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Ernesto Tatafiore
The French Revolution and the Allegory of Virtue –
A permanent Tale

Opening Friday, 29 April 2022, 12 to 18 o’clock
29 April to 16 June 2022

Ernesto Tatafiore, Liberté, 1985, Acrylic and Pencil on Canvas, 30 x 40 cm

In 1969, Ernesto Tatafiore, born in Naples in 1943, had his first exhibition at Lucio Amelio. This gallery was the leading Italian avant-garde gallery at that time and Tatafiore repeatedly exhibited there, among others with Joseph Beuys, Richard Long, Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol. The following year, in 1970, Tatafiore participated in the Venice Biennale, then again in 1980 and 1990. In 1980 he also participated in the overview exhibition on contemporary Italian art in three museums – Kunsthalle Basel, Museum Folkwang Essen and Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. This was followed in 1982 by a solo exhibition at Kunstmuseum Luzern. In 1985, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York showed the artist’s graphic work. Gallery exhibitions included Paul Maenz, Cologne, André Emmerich, New York, and the Lisson Gallery, London. In 1993, a comprehensive exhibition was held in the Museum moderner Kunst Vienna, 2005 in the Museo Capodimonte in Naples and 2009 in Reggia di Caserta, the baroque royal palace of Caserta. A large solo exhibition took place in 2017 in the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli.

Tatafiore has occupied a distinct and prominent position in art since the seventies. This also applies to the Italian movements of Arte Povera and Transavanguardia, with which there were points of contact at an early stage. Very early on, Tatafiore developed the artistic forms of expression that have remained characteristic of him, the use of different techniques and materials, the combination of painting and drawing with collage and object-like sculptures, the subversive approach. A key theme is the French Revolution, including the revolutionary protagonists and the allegory of virtue, the ambivalence inherent in it, the mythological background as well as in general the universal view of history as allegory. For the artist, the French Revolution represents “a kind of ‘great metaphor'” (Jean-Christophe Ammann). It is the subject of a continuous, more playful or enigmatic confrontation that includes language. All of this reveals great artistic autonomy and immediacy, as is the case with the other thematic fields that Tatafiore explores.

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