia, Galileo, Duchamp, i Sette Nani, L’Idiota (Project for a scene realised at the Biennale di Venezia del 1986), 1986, Collezione Galleria civica di Modena


Fausto Melotti, Senza titolo, 1983, pencil on paper, 313 x 239 mm, Collezione Galleria Civica di Modena.


Alessandro Mendini, Untitled, 1986, indian ink and tempura on colored paper, 418 x 296 mm, Collezione Galleria Civica di Modena


Giulio Paolini, Untitled, 1984, collage and ink, 498 x 400 mm, Collezione Galleria Civica di Modena


Goffredo Parise, Untitled, 1986, collage and ink on tracing paper, 415 x 294 mm, Collezione Galleria Civica di Modena


Luca Patella, Dem&Duch Dis-Enameled!, 1986, collage, 377 x 260 mm, Collezione Galleria Civica di Modena.


Giuseppe Spagnulo, Study for Self-Portrait, 1983, grafite and charcoal on carboard, 400 x 260 mm, Collezione Galleria Civica di Modena


Emilio Tadini, Untitled, s.d. [1983 ca.], marker pen on cardboard, 400 x 260 mm, Collezione Galleria Civica di Modena


Grazia Varisco, Enigma, 1985, marker pen on paper, 420 x 296 mm, Collezione Galleria Civica di Modena


Galleria Civica di Modena – (Upper Rooms), corso Canalgrande 103, Modena Palazzo Santa Margherita
26 March – 7 May 2017