In Ticino

Art in Italian-speaking Switzerland 1840-1960


Complementing the exhibition staged in LAC, Ticino, looking both north and south, was selected as the perfect geographical venue to observe European culture between 1840 and 1960, the exhibition at the Palazzo Reali sets out to explore the reality of art in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland during this period, one characterised by significant patterns of emigration together with a steady inward flow of artists to the Canton.

Curated by Marco Franciolli, Cristina Brazzola and Cristina Sonderegger

Starting off the introductory section are the painters, Giovanni Serodine and Pier Francesco Mola as well as the architects, Carlo Maderno, Francesco Borromini, Domenico Fontana and Domenico Trezzini, all of whom bear witness to the emigration of Ticino artists between the 17th and 18th centuries. There is a particular focus on Giocondo Albertolli, a Swiss–Italian architect and decorator. It is to him that we owe the widespread popularity of neoclassic architectural and decorative models. The exhibition continues with a second section devoted to the sculptor, Vincenzo Vela, and concludes with an in-depth exploration of art in Ticino in the period between the 19th and 20th centuries, through the work of artists such as Edoardo Berta, Filippo Franzoni, Luigi Rossi and Adolfo Feragutti Visconti, who roamed between scapigliatura, Divisionism and Symbolism.

The second part of the exhibition is devoted to artistic immigration in Ticino. Closure of the borders in 1914 lead many artists and intellectuals to seek refuge in Switzerland. The Monte Verità community, for example, made Ascona a particularly alluring destination, especially for a number of artists who were close to the Dada movement, such as Marianne Werefkin, Alexej Jawlenski and Paul Klee. There is also a special focus on Expressionists from the Basel-based Rot-Blau group who settled in the Mendrisio area, as well as the “black triad” of Ignaz Epper, Fritz Pauli and Johannes Robert Schürch who moved to the Locarno area. The exhibition closes with the story of a group of Locarnoateliers, the brainchild of Remo Rossi. Between the late 1950s and 1960s, the area became a venue for creators of abstract European art, a place to meet up and exchange creative ideas; amongst those involved there were Jean Arp, Hans Richter, Fritz Glarner and Italo Valenti, as well as Julius Bissier and Ben Nicholson.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue in Italian and English with colour plates of all the works on display as well as contributions from international art historians.

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  • MASI Palazzo Reali

  • via Canova 10, 6900 Lugano