PUPPETS AND THE AVANTGARDE
PICASSO • DEPERO • KLEE • SARZI
The dream of breathing life into objects and the consequences of their autonomy have fascinated writers and artists from Collodi to Capek, not to mention many Italian artists such as the futurists Enrico Prampolini and Fortunato Depero. Indeed, marionettes expressed an abstract, mechanical aesthetic, and after the devastation of the Great War, fittingly captured the sad reality of amputated and mutilated returning soldiers, as illustrated by Sironi, Carrà and De Chirico.
Thanks to Oskar Schlemmer’s rediscovery of Kleist’s classic On Puppet Theatre (1810), puppets, toys and children’s games became a central element of Bauhaus practices in 1920s Weimar, as may be seen in the work of Paul Klee, Andor Weininger, Lothar Schreyer, Sophie Täuber Arp and Oskar Schlemmer.
The investigation then shifts to the Russian avant-garde with the section ‘Marionettes and the Revolution’. When Lenin and his wife Natalia Krupskaya decided to combat illiteracy and educate the new Soviet citizenry, they realised the use of such puppets was ideal and, working with leading artists, architects and writers, figures such as Natalia Sats, Samuil Marshak, El Lissitzky, Aleksandra Ekster and Nina Efimova began to experiment with new forms of children’s theatre.
At the end of the nineteenth century, on the wave of Orientalism, classical Javanese puppets began to appear on the European stage. The Austrian artist and illustrator Richard Teschner, in particular, developed the art of stick puppetry to a high degree, influencing artists from Paris right to Moscow.
The exhibition comes to a close with a tribute to Otello Sarzi (Vigasio, VR 1922 – Reggio Emilia 2001) thanks to close collaboration with the Fondazione Famiglia Sarzi. Born into a tradition of puppeteers that had lasted for generations, Otello came into contact with many of the protagonists of the Italian artistic, theatrical and cinematographic scene of the time and represents one of the highest and most important moments of italian puppet theatre post-WWII.
Two stages (a shack and a castelet), set up in the rooms on the ground floor, will allow all visitors to try their own hand at puppet theatre. Thanks to collaboration with the Compagnia Carlo Colla of Milan and the Associazione 5T of Reggio Emilia, a rich programme of mini-shows/performances, interpreted by puppet theatre professionals, will bring the weekends to life for the entire duration of the exhibition. Seeing them at work, we might wonder: “Do puppets go to heaven when they die?” – an entirely natural question, for puppets occupy a grey area, midway between living creatures and inanimate objects.
This exhibition will be carbon neutral: Fondazione Palazzo Magnani is committed to totally offset the tons of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere for the production of the cultural activities it organises.
Animals are not permitted in the exhibition, with the exception of guide dogs.
A fee-based dog sitting and dog walking service is available with Bauadvisor and can be booked at least 24 hours in advance at this link
Early bird: open-date ticket purchasable online until Thursday 16 November at 23.59
Sustainable ticket: to help offset your environmental impact. We will buy sustainability credits from the Tuscan-Emilian Apennine National Park. More info here
Concessions: over 65, people with disabilities, groups of at least 10 people, membership card affiliated institutions, “FELICITAZIONI! CCCP-Fedeli alla linea 1984-2024” ticket, Card Cultura Bologna, YoungER card
Students: students from 19 to 26 years old with a university card
Free admission: carers of people with disabilities, children under 6 years-old, members of Fondazione Palazzo Magnani, press-accreditated journalists, members of Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Palazzo Strozzi and Camera, ICOM members
Family tickets (to be purchased only at the ticket office of Palazzo Magnani) :
2 adults + 1 kid 24 €
2 adults + 2 kids 28 €
2 adults + 3 kids 32 €
1 adult + 1 kid 14 €
1 adult + 2 kids 18 €