Eric Basstein, Florian Eymann, PichiAvo and Andrea Ravo Mattoni

21 September – 31 October 2018


After Old Masters

At the beginning of the 19th century, Quatremère de Quincy – considered the first critic of the Louvre as an institution – used a devastating argument: contemplating the fascinating reunion of so many masterpieces in the same museum prevents the creation of new masterpieces. This statement coincides temporarily with the construction of the history of art (as a discipline) and of museums (in a modern sense) that will strive to establish a European cultural canon in reference to the classicism that goes from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, ciphering the names of the Great Masters and treasuring their works as evidence. Also the label “masterpiece” appears at this time, with the museum, to signal a milestone, an extraordinary (absolute) realization that holds in its bosom the idea of art and the history of art itself. Since then, the Grand Masters have radiated from their time and through their creations an influence and inspiration that encourages to imitate them, hence the academic artistic formation systematized the study and the copy of the forms and techniques of the Masters as a method . The appearance of another label, after will encode this artistic value chain marking the partial approximations or the total imitation of the style of a Master made by another artist, by an apprentice in the workshop or by the copyist in the rooms of the museum. Although in another sense, the interpretation, appointment and apporpriation as creative strategies will follow the same logic until leading to the postmodern gesture and current practices.

(Re)Mastered brings together four proposals that demonstrate the reversibility of art history and how classical forms and techniques are consciously assumed and reinterpreted by contemporary artists who reintroduce the creations of the Masters by updating their language.

PichiAvo (Spain) combines classic statuary with the signs of identity of graffiti (tags, pieces) in tangles of grisailles, glazes  and palimpsests of strong color that dominate the large walls where the paintings are painted or they are held.

Andrea Ravo Mattoni (Italy) builds with his murals an “open-air pinacoteca” moving to the urban space and making available works by Caravaggio or David that are enclosed in museums; He uses the sprays with which he also works on canvas.

Florian Eymann (France) plays in his paintings with the relationship between the touch of Rembrandt and the brushstroke of Bacon, between the representation and the evidence of the materiality of the painting, between the quotation to the Master and the abstract mixture of today’s painting (oil, spray, collage).

Eric Basstein (Netherlands) generates in his paintings a sort of puzzle where classical and contemporary references (advertising,fashion, comics) are discussed as in a sort of abstract sampling in which we discover layers and fragments of the artistic tradition, the popular and the familiar.

To better recreate the rooms of nineteenth century museums, typical of the Grand Masters, the gallery has been painted royal blue, the most conducive to the exhibition and the transgressions of the Benjaminian aura.

Ricardo Forriols
Universitat Politecnica de Valencia