Installation View of THE HEART OF INNOCENCE - A Centennial Retrospective of Aligi Sassu 06

Jointly hosted by CAFA Art Museum, Helenita and Aligi Sassu’s Foundation, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of birth of the great Italian artist Aligi Sassu, “THE HEART OF INNOCENCE – A Centennial Retrospective of Aligi Sassu” opened at the CAFA Art Museum at 15:00 pm, on May 24, 2013.

According to a chronological clue, the exhibition shows more than 140 pieces of works, comprehensively featuring the representative works of different periods of his lifetime, and is the largest retrospective of the artist abroad. Among the early works were finished in his 16 years old. In addition, the precious manuscripts and materials that diverted from his visit in China in 1956 are on view at CAFA Art Museum. The opening ceremony was presided over by Wang Huangsheng, Director of CAFA Art Museum, Mr. Attilio Massimo Iannucci, the Ambassador of the Republic of Italy to China, Prof. Tan Ping, Vice President of CAFA, and Vincente Sassu Urbina, Manager of Aligi Foundation and Helenita Sassu respectively addressed. In addition, Ms. Helen Sassu, wife of Sassu, Stefania Stafutti, Cultural Counselor of Italian Embassy, Tang Bin, Deputy Director of the CAFA, attended the opening ceremony. It was a highlight that Ms Helen, well known Italian opera singer, sung at the opening to thank everyone gathered for the exhibition and cherish the memory of Aligi Sassu.

Aligi Sassu is one of the most remarkable Italian artists of the 20th century. His unique artistic language, full of the passion and colors of life, reflects the development of the entirety of Western art history of his era. In his works, one can detect the spirit of Futurism, Cubism, Romanticism, Primitivism and Impressionism, among other movements. His works include oil painting, frescoes, pottery, printmaking, sketches, etc. In 1956, as the team leader of the very first Western European art group to visit New China, Aligi Sassu came to Beijing together with five other Italian artists. Here, they visited the well-known Chinese artists of the time, including the great masters Qi Baishi and Li Kuchan. Concurrently, they held an exhibition at the former CAFA Art Museum, causing quite a sensation in China’s art world. Wu Zuoren and Wang Qi, president and vice president of the Chinese Artists Association respectively, wrote articles about this exhibition, singing high praise for the work of the Italian artists. Fifty-six years later, recalling the grand exhibition of that time, Wang Qi created an inscription for the exhibition at the new museum. The retrospective not only fulfills the greatest wish of Sassu, who loved China, but also offers a precious opportunity for Chinese art lovers to research the art creation of Sassu and a glimpse into the last century of Western art history.

About the artist

Born in Milan in 1912, Sassu started his artistic career at a very early age; already in 1927 he was exhibiting in a Futurist show at the Galleria Pesaro in Milan, while the following year he participated, just 16 years old, in the Venice Biennale. His model at the time was Boccioni, but he was also attentive to the painting of Gaetano Previati, Carlo Carr, who was a friend of his father, and the Constructivist Giandante X. He became familiar with the works of Picasso and Canne through reproductions; other important occasions for his formation as an artist, besides visits to the Pinacoteca di Brera, were the manifestations of the Futurist avant-garde, from the “noisemaking” shows of Luigi Russolo to Enrico Prampolini’s pantomimes. With Bruno Munari in 1928 he signed the Manifesto of “Dynamism and Muscular Reform” painting, in which he theorized a search, in art, for new, anti-naturalistic dynamic forms.

About the exhibition

Host: CAFA Art Museum, Helenita and Aligi Sassu’s Foundation

Organizer: Bindi Communication

Art Advisor: Wang Huangsheng

Project Manager: Renee Xu

Opening: 3pm, May 24, 2013

Duration: May 24-June 18

Venue: Gallery 2B, CAFA Art Museum

Translated by Chen Peihua and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO

Photo: Dong Huiping and Quan Jin/CAFA Art Museum

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