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Mario Radice: il pittore e gli architetti

from  13 Jun 2019  to  24 Nov 2019

Collaboration with Cesare Cattaneo, Giuseppe Terragni, Ico Parisi


mario radice19_manifestoPinacoteca Civica of Como presents, from June, 14 to November, 24 2019, the important exhibition ‘Mario Radice: il pittore e gli architetti. La collaborazione con Cesare Cattaneo, Giuseppe Terragni, Ico Parisi’, by Roberta Lietti and Paolo Brambilla.

The exhibition, curated by Roberta Lietti and Paolo Brambilla, represents the second step of a scheduled journey aimed at enhancing and improving the accessibility of the artistic heritage linked to the Twentieth Century of the Pinacoteca.

The exhibition path, divided into three sections, is dedicated to the painting and plastic work of Mario Radice (Como, 1898 – 1987), one of the most complex artists of the first period of abtractism in Italy, his rich artistic activity is not limited to paintings, but it is enriched by new projectural experiences thanks to the collaboration with his architect friends, among them Giuseppe Terragni, Cesare Cattaneo and Ico Parisi.

The exhibition reveals for the first time the synergic work between Radice and the three architects from Como, expression of the three arts of sculpture, architecture and painting,  also thanks to the installation designed by Paolo Brambilla, in which the works find a clear reference in vintage photos, plastics, writings, preparatory drawings and studies on paper - including many unpublished works - kept in the archives of the Pinacoteca of Como - mainly in the archive Mario Radice (Mario Radice Fund), donated to the Municipality by his heirs - to deeply analize the relationship from the project to the collaboration of the protagonists.

The first section of the exhibition highlights the relationship between Mario Radice and Cesare Cattaneo, focusing mainly on one of the most significant works of this artistic and design synergy: the Fontana di Camerlata. (Fountain of Cameralta) created between 1934 and 1935 for the square of Camerlata in Como, from which it takes its name, it was built the following year on the occasion of the VI Triennale di Milano, finding its location in the center of Parco Sempione, on the axis between the Sforza Castle and the Arch of Peace; demolished at the end of the exhibition in 1937, it was then rebuilt in Como only in 1960. Around this work, in the first room of the Pinacoteca dedicated to the exhibition, it is possible to admire the original model of the Fountain, coming from the Cesare Cattaneo Archive of Cernobbio, together with drawings, project studies, photo-postcards and original report signed by its designers, as well as other documents and vintage magazines concerning the monumental sculpture.

Therefore, in the second section the relationship between Radice and Giuseppe Terragni is brought to light, in particular through two major choral works. The first is the Casa sul lago per artista presented at the V Triennale di Milano in 1933, of which a giant poster of the interior of the studio is proposed for the reconstruction of the environment, on which the original Columbus stool made of wood and chrome-plated tubular steel is showcased, together with the life-size sketch of the Nudo di Donna fresco, one of the two large frescoes made by Radice for this space.  The second work is the Casa del Fascio of Como, for which Radice, between the 1932 and 1936, had created two large bas-reliefs for the Sala del Direttorio on the first floor and eight frescoes for the Salone delle Adunate on the ground floor. In the exhibition it will be possible to admire an accurate prototype created by the curator Brambilla, with Radice's pictorial scale model intervention, which played an important role for the creation of the first Italian abstractionism and also admired by Lucio Fontana. There are also two studies on paper, an oil on canvas and other works on paper related to the motifs of the Casa del Fascio’s panels; the impressive project drawing related to the chandelier by Radice completes these work-series. Numerous photographic images add value to the exhibition section.

The third section is therefore dedicated to the relationship between Radice and Ico Parisi, with the colour sketches of the Casa Carcano frescoes at Maslianico and Casa Notari in Fino Mornasco, works created between 1946 and 1950, both of which were destroyed, as well as a giant photograph of Radice at work and original photographs.

Particularly evocative of the last section of the exhibition is the 1:1 scale projection, by the young videomakers of OLO Creative Farm, of one of the mosaics created by Radice for the façade of Casa Bini in Monteolimpino, a villa designed by Parisi and built between 1952 and '53.

At the exhibition, a detailed bilingual catalogue, both in Italian and English will be provided, published by Silvana Editoriale, with critical contributions by Roberto Dulio, Stefano Andrea Poli and Roberta Lietti.

The three clubs serving the citizen, Lions Club Como Host, of which Mario Radice and Ico Parisi were founding members in 1953 and presidents (Radice in 1962, Parisi in 1967), the Como Club Plinio il Giovane and the Lions Club Como Lariano work together for a common project, the support of auxiliary activities to the exhibition aimed at offering a wider range of services to the community and in particular for children, the elderly, the disabled and the blind people.

In fact, a series of events designed for different target audiences will complete the exhibition: educational workshops, narrated and dramatised visits, walks and guided tours and a moment to collect testimonies of citizens gathered on the Camerlata fountain and its construction.

In the contexts of the exhibition in Campo Quadro, it is possible to admire places and monuments of the Lario no longer existing of the exhibition ‘Mario Radice. Il pittore e gli architetti’ and the initiaitive ‘Como un quadro’. Vedute e visioni di una città e del suo lago (Views and visions of a city and its lake) which will be held on Sunday, 28 July, the Association ‘Sentiero dei Sogni’ promotes the creative walk called Radice, Terragni e i paesaggi perduti (Radice, Terragni and the lost landscapes)

Mario Radice is also remembered in an exhibition held in the Municipal Library through catalogues of personal exhibitions, critical essays on his work and a selection of reviews which, as a critic, he signed for contemporary artists.

The video of the exhibition


Brief biographical notes

Mario Radice was born on 1 August 1898 in Como; besides his abilities as painter, he was also a sculptor and designer, as well as an essayist and art critic. Leading exponent of the  historical abstract artists of Como, in the thirties he was one of the founders of the Quadrante magazine. He took part in the V, VI and IX Triennale di Milano, of which he joined the executive technical committee for the tenth edition and in 1955 he was invited to be part of the Study Center and appointed as member of the Administrative Council in the XI edition. He also took part in the III, IV, VII, VIII, X and XI Rome Quadriennale and continuously from the XXII to the XXIX Venice Art Biennale, and again in 1966 for the XXXIII edition and in 1968 he is invited to be part of the subcommittee for the figurative arts of the XXXIV edition.

In 1964 he received the gold medal for artistic merits from the Provincial Council of Como. He had solo and group exhibitions in important galleries and public and private spaces in Italy and abroad, including Como, Milan, Monza, Rome, Geneva, Münster and Hamburg. Collaborations with architects and designers for villas, houses, exhibitions and public and private monuments played a main role in his career. In 1973 Guido Ballo published the first monograph devoted to him and received the "Ambrogino d 'oro" award from the Municipality of Milan for the important artistic merits.

He died on 25 July 1987 in Como.


where: Pinacoteca civica, Via Diaz 84 - Como

Ticket included in the entrance ticket to the Pinacoteca

Standard-rate ticket € 4.00

Reduced-rate ticket / groups € 2.00

Cumulative ticket 3 museums € 10

Family pass € 10

Tel. +39 031 252451


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