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Current exhibitions

MONDINO in colour. The paintings from the beginnings to the linoleum


From 30 March to 22 September 2019 the CAMeC Centre of Modern and Contemporary Art presents “Mondino in colour. The painting from the beginnings to the linoleum”,a retrospective which covers the whole of Aldo Mondino’s painting production.

The exhibition is promoted by the Municipality of La Spezia and produced by the CAMeC Centre of Modern and Contemporary Art from a scientific project of the Aldo Mondino Archive. Inauguration will be on Friday 29 March at 6 p.m.

This exhibition can be seen as a counterpart to the exhibition “Aldo Mondino the sculptor” (Pietrasanta, 2010), concentrating this time on painting,a natural, special medium for the town of la Spezia which has hosted the Premio del Golfo, one of the most important 20th-century painting awards.

Aldo Mondino always thought and lived as a painter. His “shortsightedness” in relation to realism over the years became a means for getting to know the world in his own particular way, without ever perpetuating a repetitive style. At the beginning of the ‘60s with him the barriers between painting and conceptual art had already disappeared, indeed nobody has ever managed to imprison his work inside a precise definition.

In his early career in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s,at the height of the crisis of Informal Art, the young Mondinowas drawn to a gestural surrealism, hectic and populated with signs and images recalling the works of Matta, Lam and Tancredi. He studied etching in Paris under Stanley William Hayter, in whose atelier Picasso, Chagall, Giacometti, Pollock and many other great artists of the time also worked. After this he perfected his knowledge of the mosaic with Severini, because technique for him was a rule to be first understood, then reinvented with original solutions. Over the years his idea of graphics becoming painting and viceversa took him in a unique direction. He did not wish to annul painting but to renew it, even though he absorbed the post-Informal crisis. Within the artistic environment of the time he tried to understand the many trends which were opening up to the social, economic and cultural changes of those fast-moving years crowded with men and ideas.

The CAMeC presents thirty or so works on canvas, paper and linoleum, done from 1961 to 2000 and all coming from the Aldo Mondino Archive and a selected group of lenders. From his early paintings, passing through the “Squared paper pictures” and the fake etchings, we arrive at the linoleum works which made the artist popular also with the public at large. The appearance of this support in the 1980s derived from an obsession with graphics, linked to the idea of colour and the pictorial sign. Linoleum, a very important material for etching techniques, was used by Mondinoas a support for some famous series of paintings such as the “Dervishes” or the “Jews”. Apart from the play on words implicit in the etymology of the term “linoleum” (linseed oil/oil on linen),the artist was also fascinated by the large variety of colours and textures in a simple, industrial material, as was also the case for Eraclit , the “poor” wood of the workshops on which he painted his equally famous “Carpets”. The exhibition itinerary also includes a work from the CAMeC collections: Longships, ca. 1980, mixed technique on canvas, 25 x 35 cm, Cozzani collection.

On the occasion of the exhibition the first volume of the General Catalogue of the works of Aldo Mondino (Allemandi, 2017) will be available at the bookshop, with comments by authoritative experts and critics of the author’s work, and with the photographic reproduction of over 1600 archived works.

Aldo Mondino was born in Turin in 1938, where he died in 2005. In 1959 he moved to Paris where he attended the atelier of William Hayter, the École du Louvre and the mosaic course of the Fine Arts Academy with Severini and Licata. In 1960 he returned to Italy and began to exhibit at the Galleria L’Immagine of Turin (1961) and the Galleria Alfa of Venice (1962). The meeting with Gian Enzo Sperone, the director of the Galleria Il Punto, was fundamental for his artistic career and the fellowship with the Archive still persists.  Important one-man shows were also presented at the Galleria Stein of Turin, the Studio Marconi of Milan, the Galleria La Salita of Rome, the Galleria Paludetto of Turin and the Isabella Bortolozzi Gallery of Berlin. His main exhibitions include two participations in the Venice Biennale of 1976 and 1993, his one-man shows at the Museum fur ModerneKunst - Palais Lichtenstein of Vienna (1991), the Suthanamet Museo Topkapiof Istanbul (1992, 1996), theJewish Museumof Bologna (1995), the Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna of Trento (2000). His works are in the permanent collections of the most important national and international museums and in numerous private collections.



Exhibition promoted by


Municipality of La Spezia
Mayor and Councillor for Culture, Pierluigi Peracchini



and produced by


CAMeC Centre of Modern and Contemporary Art
Director of Museums and Cultural Services , MarziaRatti


scientific project of
Aldo Mondino Archive, Milan

with the contribution of
Enel, Coop Liguria



Title: Mondinoin colour. The painting from the beginnings to the linoleum
Technical and organizational committee: Eleonora Acerbi, Cinzia Compalati, Antonio Mondino, Marzia Ratti
Opening: 29March 2019, 6 p.m.


Press Office Municipality of La Spezia: Luca Della Torre | Tel. +39 0187 727324 |
CSArt – Communications for Art: Chiara Serri | Tel. +39 0522 1715142 | Cell. +39 348 7025100 ||





March 30 / September 22, 2019





Claudio Papola

Man of my time

curated by Giovanna Riu

You are still the man of the sling and of the stone, man of my time…wrote Salvatore Quasimodo, pointing out with heartfelt pessimism how violence has always been and still is an exact science wooing slaughter, inherent in human lives.
With his poetry, the poet constructs a deep space and a long echo between the sound and the meaning of his words.
But words too seem to have misrepresented and falsified the true boundaries of the barbarity of our times.
Painters think but do not paint ideas, they paint “things”. Only the way they have painted them and the language employed can generate ideas, activate the critical sense.
In his latest experimentations, Claudio Papola makes geographies and ancient and recent stories topical, “shaping” them in assonance with the poet’s voice.
The artist’s eye “penetrates” archaeologies where a past has taken place and left behind material traces, ruins.
An aerial view of Paris: l’Arc de Triomphe becomes an optical signal and a reminder of both past and present.
Geometrical friezes, metopes, jutting arches are the background for scenes of war.
The low reliefs of the Trajan column amplify the glory of an emperor.
Every power imposes a style. A drawing of history might be made by recording the struggle among different styles.
War machines and instruments of death have substituted the epic of knights and steeds, have substituted weapons and armour-clad bodies. The methods and instruments of conquest have changed, but the aim has remained the same: hunger for power and a violence which is intrinsic to human nature.

Us and the others.

Against the others.

Insisting on knowing just one culture, one’s own, is like living just one life, depriving oneself of the others. The backgrounds the artist proposes satisfy our aesthetic sense, recalling the civilisations which have produced them, of which we western men feel ourselves to be the heirs and participants.
Nostalgia for history, nostalgia for beauty.
We harbour the illusion that civilisations know no “homelands” and can ignore political, religious, cultural, economic frontiers, those separating states, nations, human groups.
The artist intervenes on these “persuasive” scenes, whose quantities of pixels weave and blur the contours, “mimicking” the passing of time, each work adding to the series of threatening, human multitudes, perpetually and fatally at war.
The time represented would seem to suggest an eternal present.
His lines are decisive, sure, with no pauses, as if his hand were unable to detach itself from the support it is acting on. The strength of the lines reflect his strong will to transmit his ideas.
Present, but also antique, suffering is often expressed in a diffuse sky-blue, the symbolic colour for infinity.
Human “figures” materialise. The bodies are silhouettes, sometimes filled-in; they have lost those characteristics which would have made them people; no eyes, no mouths. They are refined automatons, dynamic in the struggle, individualised in their forms even when they “interweave” with one another. They match the backgrounds they are acting in.
It is precisely the interaction among those backgrounds (the nostalgia for their beauty had attracted us) and the violence which animates them which convey drama on the work containing them and on the meaning they suggest. 
Let us take The two faces of Palmira as a typical example.
In 2015, the Syrian town of Palmira, whose beauty had caused Baudelaire to “dream”, was conquered. The extraordinary artistic heritage which caused it to be known as the “Venice of sand” was lost and destroyed. It had been the emblem of liberality, the crucible of different cultures: Arabia, Persia, Syria, Greece, Rome.
Rich in both eastern and western cultures, but always with its own unique identity.
The legendary enlightened queen Zenobia comes to mind.
That beautiful, possible utopia which recognised richness in the diversity of every cultural contribution richness, and fostered an opening up towards a new, better civilisation, towards an existential wellbeing, was wiped out.
Global uniformity seems to be the final project.
In Claudio Papola’s work the mourning for the destiny of the town of Palmira takes lyrical flight. The fighting becomes marginal, an end in itself; it does not kill the beauty. Two faces in profile, each the memory of the other, restore this beauty to us intact.
In another work, entitled Distances of time, the artist autographs himself via a ‘90s painting which partly conceals the image of a bust and a Latin epigraph. Papola’s receptive sensitivity had already captured and meditated on events, human relationships, ethics and individual choice, well beyond the awareness of his personal existence. He had gone through a period when he had felt obliged to express intensive visions about the meaning of life. He had travelled, above all by sea. Testing himself against the sea, the metaphor of the absolute, facing up to his finiteness.
Seeking new landfalls.
Actually all of his paintings “take shape” from the need to deal with the ferments and emergencies of the age in which he has lived and lives.
Forms are concrete, Rudolf Arnheim has written.
The guidelines have been the need for freedom and the sense of justice.
The “germs” generating his present research began to show themselves many years ago; the barbaric events of our times, so dense in negativity, have caused them to explode.
The artist has deliberately renounced the sensual pleasure of the brush-stroke and the application of colour, in favour of the search for light.
He has created an aseptic language which can “contain” emotions, which can document the existential malaise of our uncertain times, in which men have lost the habit of communication. His are only photographic images taken from the media, only lines alluding to the inhumanity of the fight for power, subjugation, dominion.
The photos simultaneously combine evidence of reality and the prestige of art. The lines instead are the fruit of the artist’s mastery. Together, composed in the work, they induce us to reflect on dramatic truths. Art might perhaps be an efficacious guide and tool for visualising and “understanding” evil, for shaking us out of a kind of emotional and cognitive anaesthesia. (Giovanna Riu)

Claudio Papola was born in L'Aquila in 1937, in 1953 he moved to Milan. He lives and works in Milan and La Spezia where he has his studios. For further information about his artistic biography, the video Traces of the journey is available on show.




P. 1

June 29 / November 17, 2019
(The Centre will be closed for maintenance works from September 23rd to October 11th 2019)


Aidyn Zeinalov. My way to Italy. A story in La Spezia


The opportunity for the exhibition arose after two works by Aidyn Zeinalov had been placed in the town: the Mermaid of the Gulf on the Morin Promenade in 2018, and the homage to Richard Wagner recently positioned near piazza Sant’Agostino, as a symbol of the twinning with Bayreuth, and in memory of the great composer’s stay here in the summer of 1853 in an old La Spezia inn, where inspiration came to him for the composition of the orchestral prelude of the Rheingold.
An anthological exhibition has been laid out in the rooms of the Centro which addresses three different fields of research explored by this versatile artist:  the first room exhibits the classical works of a celebratory/monumental type which Zeinalov has placed in recent years in Tuscany and La Spezia, and to which the Wagner sculpture belongs; the second room addresses the relationship between human beings and water, a theme which has always been dear to Zeinalov, and of which the Mermaid of the Gulf is a clear example;  the third room presents a recent cycle in which Zeinalov addresses the theme of war, arms and its exorcism.

So, a “multi-site” exhibition which uses the areas of the CAMeC and also goes outside them to include two symbolic places of the town; an itinerary which leads the visitor into the old centre “wounded” by the second world war, and onto the sea front, a perfect observation point for the Gulf of the Poets.

This is how the art historian Veronica Ferretti, curator of the catalogue of the exhibition, sums up the artistic career of Aidyn Zeinalov: «In the works of Aidyn Zeinalov, we find the representation of the rediscovery of two cultures (Eastern and Western) and the dialogue between them; and two eras (the distant past and the present), re-evoked and interpreted by the artist from a very young age with a modern sensitivity». During an interview with Veronica Ferretti, the artist declares, about his work and his career: « My passion for art as a life-long destiny began when I studied Leonardo and Michelangelo, whose works I made copies of and which I still have. I must admit that my mother always supported my vocation right from when I was a child and loved drawing and making little sculptures of all kinds of things and figures, and if my parents asked me what I wanted to be, I didn’t hesitate to answer always that I wanted to be a sculptor. Then for many years I attended first the Art School where I got my high-school diploma as sculptor. After high school I enrolled in the Faculty of Drawing and Architecture and at the same time I passed the exams for art historian. At the age of 23, thanks to a training course taught by the sculptor Vlademir Tsdal, I entered the Russian Academy of Arts of Moscow. So I gained three degrees: in sculpture, architecture and art history, disciplines for which I have also written and published some handbooks for teaching at the Russian Academy of Arts, where I still organise courses for would-be sculptors».


Aidyn Zeinalov was born on August 3rd, 1978 in Moscow.

1991-1996 Moscow Academic Art Lyceum Surikov. Course of sculpture
1996-2002 Moscow State Academic Art Institute Surikov. Department of Sculpture
2002-2005 Moscow Architectural Institute. Faculty "Design of the architectural environment". Profession designer
2002-2005 Intern at the Russian Academy of Arts (creative workshops under the guidance of the sculptor Vladimir Tsigal).

2001 Gold medal at the Russian Academy of Arts for the best sculptural portrait in 2001
2001 Placement of two sculptures in the permanent exhibition of the Museum of Modern Art in Moscow 2011 Ph.D. degree in Arts Science at the Institute of Research for Theory and History of Arts at the Russian Academy of Arts
2011 Founder and director of the Foundation INTER-ESSE for the support of scientific and educational activities of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Research
2012 Corresponding member at the Russian Academy of Arts
2012 Associate Professor at the Moscow State University of Arts and Industry. Chair of academic design. 20 13 Winner of the contest for the contributions of the city of Moscow
2017 Full Professor at the Russian Academy of Arts
2018 Academic title at the Florentine Academy of Arts
He took part in Russian and international solo and group exhibitions He was a speaker at Russian and international sector conferences
He is a member of the Creative Union of Painters Eduard Drobitsky, the Union of Painters of Moscow, the Russian Union of Painters and the Union of Designers of Moscow

Monumental works and museum collections
2015 Placement of the monument to Giuseppe Verdi – Montecatini Terme, Italy
2015 The model of the monument to Giuseppe Verdi was included in the collection of the Tretyakov State Gallery
2016 Placement of the monument to Giacomo Puccini – Montecatini Terme, Italy
2016 Placement of a monumental composition The image of Tuscany - Forte dei Marmi, Italy
2016 The sculpture Girl with a paddle has become part of the permanent collections of MO.C.A. Montecatini Terme Contemporary Art – Montecatini Terme, Italy
2016 Placement of an honorary plaque dedicated to Aidyn Zeinalov next to his sculpture to Giuseppe Verdi – Montecatini Terme, Italy
2017 Personal exhibition at the Academy of FineArts - Florence
2017 Placement of the Athletes sculpture series in the presidential stage of the Luiniki sports complex -Moscow
2017 The Swim and Dream series of sculptures has become part of the permanent collections of the RuArts Gallery - Moscow
2018 Placement of the Sirena del Golfo - La Spezia, Italy
2018 Placement of the sculptural composition Festina Lente at the Regional Council of Tuscany - Florence 2018 Placement of ten Russian composers and three reliefs - Orchestra, Theater, Cello - in the presidential area of the Zarjad'e philharmonic concert hall - Moscow
2018 Placement of the sculptural composition Rasskazovka - Moscow
2019 Placement of the monument to Richard Wagner - La Spezia (Italy) / Bayreuth (Germany)


Exhibition promoted by 

Municipality of La Spezia
Mayor and Councillor for culture, Pierluigi Peracchini
Councillor for tourism, twinning, international cooperation and promotion of the city, Paolo Asti

and produced by

CAMeC Centre of Modern and Contemporary Art
Director of Museums and Cultural Services, Marzia Ratti

institutional sponsors
Enel, Coop Liguria



Title: Aidyn Zeinalov. My way to Italy. A story in La Spezia
Curated by: Veronica Ferretti
Technical-organizing commitee: Eleonora Acerbi, Cinzia Compalati, Cristiana Maucci, Marzia Ratti, Carlo Visintini 
Photos of the exhibition and for the catalogue : Enrico Amici, Paolo Nucci, Federigo Salvadori, Carlo Visintini, Umberto Visintini
Graphic design: Sarah Fontana
Translations: Susan Charlton
Interpreter: Carlo Visintini
Press office - Municipality of La Spezia: Luca Della Torre | Tel. +39 0187 727324 |



April 27 / September 22, 2019





Works from the CAMeC collections

The CAMeC has prepared a renewed selection of the permanent collections this time related to the educational activities and for the general public wishing to get to know them better.

The various groups of works have been specifically targeted at providing creative, cognitive and ludic stimuli for young users and they also aim to offer the public at large a number of varied explorations of different thematic and linguistic environments. 

Following the groups of works, located in different areas of the museum.

Still life. Food in art
This is a small digression into one of the most explored territories of figurative art (particularly from the 17th century onwards but actually beginning with antiquity). Still life in contemporary art is interpreted in many, discordant ways, tending to reflect the individual artist’s particular field of interest. This small anthology ranges from virtuous verisimilitude to pop debunking, passing through the various other interpretations of great 20th-century artists.
Artists: Felice Carena, Bruno Cassinari, Filippo de Pisis, Giovanna Guerri, Giuseppe Martinelli, Francesco Musante, Giuseppe Rivieri, Concetto Pozzati, Marco Rindori, Rilk Slabbink, Daniel Spoerri, Andy Warhol.

Small size. Small masterpieces from the CAMeC collections
Smallness is a particularly interesting terrain for artists, who condense or develop their idea or intention in a small space, seeing this as a point of departure or arrival in the creative process. It is a kind of try-out, a favourite testing-ground for many artists who experiment with the most varied modes in their search for efficacy of composition and balance of the material. It is often a distinctive trait of a collection: my collection of small pictures? An obsession, a beautiful mania. I walk round the house and feel that I am living in a museum which is wholly my own (Cesare Zavattini, 1963).
Artists: Arman, Jean Dubuffet, Keith Haring, Zoltán Kemény, Gianluca Lerici (prof. Bad Trip), Robert Mangold, Diet Sayler.

The landscape, the town, the house
This selection of works concentrates on a highly topical subject, the environment and its relationship with human beings. It brings together various representations and interpretations of the rural and urban landscape, also including the vision of the house and the domestic space.
Artists: Manlio Argenti, Bernd e Hilla Becher, Alberto Burri, Emmanuele Coltellacci, Gilbert & George, Jonathan Guaitamacchi, Pompilio Mandelli, Luca Matti, Carlo Montarsolo, Gordon Matta Clark, Mattia Moreni, Dennis Oppenheim, Maria Tacchini, George Tatge, Edwin Zwakman.

“Fairy-tale art”
In this case, the collection of paintings is closely linked to the contents of the lab entitled Fairy-tale art. Interaction with a work of art can be surprising, magical and exciting. Children, and not only children, will find stimuli for their imagination and fantasy. Surreal landscapes, dreamlike visions, characters and fairy-tale creatures during the workshop will stimulate participants to create their own personal illustrated fairy tale.
Artists: Mirko Baricchi, Claudio Cargiolli, Salvatore Fiume, Graziano Guiso, Francesco Musante, Nicola Perucca, Antonio Possenti.


Sign, colour, shape
Geometrical abstraction
Lyrical/informal abstraction
This collection encourages visitors to become more familiar with abstract painting, proposing itself as a guide to its interpretation and as an exemplary compendium divided into some of its most fundamental linguistic variations. The works collected here offer themselves as authoritative documents for understanding elements of style (the mark, the gesture, the new use of colour, the attention to and invention of shape, the reformulation of the artistic vocabulary), and are also direct reference points for the scheduled laboratory activity.   
Artists: Ferdinando Acerbi, Giuseppe Ajmone, Karel Appel, Claude Bellegarde, Max Bill, Enzo Brunori, Margherita Carena, Marco Casentini, Roberto Crippa, Piero Dorazio, Jean Fautrier, A. R. Penck, Romano Rizzato, Filippo Scroppo, Francisco Sobrino.


The groups of works can change due to set-up requirements..