28th March, at the Glucksman Gallery, University College Cork in Ireland, marks the opening of the exhibition ‘The Artist's Eye’, featuring 80 selected works from the Photography Collection of the Galleria civica di Modena, curated by the two directors of the museums: Fiona Kearney and Marco Pierini.

The exhibition constitutes the first step in a major cultural exchange with the museum based inside the University of Cork: an international collaboration project which – from June to September – will also form the basis of the exhibition at the Palazzina dei Giardini in Modena entitled ‘Island. New Art from Ireland’.

Max Ernst sitting in his New York studio, his face clouded by cigarette smoke; Pablo Picasso lying by the sea in a declamatory pose; Jannis Kounellis on horseback inside the Galleria L’Attico in Rome; Joseph Beuys emerging fully clad from a watery marsh donning a felt hat; John Lennon captured naked, locked in an embrace with Yoko Ono, only a few hours before his death.

These and many other faces of contemporary art will be the protagonists of a show featuring shots by some of the greatest masters of photography from Italy and around the world, all to be found in the permanent collection of the Italian museum. Artists’ portraits, self-portraits and performances. These are the three main areas of the event which sheds light on major artistic events which a range of Italian artists witnessed throughout the ‘60s and ‘70s.

The protagonists portrayed include Laurie Anderson, Peter Blake, Alighiero Boetti, John Cage, Salvador Dalì, Max Ernst, Jannis Kounellis, Piero Manzoni, Mario Merz, Luigi Ontani, Pino Pascali, Pablo Picasso, Robert Rauschenberg, Anton Räderscheidt, Andy Warhol and Bob Wilson, captured by photo-artists such as Claudio Abate, Lucien Clergue, Giorgio Colombo, Mario Cresci, Robert Doisneau, Carlo Fei, Franco Fontana, Gianfranco Gorgoni, Annie Leibovitz, Silvia Lelli, Uliano Lucas, Roberto Masotti, Arnold Newman, Paolo Pellion di Persano, Roger Pic, August Sander, Alberto Schommer and Paolo Terzi.

Several portraits – such as that of Peter Blake for example – have a direct tie with the history of the Galleria Civica itself insofar as they were produced during the preparation of exhibitions at the Gallery, or in the case of John Cage and Robert Rauschenberg (shot by Roberto Masotti), of Shirin Neshat and Luigi Ontani (in front of the lens of Carlo Fei), of Laurie Anderson and Vito Acconci (captured by Silvia Lelli), were added to the collection on the occasion of exhibitions or shows of works from the collection itself.

Among the works chosen, there are also shots familiar to the general public, ones that have since been absorbed by the collective imagination, yet the presence of which in the Gallery Collection is still little known. Among these we might mention the previously noted portrait of Yoko Ono and John Lennon taken by Annie Leibovitz in 1980, and the famous shot by August Sander taken in 1927 depicting the German painter Anton Räderscheidt, which has since become part of the very history of photography.

In Modena at the Palazzina dei Giardini, on 20th June at 6.30pm there will be the opening of ‘Island. New Art from Ireland’ curated by the director of the Lewis Gluckmans Gallery, Fiona Kearney, and financed with a contribution from Culture Ireland. Among the artists called upon to investigate the theme of the island, with particular reference to Ireland, we might mention Mark Garry, Martin Healy, Niamh McCann, Mairead O’hEocha and Niamh O’Malley.

The Heritage of the Galleria civica
Ever since 1959, the Galleria civica di Modena has been one of the most authoritative cultural production centres on the national panorama. It organises temporary exhibitions of contemporary art and photography, as well as cycles of conferences, debates, study days, opportunities for meeting and discussing the themes and protagonists of art of this century. Over the last 20 years of careful work, it has founded two major and today highly prized collections: the Drawing Collection, with almost 5,000 paper-based works by some of the greatest representatives of 20th-century Italian art, and the Photography Collection, comprising more than 4,000 images by some of the most widely accredited photographers on the international panorama.

Lewis Glucksman Gallery
College Rd
Cork, Ireland
Tel. + 353 21 4901844

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Tuesday - Saturday 10am -  5pm
Sundays 2pm - 5pm