Il Quarto Stato – Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo, democratic version 2014

Today we invited the people from Bologna to participate in reenacting ‚Il quarto Stato‘ – a picture painted by Italian artist Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo in 1901. Our curators Stefano W. Pasquini, Stefano Stagni and Paolo Frascaroli had been busy inviting people to join us today and we got a small crowd together.

Distributing invitations in Bologna...

Distributing invitations in Bologna…

We decided on the reenactment of Pellizza da Volpedos painting because of several reasons:

The painting is an icon of the twentieth century, showing striking workers (members of the fourth estate), and is in the „chromoluminarist“ or divisionist style. Not only does it depict a scene of social life – a strike – it is a symbol. The people, with equal space being given to a woman with a baby in her arms, are moving towards the light. The painting represents the full development of this theme, which the artist already dealt with in paintings such as Ambassadors of hungerStream of people and a preparatory sketch of 1898, The path of workers. The composition of the painting is balanced in its shapes and vibrant in its light, giving the perfect idea of a mass movement.“ (Wikipedia)

We came across Pellizza da Volpedos work, because in 1972 Jospeh Beuys used the pose of the central figure in Pellizzas painting for his self-dramatisation done by the Italian photographer Giancarlo Pancaldi for the Multiple ‚la rivoluzioni siamo noi‘. Beuys used his image as an artist in combining artistic work with political and social engagement, creating blue prints for political art.

In our approach to search for democratic (not political) beauty, we are interested in the change of those blue prints within the last 120 years (or more), trying to find forms of representation of a democratic aesthetic that is more than just a capitalist serial version, individualistic interpretation or a political representation.

The participants for the Pellizza Photo wrote down and did draw their ideas about democracy while waiting for the start.

The participants for the Pellizza Photo wrote down and did draw their ideas about democracy while waiting for the start.

As a warming up exercise our visitors could pose as Joseph Beuys did for the 'la democrazia siamo noi' - wall.

As a warming up exercise our visitors could pose as Joseph Beuys did for the ‚la democrazia siamo noi‘ – wall.

There had been quite some variations of Beuys' pose...

There had been quite some variations of Beuys‘ pose…

Participants for the Pellizza Photo

Participants for the Pellizza Photo

explaining the position and poses

explaining the position and poses

Positioning...

Positioning…

What to do?

What to do?

Where and when?

Where and when?

...and then the start...

…and then the start…

Tante grazie a tutti qui sono venuti!

Tante grazie a tutti qui sono venuti!

These are just some impressions and a teaser about yesterdays reenactment – we will have a look through the photos later today and will choose, which ones are best. They’ll be online soon – and more to come.

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