Fans. Artist’s Creations
31 March – 13 May, 2018
Hermann Geiger Cultural Foundation
Piazza Guerrazzi 32, Cecina (Livorno)
Daily from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Free admission
Opening 31 March, 5 p.m.
The fan as a work of art is the focus of the new exhibition of the Hermann Geiger Cultural Foundation, which will take place from 31 March to 13 May 2018 in the Foundation’s exhibition hall. This fashionable accessory, which was originally intended for everyday use and had a practical function, has developed over time into an art object with sometimes symbolic meanings. The exhibition Fans. Artist’s Creations presents 90 pieces from the collection of Florentine scholar and collector Luisa Moradei. The exhibition will therefore offer a full panorama of Italian contemporary art through great names as well as young talents. Inspired by the history and uses of the fan, each of them produced a personal, stylistically characterized version of this object which, so interpreted, ventures beyond the realms of everyday life and into the field of art.
Now devoid of its function, the fan is presented in the exhibition through a broad spectrum of works that differ from one another in terms of both decoration techniques and materials. We thus find wood, iron, terracotta, paper and cardboard, copper, travertine, plastics, mirrors, feathers, fabric, leaves, lead, ceramics and wire mesh, materials that transform the object, as we would normally know it, into works of painting, sculpture, photography, engraving, goldsmith’s work, weaving and more. In many cases, despite its multiple diversifications, the result remains faithful to the original form while in others it achieves purely allusive effects, distorting the form itself beyond recognition. On display are works by important names of the contemporary art scene, such as Elio Marchegiani, Tino Stefanoni, Pino Pinelli, Emilio Isgrò, Pietro Gilardi, Giosetta Fioroni, Riccardo Guarneri, and Eugenio Carmi, just to name a few. There are also promising talents such as Donato Landi, Nicole Grammi and Federico Laguzzi, who offered their own interpretations of the fan, elaborating an original, complex language that goes well alongside, for inspiration and charm, the one adopted by the great artists mentioned above.
The actual fashion of the fan as an indispensable, refined complement to women’s clothing developed in the 18th century and continued into the 19th, when its use and various types were defined according to the circumstances and different moments of the day. Luisa Moradei discovered her love for fans as a child when her great-grandmother gave her a 19th-century piece made of ivory, marabou feathers and white cotton satin. As an adult, she was upset to see the fan reduced to nothing more than a mass-produced souvenir and so set to work on restoring its lost artistic identity.
The painters of the Belle Époque did investigate the expressive possibilities of this accessory. With interpretative imagination, they started to work on semi-circular leaves, displaying all their artistic skills. It was so that the tradition of fan gifts began to take root: a hand-painted fan became the ideal present for a close friend or the loved one on birthdays or other special occasions. This illustrious 19th-century tradition of fan dedication gave Luisa Moradei the idea of involving contemporary artists to revive hand fan art and create this inimitable corpus of works. Over the past twenty years, more than 150 artists have created unique, original works for her. These fans ad personam attest to the link between the author and the dedicatee and create an ideal continuum in the fascinating world of the fan by highlighting its communicative value and artistic identity, as was customary two centuries ago.
The exhibition Fans. Artist’s Creations, curated by the Geiger Foundation in collaboration with collector Luisa Moradei, opens on Saturday, 31 March at 5 p.m. and can be visited daily with free admission until 13 May, including public holidays, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.