Massimo Pulini – Flâneur
“Who is the flâneur? A wanderer or a poet, an idler or an aesthete, a dreamer or a realist? Balzac described flânerie as “the gastronomy of the eye” and claimed that it was a strolling-based science.
Flâneurs are connoisseurs with exacting tastes who like to please their eyes rather than their palates. They treat cities like vast buffets full of titbits and they shun the more famous dishes, instead picking at rare delicacies made from unknown ingredients.
“Flâneurs may saunter aimlessly, but they espouse a very noble ideal by seeking out beauty. They search for it in unprecedented, unexpected and almost unkempt forms, following original routes or wandering around haphazardly, off the beaten track”.
These are the opening words of poet and editor Sabrina Foschini’s introduction to the exhibition that Massimo Pulini has set up at the new Zamagni Gallery in Rimini.
It fosters offbeat but cogent dialogue between around 20 historic works and a similar number of pieces by the contemporary artist from Cesena.
Pulini will take us on a stroll through the world of painting, starting with a portrait of a mid-17th century noblewoman by Cristoforo Savolini and moving on to Christ Carrying the Cross by a French purist from the early 19th century. The journey will also take in a Mother and Child by Carlo Carrà, then lead to a drawing by De Chirico and one that is attributed to Egon Schiele. Along the way, we will come across Gagà by Fortunato Depero and a female nude by Bruno Saetti. This is just a small selection of the stops that we will make as we amble around the intricately arranged exhibition, travelling through time and discovering Massimo Pulini’s gracefully arranged responses to his many illustrious predecessors in the art world.
In addition to the recent “Ut pictura” selection of paintings on glass with an alphabet theme, the masters of the past will interact with the works that Pulini has produced over the last few decades, from slate that he painted and engraved in 1990 to creations on radiographic film with an almost lunar quality to their light, and from metals painted using nothing but white, which look like ghosts from a different angle, to colourful thermal images in which the bright heat scale reveals the pulsating life below the skin.
The relationships established by the “travelling companions” bring out the best of a variety of surprises. It is truly astonishing to find such a sublime selection of narratives in an exhibition by a contemporary artist. The distinctive exhibition design really emphasises the historical research, investigating and telling the stories of the lives and works of artists from the past. It has all been made possible thanks to the support of Galleria 56 in Bologna, which has loaned us numerous early 20th century works, and Pulini himself, who has supplied several pieces from his own collection.