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ARTUNER is pleased to announce a new exhibition at the Italian Cultural Institute (ICI), in London, featuring historical works by the important Italian Body Artist, Giorgio Ciam. The exhibition will open on Monday 3rd October. To see the installation views click here.

Giorgio Ciam. In Dialogue with Bacon
The Italian Cultural Institute, London
39, Belgrave Square SW1X 8NX
Private view: October 3rd, 6pm-9pm
Exhibition Walkthrough: October 3rd, 7.30pm
Panel Discussion: October 3rd, 8pm
Exhibition Dates: October 4th – November 5th, 2016
Monday to Friday, 10am-5pm

This solo presentation of six historical works by Giorgio Ciam will attempt to shed light on the oeuvre of an enigmatic and polyhedral artist, who in the latter half of the 20th century used mainly photography and performance, as well as painting, drawing, collage, and sculpture, to redefine the boundaries of his own identity as an artist.

Indeed, this was Ciam’s foremost concern: researching his own identity through countless alter-egos. To do so, he always began his investigation starting from his face. Giorgio Ciam would relentlessly look for himself in the features and in the works of other artists, friends, family, thus initiating a kaleidoscope of mirrored images. Although constantly probed, his identity is never fully grasped.

To be sure, Ciam’s works can be read through the paradigms of self-portraiture, but the election of this genre is dictated by his field of enquiry: the identity of Giorgio Ciam. His images undergo a variety of processes, including morphing, effacing, layering, and image projection. Ciam made extensive use of collage and photomontage – some of the earliest techniques of photo-editing. In 1975, he stated: “To be someone else, this is what interests me”. Ciam would perform choreographies and movements in front of a camera set to a long exposure so that his features looked blurred and illegible; this allowed him to continuously revise his own identity. In this respect, the privileged dialogue he engaged with the work of Francis Bacon was pivotal for him. By incorporating Bacon’s compositions into his own, he sought to enter into an empathetic relationship with the British artist, thus broadening the depth of Ciam’s own artistic research.

The works exhibited at the ICI resonate with such interlocutions between Ciam and Bacon: while Autoritratto (1986) is the only featured work where fragments of Bacon’s paintings are still discernible, the Stratificazioni series (1986) still speaks to the same sentiment. As the 1980s faded into the 1990s, Ciam’s work became darker; his photography eroded by collage and painting. The Ritratto in Controluce series (1991), also exhibited at the ICI, are extremely engaging works in which Ciam’s interest in the tension between creation and effacement is startlingly pronounced.

Giorgio Ciam was born in Pont-Saint-Martin (Aosta), in 1941, and studied painting at the Accademia di Belle Arti, in Turin. He was part of the international Body Art movement in the 1970s. He had a keen interest for theatre, anthropology and for the different possibilities opened up by incorporating various artistic media into his practice. Over three decades of artistic output, Ciam was widely exhibited, both nationally and internationally. He died in Turin in 1996.

On the opening night, there will be a presentation and walkthrough of the exhibition. This will be followed by a panel discussion with Hans-Ulrich Obrist, internationally renowned curator and director of the Serpentine Galleries, and Agata Boetti, daughter of the late Italian artist Alighiero Boetti and director of his archive. Obrist and Boetti will be discussing their work as part of the night’s celebration of Italian art.

Artworks in this curation