How Twentieth Century art is made
Mixed media is a generic definition often used in captions to indicate the use of more than one technique or material in a single artwork. The enormous changes in the art of the Twentieth century were not only formal – such as the decomposition of the image and abstraction – but also technical. In addition to the use of traditional means, the adoption of experimental or everyday materials has broadened expressive possibilities, but at the same time, has rendered artworks far more complex in terms of technique and more fragile as far as their conservation is concerned.
This exhibition intends to take a look behind the scenes of Twentieth century art in order to understand how and why artists invented new techniques like collage, assemblage, and photomontage or used new kinds of materials or media like plastic and video. Each technique is explained through a brief technical and historical excursus, and is exemplified by a work from the museum’s collection. Exhibited on occasion of the exhibition are relatively unknown works from the heritage of the Museo del Novecento such as Rossogiallonero (1968) by Carla Accardi, and recently restored works like Coma (2000) by Alexander Brodsky, as well as new donations such as Scultura da prendere a calci (1960) by Gabriele Devecchi. Throughout the exhibition one finds citations from the essay “Tecnica mista” (Mixed Media), published by Bruno Mondadori in 1996, and written following a study of a number of works on show at the Museo del Novecento today. This text has been republished as the exhibition catalogue, while a series of references allow the heritage of the museum to be included in this study on techniques. For children between the age of 5 and 10 years, a special guide has been created that – through simple activities – helps children to understand the most innovative techniques in Twentieth century art.