A short exhibition (lasting only three days) of some very dark umbrellas at the L’osteria in Piazza Angelio opened this evening. The artist Keane who painted a series of bright cheerful and sunny umbrellas for the Lake Angels Soul Festival this summer has gone in a completely different direction and produced instead for Halloween what could only be described as very, very dark images.
He is also testing his luck with the superstition that umbrellas should never be opened inside the house, bad luck will follow – in this case not once but 17 times.
Keane was determined to change the experience for people using the L’osteria over the next couple of days and constructed a kind of false ceiling made up of umbrellas just centimeters above their heads.
The lights the also lowered and a large amount of sawdust was spread across the floors the deaden the sound.
Visitors to the exhibition are offered a torch which then can use to cast some light on the images on show.
The images painted on the umbrellas are all loosely based around the Los Caprichos aquatint prints created by the Spanish artist Francisco Goya in 1797 and 1798.
Los Caprichos are a set of 80 aquatint prints created by the Spanish artist Francisco Goya in 1797 and 1798, and published as an album in 1799. The prints were an artistic experiment: a medium for Goya’s condemnation of the universal follies and foolishness in the Spanish society in which he lived. The criticisms are far-ranging and acidic; he speaks against the predominance of superstition, the ignorance and inabilities of the various members of the ruling class, pedagogical short-comings, marital mistakes, and the decline of rationality.
Some of the prints have anticlerical themes. Goya described the series as depicting “the innumerable foibles and follies to be found in any civilized society, and from the common prejudices and deceitful practices which custom, ignorance, or self-interest have made usual”.
The work was an enlightened, tour-de-force critique of 18th-century Spain, and humanity in general. The informal style, as well as the depiction of contemporary society found in Caprichos, makes them – and Goya himself – a precursor to the modernist movement almost a century later. The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters in particular has attained an iconic status.
All of the umbrellas used in this exhibition were collected in Barga Vecchia after people had thrown them away when damaged. Once upon a time they would have been dumped but the combination of the recent death of the last umbrella repairer in Barga Vecchia, Carlo Sacco and the onslaught of the throwaway culture means that they are binned and rebought rather than repaired.
The exhibition will remain on view to the public for the next three days.