Castello Aragonese d'Ischia

14 july - 30 september 2024

Ugo Marano. Amare il mare

By Antonello Tolve

The Association “Amici di Gabriele Mattera”, under the patronage of the Campania Region, in collaboration with the Paola Verrengia Gallery in Salerno and thanks to Stefania Marano, is pleased to announce AMARE IL MARE, an important retrospective exhibition by Ugo Marano, curated by Antonello Tolve, which will be held in various spaces of the Aragonese Castle of Ischia, from 13 July to 30 September 2024.



opening | saturday 13 july 2024, at 9 p.m.



«This world of transformed simple objects, reinvented habits, and renewed traditions had enchanted me. It made me realize that encountering Marano's work comes with a responsibility toward those around us. Ugo Marano always viewed his work as an act of care for places and communities, inspiring a search for a sense of memory. For those of us who have made it our life's work to take care of a place, to conserve it, to preserve it, and at the same time to bring it to life in every possible way, this idea was an enlightening confirmation that we had found an ideal companion, if not a travelling companion, then indeed a vision of life, of culture, of being in the world: care rather than consumption, reflection rather than distraction, the production of ideas and objects rather than the sterile preservation of the past» declares Anna Cristina Mattera president of the association Amici di Gabriele Mattera.


«Ugo Marano's works, rich with symbolic meanings and fantastical twists, incorporate reified beings and cultural instruments such as writing and reflections on art. His approach, reminiscent of Ugo La Pietra's Sistema Disequilibrante, involves a theoretical exploration of environmental knowledge. Marano's creations shelling predictability; they clarify the relationship between object and individual while fostering an intense interaction where hand, mind, and matter intertwine. This process allows thought to glide over the rhythm of things, enabling experimentation and the creation of dreamlike images that perhaps observe us in return» writes the curator of the exhibition in his text in the catalogue.


Ugo Marano followed a broad and unparalleled radical-conceptual-utopian path. This exhibition showcases a wide array of his works, revealing a polyphonic journey marked by brilliant stages. Described as "a visionary and calligraphic magma without end" and "poetics out of time" by Alessandro Mendini, Marano's path consistently disrupts everyday monotony, giving rise to provocative objects and projects. His work encompasses utopian theories inspired by Fourier and Owen, highly ritualistic installations, tensions and multiple meanings, and revolutionary ruptures of "undoubted originality” (Dorfles).

AMARE IL MARE showcases a series of majestic vases that embody the fusion of the Amalfi Coast’s artisanal traditions with innovative reflections on artistic tools. Additionally, the exhibition features sheet iron sculptures that Marano began creating in 1967. In this year, he initiated his Arrugginibili series, where each piece is numbered in progression starting from 671 (with 67 indicating the year and 1 the specific work number). Through these works, Marano embraces the natural aging of metal, transforming time — and the elements of sea and salt water — into the very material of art.

A series of small terracotta chairs invites us to reflect on the chair as a semiotic figure that "depicts sediality”  and as an emblem of the relationship between aesthetics and design. These marvellous Signore Sedie series, created between 1979 and 1980, each bear a unique name given by the artist to highlight their individuality. Among them are the Sedia dei sogni interrotti, the one named after geometra amico di Bonalumi, the Con/creta, the alpinista in pensione, the X Filiberto Menna, the Fontana, the Deleuze, and the Argan chairs. There is also the in architettura chair and those dedicated to specific days of the year, such as Sedia 24 novembre, Sedia 16 dicembre, and Sedia 18 dicembre.

«Large plates, some even crafted with the wire stitching technique (such as the striking Ego Strumento from 1978), along with Sedia evviva (1979), Sedia del pensiero (1986), and Evviva! Sedia dell'accoglienza (1996), are part of a dispersed narrative. These works, together with powerful installations like Casa mia (1988) and various small tables whose surfaces invite thoughtful contemplation, form almost obligatory visual encounters in the spaces of the Castello Aragonese in Ischia. They contribute to the creation of a grand Gesamtkunstwerk, establishing a participatory and allegorical relationship between the works and the space that hosts them. This vibrant and touching connection to the island is a place Marano revisited multiple times, rediscovering elemental creative gestures, dreaming, and drawing on an infinite and slow capacity to meditate, elaborate prophecies, and craft pages of endless love» (A. Tolve).


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(Photos: © Amici di Gabriele Mattera - Salvatore Basile)