9 March-31 May 2005. This important initiative offers a vast panorama of contemporary Italian art. It also includes a section dedicated to foreign artists for whom Italy represents some kind of reference, and a historical section dedicated to past editions of the Quadriennale from 1931 to 1948.
XIV Quadriennale DArte Di Roma. Until 31 May. The 14th Quadriennale, an institution which has existed since 1931, as usual explores the prevailing winds of contemporary art in Italy. It is partly a guessing game and partly shrewd prediction, and there is a prevalence of large-scale and rhetorical work.
From what we can witness in this many-faceted and nervously lively output, there is a current back to loose painterly painting, to new urban figuration, in the street scenes of Rome by Alessandra Giovannoni, Via Nomentana, in Milan by Letizia Fornasieri, The Tram, in Luca Padronis Vieni Qua, also outdoors, and an indoors by Massimo Gianni, Book Shop. All these are fresh, scratchy, twiggy, splashy, dripping, done with a loose generous hand and clear eye sober but new.
Contemporary sculpture is served well, though it is mostly in a formal, not too adventurous vein. The Dea Bendata blindfold goddess by Giacinto Cerone, is a beautifully-measured horizontal construction in marble. Nicola Salvatores mythical animal Kerala Due is in intriguing contrasts of iron and bronze, Mirella Saluzzos aluminium ladder is wittily off-kilter.
The large welcoming central hall of the museum is filled with foreign guests, Fischl, Kiefer, Goldin etc. and is called Italian feeling but what they have to do with Italy is anyones guess, except that a harmless abstraction is painted by Caio Fonesca who grew up in Pietrasanta, though he now lives in New York.
Photo and film installations, amply provided with sound, are blissfully on the wane. But there are some old side dishes retrospectives of Italian moderns: Balla, Donghi, Scipione, Marini, Sironi, Tosi, Morandi, and post world war two Dorazio, Scarpitta, Turcato, as well as recent acquisitions.
This Quadriennale is a varied, probably too varied, presentation where sober new urban figuration stands out, and if you look hard, you can find enough intrinsic newness to feast your eye and mind. Galleria Nazionale dArte Moderna, Viale delle Belle Arti 131, tel. 06322981. 08.30-19.30. Mon closed. Edith Schloss