Part three and four of the Exhibition Cycle

“Giannetto Fieschi. An Anthological Exhibition "

 Curated by Andrea B. Del Guercio


Genova, Villa Croce Museum of Contemporary Art

via J. Ruffini 3


Opens 23 February 2022 at 4.30 pm

February 24 — April 30 2022


Genova Nervi, GAM Gallery of Modern Art

Villa Saluzzo Serra, Via Capolungo 3


Opens 26 February at 12.00

February 27 — April 30 2022




The exhibitions titled “Giannetto Fieschi. The experience of art” held at the Villa Croce Museum of Contemporary Art in Genova (February 24 to April 30 2022) and at the GAM Gallery of Modern Art in Genova Nervi (February 27 to April 30 2022), represent the third and fourth part of the great exhibition project “Giannetto Fieschi. An Anthological Exhibition".

The exhibitions, promoted by the City of Genova and the Giannetto Fieschi Archive and curated by Andrea B. Del Guercio, are a way to honour the famous painter and engraver (Zogno, 1921 — Genova, 2010). The exhibition in Villa Croce will open on Wednesday 23 February at 4.30 pm, whereas the exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art in Nervi will open Saturday 26 February at 12.00 pm.

 The conceptual basis for both exhibitions is not the Museum but the Artist's House, following the European tradition of the twentieth century. Indeed, Villa Croce is a splendid nineteenth-century villa overlooking the sea; the Gallery of Modern Art in Nervi is in Villa Saluzzo Serra, a sixteenth-century noble residence surrounded by a wonderful park, and which had been expanded and redecorated between the mid-1700s and early 1900s. As Andrea B. Del Guercio points out, “We change the Art Exhibition for the Art House, laying out works, materials, paintings, sculptures, and furniture to open a conversation with the villa’s interior spaces, welcoming those who’ll want to live and occupy them. It wouldn’t surprise us then to meet a tall gentleman there, reserved, learned, austere, brilliant; sometimes incomprehensible, suddenly unique for his sensitivity and delicacy”.

The exhibition in Villa Croce will include a series of over thirty paintings, as well as several drawings and graphic works and a selection of “self-portraits”, whereas the Gallery of Modern Art will include about twenty paintings and a collection of engravings and silkscreens. “Having decided against the claimed scientific approach of the art historian and the impermanence of exhibition curatorship", Andrea B. Del Guercio chosea title and a perceptual system able to transform the "visitor" into a "reader" of Fieschi's work. We suggest we step into the totalising, direct, and exclusive dimension so close to the theme of the experience of making art. Faced with a complex, multifaceted, dialectical, and interdisciplinary artist like Giannetto Fieschi, whom the art world exposed repeatedly throughout the second half of the twentieth century to international attention as well as the frustratingly ideological judgments that conditioned his instrumental marginalisation in the 1980s, this unprecedented exhibition layout provides an opportunity for his rediscovery and reinstatement.”


The exhibition at the Villa Croce Museum of Contemporary Art

Villa Croce’s structure, its great staircase, the hall, and its apartments, are the ideal setting to “reconstruct” and “come into” the experience of the art of Giannetto Fieschi. It was the architecture’s elegant “cut” and the light coming in from the sea that inspired us to “inhabit” these rooms. We do this by “immersing” ourselves among the artworks and objects on display and inviting the viewer to become familiar with them.
Our goal was not to focus on the museum but the house, imagining a situation in which every artistic object can become a stable presence in the life in the villa. Accessing the Villa and its history is followed by the experience of coming into the secluded world Giannetto Fieschi worked towards his entire life. The emotional kaleidoscope he chased, which is documented in the monograph we compiled, can perhaps be understood better by visiting his study and his home than through these kinds of exhibitions." (A. B. Del Guercio).


The exhibition context does not follow a logic based on chronology but is organised by theme, dimensions, and technique, integrating “fragments” that had belonged to the artist’s habitat to the itinerary. One can perceive, through photographic documents, the correspondences and the sometimes discordant relationships between the pictorial cycles and paintings that belonged to his collection: the numerous wooden crucifixes, censers, silver goblets, devotional paintings, and objects of different eras and styles; between antique furniture and the “repainted” objects he personalised with his intense and polychrome figuration; and a selection of prints and drawings collected in a picture gallery that encompasses all his life.


The works follow one another at a fast and engaging pace, and one has no choice but to follow the “aggressions” that characterise Fieschi’s work and through which it is renewed. The dazzling brightness of the late neo-classical staircase envelops the polychromy of found in "The Surrender" (“La Resa”), dated 1971-1972. Its seven meters of extension cannot but deeply affect the visitor and invites them to follow their “liturgy”. The exhibition lingers on “Allegory to Joy” (“Allegoria all’Allegria”) dated 1957, and then dives through the first two large halls.


From the start, this “road” is marked by the monumental dimensions of the painted surfaces and the physicality of the colour. These presences dominate our perception. It is an “encounter-clash” with expressive “materials” dating the postwar period, which, in spite of this, already showed the contemporary significance of the artist in all its mixed-media informality. "Benefactor and derelict" (“Benefattrice e derelitto”), dated 1969, shows a clearly anthropological depth that is persistently stressed by the interference of fragments of everyday life. This is followed by “Opera Pompeii”, dated 1948, and “Infants and Maria” (“Infanti e Maria”), dated 1977. Moving to the left, we are stunned by the brightness of a vertical blaze of an orange “flushed” with the bloody substances of “Resurrection Again” (“Ancora Resurrezione”), dated 1953, and then pulled in by the “carefully drawn diction” of the “Portrait of Luigi Vacchelli" (“Ritratto di Luigi Vacchelli”), dated 1956.


In this succession of large works, the verticality and horizontality alternate, allowing or evoking the recovery of that kind of emotional participation that ancient art preached through altarpieces and predellas, ranging from the polychromy of the early Middle Ages to the most extreme forms of the baroque. The “Stations of the Cross” (“Via Crucis”), dated 1953, and the "Leviathan" (“Leviatano”) polyptych, dated 1955/1967, both embody the theological-spiritual substance of art (that is constantly denied over time) Pierre Klossowki defines "silent conversation". According to Wolfhart Pannenberg, this “silent conversation” is the result of that inspiration that must be considered a type of mediation that is common to the aesthetic sphere as well as to the theological.


In these large works, the presence, the impact, and the articulation of linguistic factors involved in many ways on conceptual bases still force us today to confront an aesthetically European expressive wave. Both visual and “discursive” symbols operate by recovering the original dimension of the “open book”, one that is to be read and seen.


The kind of “gaze” that “collides” with the polychrome surfaces, which must “dissect” the difficult iconographic turns, following a kaleidoscopic motion, alternates with the philological fruition of a Collection of Papers, drawings, engravings, and screenprints. The Archive Giannetto Fieschi left us enshrines an incredible wealth of “documents” that is considerable for its size, its iconographic extension, and its variety of techniques and formal solutions.

The exhibition path leads to a fourth hall where the theme of the human body, nakedness, and the ambiguities that shake our beliefs fill the rooms and envelop the “reader”, displacing the iconographic heritage as we know it, be it mythology, liturgy, or Christian literature. These works include “Spiritual Corpus”, also known as “Screeches” (“Corpus spirituale”/”Stridori”), dated 1951, or “Holy Trinity” (“Santissima Trinità”), dated 1968, “Ophelia” (“Ofelia”), dated 1984, and the various works Fieschi created on the theme of “Leda and the swan" “(“Leda e il cigno”). The erotic dimension is followed by pictorial works showing unsettling results in intensity, even when considered in the last period of Fieschi’s production. They are the result of a ramification of emotional interests that cover the entire XX century. These interests are confirmed by the drawings kept in a “secret” collection by the Genoese Master throughout his life and the newly “discovered” still frames from the 1970s, highly performative and beautifully attuned to Body Art.


The “house” is taken over by tables and cabinets showcasing the literary heritage Fieschi had always given great value to and several editorial works. “Writing” follows and creeps its way into “storytelling through painting”, finding its own space and solutions renewed and revised by a “visual” kind of handwriting, according to the subject and the mood of the moment. We follow the word’s transformation into “image” through “unstable” characters and the signifying presence of colour. This is the result of the reinterpretation of that timeless world of book culture, and its evolution from papyri to the incunabula and from the Latin system to vernacular Italian and then to French.


The section centred on his correspondence is also significant and often enlightening. These once scattered epistolary exchanges have been collected in his Archive and split between his Studio and his House. Here one can read of his relationships with the critique of the time, what made his “fortune”, and his turns of fate that lead to the painful isolation of his last years. From a documentary perspective, one can also observe several missing names, documents, and letters that are clear evidence of “censorship” when compared to “premature” expressive intuitions of expressive events.


The exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art in Nervi.

To describe the inclusion of Giannetto Fieschi’s works in the collection of the Gallery of Modern Art in Nervi is to offer an important account that adds to an exhibition project centred on this artist’s complex and articulated dimension. The gallery, surrounded by an elegant park that slopes down towards the sea, has a collection covering the history of art in Italy and Genova between the end of the XVII and the XIX century. This allows a close relationship between Fieschi’s art and that of other artists, and traces a journey marked by an aesthetic dimension of time, through a cultural geography made of tradition and revolution and of the evolution of taste and of artistic language.

The building that holds the collection, an elegant House-Museum, is a place that combines the conservation of works of art with everyday family life. Here we can fully appreciate the life and works of these spaces, starting at the end of the 16th century and following the succession of the styles that transformed cultural forms and values and the customs of many a generation. The experience of art has always triggered new processes and has filled the villa’s rooms with works that come into dialogue with those of Giannetto Fieschi. This artist’s paintings add themselves to the history of expressive processes, and most importantly describe contemporary sensibility." (A. B. Del Guercio).


Specifically, and in relation to modern art, the Gallery hosts Fieschi's production of small-format works and those depicting themes he gave particular attention to. These include paintings and graphic material parallel to cycles such as “Maternity” (“Maternità”), subjects still wrapped in a type of painting we might still call “ancient”, and that put us in mind of the great easel that dominates the study in Vico San Marcellino, in Genova.

The peaceful and intimate rooms allow one to discover an artist who, along with the large and often mixed media works, the heavy panels and collages, reveals himself to be secretly attentive to easel painting; works that were definitely destined for private collections, and represent a family’s financial situation. From this point of view, it is significant to find personalized inscriptions and alternative titles on the back of most of these “minor” works, the presence on the back of most of these 'minor' works, such as "Portrait" (“Ritratto”), “Saints” (“Santi”), the many “Maternities” (“Maternità”), “Monsters” (Mostri”), “Figures” (“Figure”), and “Animals” (“Animali”).


We also find a section centred on a series of silk-screen prints related to one of the last great pictorial cycles, the “Danger” (“Pericolo”), dated 1973-1977 and “donated” to the Gallery of Contemporary Art of San Gimignano, and the oversized volume (35x50 cm) of 1979, written entirely in a “size 8 points” polychrome calligraphy, completely separate from his alleged “civil commitments”: “This painting is also a metaphor, an allegory, or a parable, I cannot say what for. Each symbol is, let us say, one of the many others found within a metaphor, like cells in an organism. This opens up a multitude of meanings, and opens the symbol to more ambiguity than binary.”
We must add and stress that Fieschi, in these smaller works, allows himself an expressive eclecticism in the form of “miniaturisation” of painting, an accumulation of informal matter, the outbursts of “flares”, not entirely hiding his taste for excess, like his "Homage to G. Byron" (“Omaggio a G. Byron”), dated 1951. He also shows a taste for provocation to the point of vulgarity, having been deconditioned from the weight of cultural responsibility and commitment, achieving an exasperated state of freedom.




Title: "Giannetto Fieschi. The experience of art"

Venue: Villa Croce Museum of Contemporary Art, Genova, via J. Ruffini 3

Duration: February 24 - April 30, 2022

Curated by: Andrea B. Del Guercio

(Professor of History of Contemporary Art at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts, Milan)

Exhibition organised by: Giannetto Fieschi Archive

Collaborators: Fabrizio Bombino

Assistants: Silvia Colace, Luming Zhang

Restoration: Luisa Mensi Art Conservation and Restoration, Turin

Opening hours: closed on Mondays; (February) Tuesday to Friday 11h to 17.30h. Saturday and Sunday 10h to 17.30h; (from March onwards) closed on Mondays; from Tuesday to Friday from 11h to 18h. Saturday and Sunday 12h to 19h

Admission prices: full admission €5: reduced admission €3

Phone: +39 010 580069

Villa Croce Contemporary Art Museum website:


Title: "Giannetto Fieschi. The experience of art"

Venue: GAM Gallery of Modern Art , Villa Saluzzo Serra, Genova Nervi, via Capolungo 3

Duration: February 27 - April 30, 2022

Curated by: Andrea B. Del Guercio

(Professor of History of Contemporary Art at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts, Milan)

Exhibition organised by: Giannetto Fieschi Archive

Collaborators: Fabrizio Bombino

Assistants: Silvia Colace, Luming Zhang

Restoration: Luisa Mensi Art Conservation and Restoration, Turin

Opening hours: closed on Mondays; (February) Tuesday to Friday 11h to 17.30h. Saturday and Sunday 10h to 17.30h; (from March onwards) closed on Mondays; from Tuesday to Friday from 11h to 18h. Saturday and Sunday 12h to 19h

Admission prices: full admission €6: reduced admission €5

Phone: +39 010 3726025; +39 010 5574739

GAM Gallery of Modern Art website:


Upcoming exhibition venues: San Gimignano (Siena), Sanremo (Imperia)

Partners: Capitolium Art Auction House Brescia, SPAZIOUNIMEDIA Genova Contemporary Art


Giannetto Fieschi Archive website: www.

Press office: Paola Saba, +39 338 4466199,Questo indirizzo email è protetto dagli spambots. È necessario abilitare JavaScript per vederlo.


Monograph in development.

(A. B. Del Guercio, R. Barilli, G. P. Boetti, F. Bombino, G. Cattani, B. Ceccobelli, V. Conti, V. Cuoghi, M. Diel, PP. Dinelli, A. Dzurova, M. Fochessati, B. Genova, R. Invernizzi, S. Jiong, A. Lechleiter, P. Martini, L. Mensi, M. Marcenaro, A. Orlando, A. Mugnaini, S. Pizzi, M. Scarpa, F. Serrati, I. Sossella, H. Stahlhut, A. Trifonova, C. Verna).

Unpublished Correspondence and Critical Anthology.

(G. C. Argan, F. Arcangeli, G. Briganti, E. Garroni, R. Rotta, F. Vincitorio)