Villa Panza in Varese confirms to be an excellent scenery for contemporary art exhibitions. As a matter of fact, it presents itself as a sort of Lombard “rocaille” decoration among the most sober in the shapes which welcome with extreme elegance modern creations. The airy rooms with few pieces of furniture, the essential Hall of Honour with shiny chandeliers, which face the green of a wide garden are perfect environments where to frame contemporary beauties. The repertory of modern pieces that are part of the permanent corpus and the exhibitions’ calendar is of great effect: Dan Flavin, Robert Wilson, Wim Wenders, James Turrell.
The current exhibition is dedicated to Barry Ball and is called “The End of History” (the exhibition continues at the Sforzesco Castle in Milan too). Californian artist, born in 1955, with a degree from the Pomona College of Claremont, where John Cage and James Turrell studied, he moves to New York where he met the group of monochromic painters and, as a self-taught person, he dedicates to the antique painting techniques and wood manufacturing. His first pieces are inspired by Italian gold bottoms from the 14th century. In the 80s, he met Giuseppe Panza from Biumo who becomes his supporter and collector. After a journey to Europe, he fells in love with the Occidental pieces of art and after 1998 his production changes direction to dedicate to figurative art. Attracted by new technologies, he begins the production of three-dimensional virtual models and, with the use of numeric control cutters, he creates splendid pieces in marble, stones, metals, alabasters, which then finishes by hand. The exhibition constitutes the first retrospective of the artist and through 56 works develops the history of the artist from the 80s to today. “The End of History” wants to highlight Ball’s research of the relationship between original and copy, between uniqueness and seriality within the history of art. Ball takes ownership of an original and with modern technologies transform it and models it, creating a new original. It is in this way for the Envy-Purity pieces in which he reworks baroque originals in two versions, transparent white onyx and Portovenere marble. In the work Laura Mattioli, the art dealer and art historian become the subject for a lapis lazuli sculpture clearly inspired by the Nefertiti of the Charlottenburg Museum in Berlin.
Barry Ball, “The End of History”, Villa Panza, Varese / Castello Sforzesco, Milan from 12/4 to 9/12/2018.