These days, I found myself in Rome following the trail of the English Grand Tour of the XVII and XVIII trying to explore the ways in which it constructed identity and how these defined a way of seeing art, in general. One of the obligatory stops has, of course, been the Palazzo Altemps nearby Piazza Navona.
Apart from the glorious Ludovisi and Buoncompagni collections, there is an amazing temporary show dedicated to a collector. I am saying that is amazing because of its simplicity, beauty and poignant clarity of message. The name of the collector is Gennaro Evangelista Gorga who was born at Broccostella in 1865.
The young Evan moved to Rome and studied music at the Palazzo Altemps developing a passionate interest for opera and used to work as a piano tuner in his brother’s shop in Via del Corso. Good looking, well mannered and elegant, he worked as a piano accompanist for parties at the Royal Court.
Then he tried to become a professional tenor but didn’t succeed so he dedicated himself to collecting musical instruments and objects documenting ‘human civilization and its religion, sciences, arts and work from protohistory to the contemporary period’.
His collection is eclectic, to say the least, and allows us to see the fascination with fragments as objects of beauty. These were times of massive excavations at the end of XIX century when Italy was trying both to survive (selling archeological affects to all Europe) and rescue a sense of identity.
The exhibition is presented in glass vitrines aligned as Donald Judd’s objects one after the other. This visually organizes the whole collection around a vanishing point and the result is even more beauty constructed through fragments chosen with an exquisite, although decadent, taste. The Gorga’s collection and the way it has been curated is just wonderful. J A T
IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE LATEST ‘THE PILL’, THIS IS YOUR CHANCE