Far From Where

La Galleria Nazionale

Places, direction, reference, border: selected: selected Works from the Schwarz Collection

Far From Where?
Claudio Magris's 1971 novel takes its name from a well-known Jewish parable: a man is about to leave when his friend says to him, "You must be going far." His response, "Far from where?" exemplifies the relativity and universality of the concepts of place, direction, and reference, as well as borders and "heimat" (a German word for a feeling of belonging) for nation and homeland—concepts that have always been latent in the Jewish outlook. It also partly symbolizes the fluidity of coordinates that has characterized our history, which is a concept evoked more generally by the title of the exhibition.
Arturo Schwarz and the "third generation" of Surrealism
This idea is personified by the collector, editor, and patron Arturo Schwarz, a Mizrahi Jew who relocated to Italy following significant political instability, introducing international contemporary art and culture to postwar Milan. There, he promoted exchange with first- and second-generation surrealism from Paris and the United States, which had previously appeared so alien, creating a kind of "third generation" all of its own in the process.

He introduced Italy to the work of Marcel Duchamp, who was considered the most radical iconoclast of contemporary times, along with that of his crony Man Ray, and the key members of André Breton's first French surrealist circle. The Schwarz donation, which comprises over 400 works, also features Belgian and "Mitteleuropean" ("Middle European") surrealists.

Starting with Duchamp's "readymades," the collection showcases a selection of paintings, graphics, sculpture, photography, collage, and frottage of international provenance.

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