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08
Sunday
08 November 2020

What there is to see

Travelling. If only through the mind. During these difficult, precarious times, imagining you are in front of portraits, installations, and large surfaces immersed in colour can be most beneficial. This is how we found ourselves at the Hangar Bicocca in Milan. Simply approaching the Seven Heavenly Palaces by Anselm Kiefer allows you to ascend to the divine, if only for a fleeting moment. But, until 21 February 2021, this most beautiful space will be home to the installations of Chen Zhen, the artist from Shanghai who disappeared twenty years ago and claimed the right to the diaspora and cultural contamination in a China that was closed from within and only willing to open its doors to disseminate tonne after tonne of goods in the global market. So we moved quickly and here we are, in Padova, in front of van Gogh. We are in the Centro San Gaetano to admire the exhibition, The colours of life, open until 11 April 2021. This is the largest Italian exhibition of the Dutch artist, comprising 83 works, and it begins with three great paintings by Francis Bacon, granted by the Tate, that make your heart leap into your throat. Thanks to the passing cloud, we now find ourselves in a former industrial building in Naples, with a spectacular view over Vesuvius and the city, which has been transformed into a Museum, Archive and Laboratory for contemporary art and is home to a new nucleus of works by Viennese Actionism Master, Hermann Nitsch. Here, amongst the great canvases that constitute a vibrant chromatic cosmogony, the receptacles scattered across the floor, bursting with pictorial residue, fresh flowers and boundless splatter, becoming overwhelmed by the explosive flow of energy is just the beginning of what might happen. And before returning to the Casa, we stopped in Venice, at Punta della Dogana: the Untitled exhibition (until 13 December) is worth seeing, if only for the seven minute-long video where Arthur Jafa, the American artist from Mississippi, disseminates his message on civil rights throughout recent history, ranging from Malcolm X to Drake and even Beyoncé. This is now we once again realised to what extent art is a true panacea, a healthy remedy against the evils of the world.

Chen Zhe, The voice of Migrators