Titled Michelangelo Antonioni: Architetture della visione, the protagonist is Michelangelo Antonioni’s (Ferrara, Italy, 1912 - Rome, 2007) film aesthetics, analysed through his films and his work techniques. An extensive two-volume catalogue published only in Italian has been summarised in a single volume and translated into Spanish especially for this occasion, the exhibition at the Centro de Arte Reina Sofía.
Through a collection of images, the exhibition focuses on the frame as an information unit. For this, the ALEF studio in Rome (which already exhibited in Madrid a montage on Pasolini in 1986) has, through various technical procedures, extracted stills from Antonioni’s films from the twenty-four that pass in front of the human eye every second of film. The result is a combination that shows the wealth of information hidden in each, as well as the detail the director puts into each of his productions.
The tour of the exhibition begins with a screen that continuously projects five thousand frames that have been selected from a pool of ten million belonging to more than twenty Antonioni films until the exhibition date. In the same room two pieces based on the film L'Avventura, 1960 are exhibited. The first, Inserto girato a Lisca Bianca, is a nine-minute piece in colour which narrates the search for the protagonist of the film on a desert island. The second shows scenes deleted by the director or Italian censorship because of their erotic or political content. To this is added the "Multivision" space, a device composed of twelve screens, which allows a more detailed view of Antonioni’s procedure. The exhibition also includes a selection of drawings, watercolours and collages by the director.
The Spanish catalogue is an example of the thoroughness with which the Italian designer approaches his work. Frames selected and placed in groups constitute a library of images structured in three sections. First, “Arquitectura de la visión” (Architecture of vision) shows the frame and the format, the desertification of the stage, epiphanies and surface-colour. In addition, “Vocaciones del lugar” (Place vocations) gathers: interiors, decorative elements, work environments, natural landscapes, the invisible city, the metaphysical city and metropolitan deserts. Finally, “El tiempo del viaje” (Travel time) shows the camera’s travels, the archaeologies of the stage, as well as the headings and endings.
The exhibition complements the parallel programme organised by the National Film Archive which projects Antonioni’s most renowned films, among which are: People of the Po Valley (1947), Story of a Love Affair (1950), The Vanquished (1953), The Lady Without Camelias (1953), Girlfriends (1955), The Outcry (1957), Adventure (1960), The Night (1961), Eclipse (1962), Red Desert (1964), Blow up (1966) and Identification of a Woman (1982). The cycle includes the projection of a film not released in Spain, Chung kuo China filmed in 1972 on commission for the Government of the country. It was eventually not shown in China.
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