24 March – 19 May 2013
A biographical journey through unpublished documents, books, photographs and videos.
An itinerary with over 100 paintings and drawings by Giovanni Testori, from 1944 to 1992.
In the year of Testori’s celebrations for the 20th anniversary of his death, a few spontaneous initiatives arose in Lombardy, including an exhibition in Bergamo, another at the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan and a series of initiatives in Milan’s public reading libraries.
Casa Testori, the house where the writer was born in Novate Milanese, and the Associazione Giovanni Testori could not be left out of these initiatives. Together they created a Testori exhibition in the entire house, narrating the writer’s life and work through panels, documents, books, newspapers, photographs and unpublished videos, as well as an entire floor dedicated to his work as a painter, with over 100 paintings and drawings.
Thus, Absolut Testori was born, a fascinating journey to discover a great intellectual of the 20th century, between painting, literature, journalism and theatre.
The itinerary opened on a room dedicated to the context in which Testori was born and formed – the factory in Novate, the human and vital energy of the suburbs, the first artistic battles during the war – told through graphic reconstructions and an unpublished series of photographs on the birth of the family business, from the first looms to the warehouses in Novate. Room after room, the writer’s life unfolded from the family background of the 1940s, with numerous surprises welcoming visitors, from his writings of the 1950s, “I segreti di Milano”, to his work as an art critic and four video rooms with the full projection of three plays and a collection of interviews. The conclusion was entrusted to the last portrait made of the writer, exhibited together with a photo shoot taken during the sitting and Testori’s poems offered to the painter as a thank you.
The second itinerary, entirely devoted to the writer’s pictorial activity, began on the grand staircase. Many works never exhibited before illustrated Testori’s passion for a direct involvement with painting, with its large dimensions and disproportionate use of sign and pictorial material. From the fresco cycle of the Four Seasons, whose preparatory cartoons were also presented for the first time, to the most representative works of an activity that saw him as a protagonist of the painting in Milan in the 1940s and present with his own personal exhibitions in important Italian galleries, directed by Mario Tazzoli, the privileged consultant of the Agnelli family, and by Alexander Iolas, Andy Warhol’s famous dealer, as well as at the historic Galleria del Naviglioand the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Of a production characterised by great formal experimentation and change of techniques – from fresco to drawing, from oil to acrylic, from watercolour to pastel – in each room the visitor could thus discover a new cycle, the history of an exhibition or the close link between writing and painting, visible in the splendid manuscripts of his works, studded with beautiful drawings.