It’s easy to see why the Italian art world and public alike are smitten with Dennis Oppenheim. The bold, innovative nature of Dennis’s work resonates with a public who counts among its possessions countless art historical landmarks, from Rome’s Trevi Fountain to Florence’s Baptistery doors. A contemporary Oppenheim piece seems to bridge the gap from old to new. As the artist himself states, “in Italy more than in any other country, contemporary art is regenerated through its constant relation to history and memory.”
We are therefore proud to begin the summer of 2010 in Italy, marking Dennis’ eighth Italian solo exhibition in the past decade. “Material Interchange” opens at Bergamo’s Galleria Fumagalli on Saturday June 5, 2010. The exhibition, curated by Alberto Fiz, will feature a selection of seminal Land Art and Body Art documentations, including the installations Theme for a Major Hit (1974), a work comprised of artist surrogates, and Gingerbread Man, the infamous 1971 performance piece. Fiz, who also curated last summer’s show at the Scolacium Archeological Park, plans to highlight the way the work “tests the limits of art and architecture.” Oppenheim will be in attendance opening night, with a reception starting at 6:30 pm. The show runs until November 20th.
Last year two concurrent exhibitions in the Southern city of Catazaro paid homage to the growth of Oppenheim’s work. A selection of recent sculptures and installations were exhibited in the aforementioned Fiz show at Scolacium Archeological Park and also the nearby MARCA Museum of Catazaro. Oppenheim’s work found an ideal home in the Park in particular, which specializes in the fusion of contemporary art and archeology. The setting exemplified Oppenheim’s historic value and provided the most public setting for Oppenheim’s work in Italy since the 1997 Venice Biennale.
Germano Celant, Director of the ‘97 Biennale, personally curated the collection of Oppenheim’s work for the prestigious Venice art show, which featured over forty pieces and surveyed a full decade of Oppenheim’s career. The exhibition embodied the pioneering nature of Oppenheim’s art by choosing an abandoned industrial space in neighboring Marghera as opposed to a traditional Venice gallery or museum space. The Biennale also marked the debut of Device to Root out Evil, the show-stopping flipped church that became a focal point and drew rave reviews during the Biennale, only later to be met with controversy when seeking a permanent home. The Biennale’s inclusion of Device to Root out Evil represented a significant shift in Oppenheim’s focus towards public projects.