There are numerous small works among the over 2000 works in the CAMeC collections.
The idea of this exhibition and its proposed layout is in fact to highlight these great small works which come from the various groups of donations. Especially in the collections acquired by bequest (Cozzani and Battolini), a marked trait of the collecting passion emerges: the desire to possess great numbers and great names of art, to enjoy them in the intimacy of one’s own home, to put them next to one another and make them interact, shuffling them around a lot and keeping a watchful eye on them.
Smallness is particularly interesting territory for artists, who condense or develop an idea or an intention within a restricted space, conceiving it as a starting point or as a destination of the creative process. It is a binding element, a favoured testing ground for many artists, approached in the most various ways as they search for efficacy of composition and balance of material.
Distributed along the exhibition itinerary are 196 works by 119 artists; the criterion of chronological order has been associated with linguistic and aesthetic affinity, also considering materials and colour-schemes, in a sort of tribute to the collector’s modus operandi. It is a particularly rich journey, which expresses both the complexity of contemporary research and the omnivorous curiosity of the collector.
Starting with a step backwards, a first-edition engraving by Giovanni Battista Piranesi, we move through the oldest group of works in the collection, encountering the 19th-century ferment of the Caffé Michelangelo in Florence with an anthology of precious caricatures, and crossing the threshold into the 20th century with some very small oils by Boldini, Cassioli and Signorini and the La Spezia artists Del Santo and Brandolisio. A digression into the art of engraving is dedicated to a fine collection of woodcuts in the renewed interpretation of Italian and French artists, focussing on 40 small woodcuts by Emilio Mantelli, authentic jewels of book illustration. The historical avant-garde movements accompany us to the second postwar period, and the various poetic stances and currents are expressed here in their small format: the various types of abstraction, nouveau réalisme, conceptual minimalism, and many other different expressions which have punctuated the last 50 years of art, encompassing also Fluxus and performance art and a selection of sculptures.
The exhibition includes works by the following artists: Marina Abramović, Afro, Giuseppe Ajmone, Carlo Alfano, Claudio Ambrogetti, Fernando Andolcetti, Arman, Robert Barry, Jean Bazaine, Aubrey Beardsley, Gino Bellani, Miguel Ortiz Berrocal, Joseph Beuys, Max Bill, Mel Bochner, Giovanni Boldini, Christian Boltanski, Agostino Bonalumi, Arturo Bonfanti, Pier Giulio Bonifacio, Odoardo Borrani, Eugenio Brandolisio, Victor Brauner, Antonio Calderara, Giuseppe Capogrossi, Amos Cassioli, César, Giuseppe Chiari, Alfredo Chighine, Hsiao Chin, Cosimo Cimino, Jean Cocteau, Pietro Consagra, James Cumming, Hanne Darboven, Giorgio de Chirico, Nicola De Maria, Filippo de Pisis, Felice Del Santo, Agnes Denes, Fortunato Depero, Jan Dibbets, Jim Dine, Piero Dorazio, Jean Dubuffet, François Dufrêne, Max Ernst, Luciano Fabro, Giovanni Fattori, Lyonel Feininger, Agostino Fossati, Keith Haring, Raoul Hausmann, Hannah Höch, Béla Kádár, Zoltán Kemény, Alison Knowles, Jiří Kolář, František Kupka, Julio Le Parc, Sol LeWitt, Markus Lüpertz, Heinz Mack, August Macke, Mauro Manfredi, Emilio Mantelli, Piero Manzoni, Franz Marc, Gerhard Marcks, Elio Marchegiani, Enzo Mari, Marcello Mascherini, Galliano Mazzon, Fausto Melotti, Eduard Leon Theodore Mesens, Annette Messager, Mirko, Aldo Mondino, Ennio Morlotti, Emil Nolde, Roman Opałka, Gina Pane, Giulio Paolini, Gianfranco Pardi, Otto Piene, Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Enrico Prampolini, Enzo Pregno, Mario Radice, Man Ray, Mauro Reggiani, Edda Renouf, Hans Richter, Bridget Riley, Takako Saito, Diet Sayler, Emilio Scanavino, Paolo Scheggi, Gustav Seitz, Telemaco Signorini, Mario Sironi, Rik Slabbinck, Atanasio Soldati, Francesco Somaini, Jesús Rafael Soto, Curt Stenvert, Graham Sutherland, Orfeo Tamburi, George Tappert, Nino Tirinnanzi, Angiolo Tricca, Günther Uecker, Francesco Vaccarone, Victor Vasarely, Luigi Veronesi, Lorenzo Viani, Jacques Villeglé, Fritz Wotruba.