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Venice Biennale 1972. The Italian Pavilion


May 06—September 24, 2017

curated by Renato Barilli



Comportamento is the re-enactment of the Italian Pavilion of the Venice Biennale of 1972, or rather a part of it, Comportamento, curated, today as then, by Renato Barilli, which, together with Francesco Arcangeli's Opera, represented the central dialectical binomial of that edition. The full title of the exhibition was Opera o comportamento (Work or behaviour), which posed the question of whether in the future art would still be confined to rather traditional paintings and sculpture, or whether it would have expanded into the processuality which the interventions of many artists at that time seemed to prefer. 

More than a mere philological reconstruction of that part of the central pavilion, the exhibition intends on the one hand to suggest the meaning of the works by artists who at that time were known on the international scene: Gino De Dominicis, Luciano Fabro, Mario Merz, Germano Olivotto, and Franco Vaccari. On the other, thanks to the research work carried out by Giada Pellicari, through archived photographs and documents it attempts to highlight the organizational and critical matters of that event. The controversies were determined more by the incomprehension of new phenomena, against the new art, coming from various areas of the culture, and from those that were seemingly innovative but essentially reactionary, rather than a real analysis of that event. It was the provocative force of reality, which entered the artistic sphere with all its impetuosity, surprising people and leaving them dumbfounded. It was a highly courageous and pioneering exhibition in that it was the first occasion, for a public institution such as the Biennale, to address the tangle of movements that emerged, in Italy as elsewhere, from the revolution of 1968. That period had a great impact in the art world, where it came to proclaim death, if understood as recourse to the traditional means of painting, replaced by new technological mediums advanced by that turning point: photography, with its logical development in video, the installation of real objects, and the use of the actual body of the artists or their representatives.

Conceived as a path through the display of works that were originally exhibited, in combination with other, similar ones, the exhibition winds through four rooms situated in the area of the Pecci Centre designed in the Eighties by the architect Italo Gamberini. It is enriched by a documentary section featuring photographic material, articles, films and texts published on that occasion.  


The Comportamento exhibition launches a collaboration with the Municipality of Florence, accepting the invitation to focus the attention on Italian art in relation to the big exhibition YTALIAEnergia. Pensiero. Bellezza at Forte Belvedere and other Florentine art sites, curated by Sergio Risaliti and organized by Mus.e, which will open on 2 June 2017.


Works by

Gino De Dominicis, Luciano Fabro, Mario Merz, Germano Olivotto, Franco Vaccari


This project by the Pecci Centre has been made possible through collaboration with various institutions and galleries, including:

GAM, Torino; Collezione Merz, Archivio Fabro; Archivio Ugo Mulas; Archivio Fondazione Fotografia Modena; Archivio Gino De Dominicis; KUNSTMUSEUM WOLFSBURG; Galleria Lia Rumma; Galleria Massimo Minini; Collezione G. e A. Perezzani; Collezione Fabio Sargentini; Fondazione Mudima; Archivio Flash Art, Collezione Cattelani; e numerose collezioni private.



Cover image: Luciano Fabro, Opening of the Italy Pavilion at the Biennale of 1972 © AAF - ArchivioArte Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Modena

Centro per l'arte contemporanea Luigi Pecci

Viale della Repubblica, 277, 59100 Prato PO, Italia

Opening hours

Tuesday and Wednesday 12.00 pm - 8.00 pm

from Thursday to Sunday 12.00 pm - 12.00 am



Saturday May 6, 2017 H 6.00 pm


Supported by

Lions Club - Prato

see also
April 29—June 25, 2017
Jérôme Bel

76’38’’ + ∞