Over 100 artists celebrating the Great Mother

Works of art by 127 internationally famous artists and an exhibition layout that will cover some 2000 square meterson the piano nobile of Palazzo Reale.The Great Mother, from August 26 to November 15 2015, is an exhibition about women’s power: not just the life-giving creative power of mothers, but above all, the power denied to women and the power won by women over the course of the twentieth century. The exhibition is a collaboration between the public and private sectors to bring contemporary art into Palazzo Reale, the city’s most prestigious exhibition venue, as the pivotal event on the Expo in Città calendar for the second half of Expo 2015 in Milan. The exhibition has been curated by Massimiliano Gioni, conceived and produced by  Fondazione Nicola Trussardi in partnership with Palazzo Reale per Expo in città 2015. The histories of art and culture has often centered on the figure of the mother: from the Venuses of the Stone Age to the bad girls of the post feminist era, and through centuries of religious works depicting innumerable maternity scenes. Starting from motherhood, The Great Mother explores the transformation of sexuality, of genres and the perception of the body and its desires.

The show will open with a presentation of the archive of Olga Fröbe-Kapteyn, who throughout her life, starting in the Thirties, gathered thousands of images of female idols, mothers, matrons, Venuses and prehistoric deities into a vast iconographic collection that was used by Carl Gustav Jung, Erich Neumann and many other psychologists and anthropologists researching the archetype of the great mother and the matriarchal cultures of prehistory.A major section of the exhibition will focus on women in the early avant-garde movements, specifically, in Futurism, Dada, and Surrealism.  The study of the position of women within Futurism is explained with works by Benedetta, Umberto Boccioni, Giannina Censi, Valentine De Saint-Point, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti. The rooms dedicated to Dada will concentrate on the birth of the myth of the automated, mechanical woman, from the bachelor machines of Marcel Duchamp, Picabia and Man Ray, to the irreverent performances of  Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven. Surrealism’s fascination with women will be analyzed through an extraordinary presentation of fifty original collages from Max Ernst’s The Hundred Headless Woman, shown alongside the works and documents of André Breton,  Hans Bellmer, Salvador Dalì, and others. 

The conceptual epicenter of the second part of the exhibition will be a selection of works by Louise Bourgeois,who assimilated and transformed the influence of Surrealism, melding it with references to archaic cultures, to create a personal mythology of extraordinary symbolic power. Many women artists who emerged in the Sixties and Seventies, likeMagdalena Abakanowicz, Ida Applebroog and Lynda Benglis, to continue with works byCindy Sherman and Rosemarie Trockel, active since the Eighties. From The Nineties, the now-legendary series of Rineke Dijkstra, who portrays mothers and their children a few hours after birth.

The exhibition will be rounded out by other important contributions, including installations by Jeff Koons, Thomas Schütte, Nari Ward and significant works by Thomas Bayrle and Maurizio Cattelan, to cite just a few and keep your curiosity alive.


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