Claudio Costa - Dov' l'alto? Dov' il basso?

20th May - 4th July 2008

opening: Monday 19th May 2008, 9pm.


At the end of the exhibitions that celebrated its 50th anniversary, explaining what has been its vision and philosophy of art during these past 10 years, Galleria Blu now wishes to add a new field of research to the usual others by directing its attention to artists who worked from the 1960s on, in an artistic field which was not highly respected by critics or by the market.

As many other gallery managers - says Mr. Luca Palazzoli - we take the task to re-propose them, not to the big speculative market, but rather to that world of sharing which has been the backbone of our activity for fifty years. This project started in past months with the exhibition dedicated to Vincenzo Ferrari and now concentrates on Claudio Costa's work. This "outsider" artist had appeared at Galleria Blu in 1978 and 1979, with group exhibitions significantly entitled: "The space of memory" and "Rien ne va plus". The title we have chosen for this exhibition Dove l'alto, dove il basso? (Where is up, where is down?) comes from one of his works, and it is an example of the complexity of Costa's works (and life, too). This question could have a direct answer or a very complicated answer, depending on the point of view. When such an artist finds himself on the edge of the abyss and tries to create a new dimension, sometimes he will make complexity simpler, and sometimes he will look for the opposite and he will even find it. This is Costa.

The story of Claudio Costa (b.1942-d.1995) comes from informal experiences of the 1960s, then it walks on paths that go through conceptual art, poor art and Fluxus, and then concentrates on the research of anthropological assumptions and values which finds in paleontology its place of learning and meditation about the origin of mankind. The research that characterizes Claudio Costa's work started on the beaches of Liguria, with objects and small findings that the sea left on the sand. On those found-and-refound objects he created primitive human beings (both for himself and for others). He imagined them as tools and objects used by people of distant times. Those findings were scientifically classified, though they were just barely identifiable elements taken by the sea. Costa picked them up as if they were bottles with messages inside which were given to the tides by long-dead ancestors. We owe them our life and we can be reflected in them, as in a mirror.

The explicit and descriptive element, together with the mystery of messages in the bottles, is what made Claudio Costa become interested in alchemy and sometimes in esotericism, too. This description of Costa's work can be useful for a first approach to the artist but it doesn't work out the beauty of his paintings, boxes, experiments and so on…both the small-sized ones and the most important and difficult ones.

The exhibition - a collection of about twenty art works of different periods - tries to explain this by collecting historical works with important rsums but especially those works showing the artist's thought and the deep research which characterizes them: among them, we must remember "Nella terra degli aborigeni" (In Aborigine's Land,1977) "Pala della coniunctio" (1983 ca.) e "La sedia di Vincent" (Vincent's Chair, 1984 ca.). The particularity of this artist shouldn't let us forget the interest the most careful critics had in him. After his first one-man exhibition in 1969 at Galleria La Bertesca of Genoa he had important presences in Germany as well: at Produzenten Galerie in 1971, at the avant-garde gallery Dieter Hacher in Berlin, in 1974, at the Ludwig Galerie in Aachefi with a one-man exhibition and at the "Spurensicherung: Archalogie und Errinerung" exhibition in Aachen, Hamburg and Munich with important works. In the same year he took part in "Project '74" in Cologne where he exhibited his Museo dell'Uomo (Museum of Man) which would also be exhibited in Palazzo Reale in Milan during the exhibition "La ricerca dell'identit". In 1977 he took part in "Documenta 6" in Kassel and in 1978, in Spain, he set up a sculpture at the Museum Vostell in Malpartida, Cceres. He also joined Zurich Kunsthalle's exhibition "Mithos und Rithual" in 1981, and Venice's Biennale section "Art and Alchemy" (by Arturo Schwarz) in 1986. We must remember one of the posthumous exhibitions dedicated to him, the anthological "L'ordine rovesciato delle cose" (The order of things turned inside out) at the Museum of Contemporary Art Villa Croce, Genoa, in the year 2000.