Decisi che una sedia non poteva bastare



Harry Bertoia one could speak of the “curse of the chair” in the sense that such and such has been the success of a truly planetary its creation, the Diamond chair precisely to obscure or overshadow what is equally and perhaps larger this Friulian transplanted in the United States created in different fields.

To “compensate” ideally, thirty years after his death, is now the largest exhibition in Pordenone, his native land, the dedication from May 23 to September 20. Two locations, the Civic Museums of Art and Exhibition Spaces in the Province of Pordenone, are required to give account of his creative versatility .

The he famous Diamond, as it should have pride of place but Gilberto Ganzer and MarcoMinuz, which are the curator of the exhibition and the coordinator, they chose to give what is Bertoia, suggesting that is great he also created before and after the fateful 1951 the year of the chair.

The scenario is that America of Jackson Pollock, Alexander Calder, Josef Alber , the spread of abstract art in America and European Abstract Expressionism . But it is also the explosion of design in 1949, Time devoted for the first time its a cover designe , Raymond Loew , the French window dresser who arrived in America gave new look to trains, cars, refrigerators.

Bertoia, emigrated to the United States in 1930, not yet fifteen, he won his own riding authoritative space of two worlds of art and design, becoming the protagonist of absolute importance of both.

Bertoia shunned and still escapes the labels that they would like an industrial designer, sculptor, graphic artist or musician. He moved, in fact, naturally from one field to another, seamlessly . And from this move that emanates innovation that pervades the work . It ‘s true – writes Anna Lombardi – “Harry Bertoia created a few objects of design, but it is also true that the chair that he designed for Knoll International has made ​​history. Likewise his sculptures stand on the art scene if only because they give us a surprise: characterized by a function of use , sound”.

Harry Bertoia began making his first sculptures when he was already recognized as a draftsman . His experience matured in an extraordinary environment which exactly what the American school of Cranbrook Bloomfiel Hills, where he was able to perfect the techniques of metalworking, implementation and techniques of jewelery design . On the other hand, when Florence Knoll offered him the opportunity to work, and no contractual obligations with complete freedom, for a project that s’inserisse in the business logic of the Knoll reaching out to confront the era of American modernism, Bertoia take their the knowledge gained previously at Cranbrook School. He was born the Diamond series, which was created in 1951 and exposed to the world premiere in 1952 in New York City in what was the first exhibition ever devoted to a single designer from Knoll.
Done nothing to chance because in the show, with the then famous chair, were proposed sculptures and paintings made by the same.
It was a crucial moment because it allowed Bertoia, just observing the group of sculptures exhibited publicly, to understand, for the first time, now that he had embarked on a new path, that of sculpture. He decided to abandon the design when the number of chairs Diamond lived a full commercial success and recognition by magazines. A drastic decision – remember Marco Minuz – which is not at all undermined relations with Hans and Florence Knoll, who continued to organize numerous exhibitions Bertoia around the world .

These were years of success and recognition. Famous architects such as Eero Saarinen and Minoru Yamasaki ask him large sculptures designed specifically to communicate with architectural spaces . His works come in important public and private collections in America.

Of these and other experiences Bertoia account will show the Pordenone , contextualizing them in the American social climate and in those decades.
An introductory section will focus on the early years of Bertoi , also investigated by means of a documentary made for the occasion in this first part will be exhibited his early drawings , his first graphic productions and its jewels, the true test for his later sculptural experience. At the center of the next section will be the evolution of the design Bertoia proposing a group of works that testify to the relationship between Bertoia and Hilla Rebay , founder of the Museum of Non- Objective Art, New York, embryonic nucleus of the famous Guggenheim Museum.
A section will be dedicated to the course extraordinary collaboration between the company and Knoll Bertoia who will start the construction of the celebrated series of chairs made of tubular steel .
To finally enter in the part dedicated to the sculpture that will bring together, for the first time in Europe, all the core experiences. It ‘ a path that starts from the first sculptures of the fifties still geometric setting, to get to the famous sound sculptor .
All the works in the exhibition, many shown for the first time and presented to the European public dialogue with documentation including vintage photographs, videos, documents just to make a contextualization of the contexts in which the genius of Bertoia took shape and reached the internationally recognized leaders .