Augusto Poderosi, “the Body of Light” from Modigliani’s Italy to the art of Qatar

by Mundi Live

by Margherita Chiara Immordino Tedesco

Faces that define the lines of the soul, looks that capture the essence of a moment. Admire and observe the works of Amedeo Modigliani has always been equivalent to a healthy and deep pindaric flight to a universe introspective and subconscious. The observer finds himself alone and unarmed, dragged into the essence of the painting, projecting himself and his inner world onto the canvas.

Isn’t art the story of an emotion that reappears from the depths of the human being to the colour of the canvas or the modelled forms of a sculptural work?

This and much more was, and is, Modigliani. A revolutionary genius and artist who, in just 35 years of his short and intense life, produced over 300 works. A little more than a century after his death, in March 2018 was born the Amedeo Modigliani Foundation, having among its first objectives, the protection of the works of the artist thanks to the active scientific research of Dr. Greta Garcìa Hernandez of the Valencian Institute for Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage, great expert of the painter Livornese.

The incredible amount of works mistakenly attributed to the artist in recent decades, also exhibited in major museums, as well as in private collections, has made it necessary to create a sort of genetic mapping of his works.

It is possible to Stanley fakes and dismantle the thriving market, thanks to the techniques used by Dr. Hernandez. Thanks to her artistic knowledge and scientific analysis of the materials of the work under examination, she is able to establish their authenticity or not by first studying the techniques of execution of the painting and the physical-chemical analysis of the materials used.  The method also makes use of fluorescence visible with UV radiation, examination with infrared radiation, X-rays and chromatographic separation techniques.

Finally, the results of the studies are compared with the data in the official database of the Foundation, where the works of Modigliani are collected.

“It is more the false works attributed to Modigliani than the true ones – explains the Spanish scholar – It is a really flourishing and rapidly expanding market, with an almost incalculable value. Imitating a work by Modigliani seems apparently simple, but the whole structure behind it obviously has its own unique touch. Unfortunately, this often escapes the eyes of many experts”.

“Probably – says Fabrizio Checchi, president of the Fondazione Modigliani – Amedeo Modigliani is the most distorted artist, so much so that he can count a greater production post mortem rather than when he was alive. A market that began to make its way in the 1940s and that has never stopped, as the recent cases of false discoveries also show. They are everywhere: in museums, in exhibitions, in catalogues. Those who think they have a Modigliani, and don’t have one, don’t want to be told that theirs is a fake. It’s a sort of vicious circle from which you risk not being able to come out. Professor Pepi has been fighting the real world of Modigliani’s fake for years. Now, with the method of Garcìa Hernandez, perhaps the greatest world expert of Amedeo Modigliani, we have an extra weapon”.

Thanks to the Foundation and its project “Moovart”, established modern and emerging artists exhibit their works throughout Europe and the world. The ambitious project of the Modigliani Foundation has had as its recent flagship the exhibition of the works of Augusto Poderosi, in the exhibition recently concluded in Naples at the Castel dell’Ovo.

The artist, eclectic and out of the box, in addition to establishing himself internationally as a painter and sculptor, has been an actor for more than 30 years, boasting excellent collaborations with some of the greatest masters of Italian and foreign cinema (Federico Fellini, Salvatore Samperi and many other famous directors and actors such as Marcello Mastroianni and Giulietta Masina). A powerful restorer at the Holy See, he is also a Master of Martial Arts and a director. One of his great passions, the latter, as he tells us by telling us one of his first successes that have affirmed him as an artist: “To date I have acted in about thirty films. I worked at the Teatro Argentina, at the Teatro Valle doing tours and much more. I must admit, however, that the profession of the actor has always been very close to me.

One day walking through Rome, I entered the Basilica of San Pietro In Vincoli and wondered how I could organize an exhibition right there, under the eyes of Michelangelo’s Moses, no one had yet succeeded. I was able to meet the Rector, an old priest with an extraordinary culture and told him why, Moses was looking on his left side towards the portal. He was amazed by my explanation. The then Cardinal presiding over the Basilica intervened and personally sent a communication to the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, to which we had asked for patronage, saying that if patronage for living artists was not possible, a celebration of the “was” artist Augusto Poderosi should be held.

A funny trick, which allowed me to have the patronage in two days. I called it “Body of Light”. 50,000 visitors, thanks also to the guides of the Basilica who conveyed the guided tours to the exhibition of this unknown artist, who exhibited his works and his installations, under the Moses of Michelangelo.

This exhibition certainly accredited me as a contemporary artist. For this reason, I give credit to the Roman Ecclesial world, which in recent years has really changed.

My real dream is to make films as an author and director. For a couple of years I have been carrying out projects aimed at the Arab world. The first film is called “Al Hakawati”, set in Doha, Qatar, whose book will be released in 2020.

The second is “The Look of the Hawk”. They are films where all the sacredness of the soul emerges, between myths and legends, between East and West.

I love the Arab world.

As “Latins” we have roots in the Middle East, which should be rediscovered and enhanced. Sicily, for example, is such a special region, so rich in culture intertwined with the Arab world that it leaves me amazed”.

My next steps are: another exhibition in Liverpool, one in New York, one in Miami, with the Modigliani Foundation and finally in the beautiful Doha, the capital of Qatar.

A passion for the Arab world that will certainly be reciprocated since the “National Museum of Qatar” was inaugurated in Doha on 28 March 2019. With 3 kilometres of 40 thousand square metres of exhibition space, the imposing and ultra-modern new structure symbolically embraces the old royal palace, seat of government and former National Museum.

The National Museum of Qatar will host new works by international artists, rare and precious objects, documents and interactive installations. It will tell the story of Qatar from 700 million years ago to the present day. The museum was designed by the famous French architect, Jean Nouvel: “I thought about the phenomenon of desert roses. Their crystalline form springs as a miniature architectural event from the ground for the interaction of wind, sand and salt water. The museum, with its curved disks, intersections and cantilevered corners, is an architectural, spatial and sensory whole at the same time”, reveals the French archistar.

The precious “desert rose” in the cosmopolitan setting of Doha was made possible thanks to the royal family of Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, considered the father of modern Qatar,

who abdicated in favour of his fourth son Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, one of the youngest rulers in the world.

Two great women stand beside them: Mozah bint Nasser, the elegant second wife of the elderly emir, and his daughter, Sheikha al Mayassa Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, 36 years old, art collector and considered among the most influential personalities in the field, and president of the “Qatar Museum Authority”.

Investing over a billion dollars a year, not only by purchasing masterpieces but also by supporting galleries, financing festivals, events and public art, Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani has succeeded in transforming Doha into one of the world capitals of sculpture, architecture and painting in just a few years.

One of the most important art collectors in the world.

Among her record purchases are Rothko’s White Center and 11 other works by the artist, a Pills Cabinet by Damien Hirst, Cézanne’s Card Players and many more, Warhol, Lichtenstein, Bacon and many others. Among the most discussed acquisitions was Pablo Picasso’s Bambino con Colomba, on which the British government had unsuccessfully attempted to ban exports.

Art+Auction classified her as the most influential person in the world, while Forbes classified her as one of the 100 most powerful women in the world. For the magazine Art Review she has been in the top 100 for years, often climbing the list, of the most influential personalities in the world of art. Her Excellency Sheikha at Mayassa Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, was also the winner of the “Global Thinkers Forum 2014 Award” for “Excellence in Cultural Understanding”.

“Qatar is an ancient land rich in traditions, between desert and sea, which has welcomed over the centuries many cultures. Although it is projected into the future, it is still very much linked to traditional values. We are happy to share our new museum experiences with our local communities, but also with international guests.

“We are trying to bring the best of the best from around the world or the most influential people to think creatively, because creative people come up with the best solutions at a time of change. -His Excellency Sheikha al Mayassa Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani.

His Excellency Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and His Excellency Sheikha al Mayassa Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani
Sheikha al Mayassa Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani president of the Qatar Museum Authority.

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