“Born on a train: the impact of Medardo Rosso’s internationalism on his legacy”

“Born on a train: the impact of Medardo Rosso’s internationalism on his legacy”, Sculpture Journal, Volume 27, Issue 1, 2018, pp. 105–116.

The Italian Ministry of Culture has declared several works by Medardo Rosso (1858–1928) to be of ‘national cultural interest’ and therefore not exportable. This decree is based on the premise of Rosso’s ties to Italy, his country of birth and death, and on the Ministry’s belief in his relevance for Italian art, culture and history. However, Rosso’s national identity has never been secure. Claims for his ‘belonging’ to Italy are complicated by his international career choices, including his emigration to Paris and naturalization as a French citizen; his declared identity as an internationalist; and his art, which defies (national) categorization. Italy’s legal and political ‘notification’ of Rosso’s works represents a revisionist effort to settle and claim his loyalties. Such attempts rewrite the narrative of art history, limiting the kinds of questions that get asked. They shed light on Italy’s complex mediations between claims to emerging modernism and claims to a national art. This article assesses the long-term effects of transnational travel and relocation on Rosso’s national reputation and legacy. I assess his poor fit into national schools and nationally defined movements, and the ways in which his life, career and art challenge ideas about sculpture’s entrenchment in projections of the national. Rosso’s case highlights specific difficulties faced by sculptors as opposed to painters with respect to discourses of national and international identity. His example calls for a more nuanced reading of the definition of ‘home country’ and perceptions of an artist’s national cultural ‘belonging’ as single, unified or homogeneous.

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“If the Boot Fits…Luciano Fabro’s Italie”

“If the Boot Fits…Luciano Fabro’s Italie”, In G. Gazzola, guest ed., Italy from Without. Forum Italicum vol. 47: 2 (August 2013): 431-462

This essay opens an art historical perspective on the wider implications regarding the relationship between artistic creations and the imaginings of Italy’s national identity through the Italie, a series of mixed-media sculptural installations by the arte povera artist Luciano Fabro, which feature the iconographic geographical boot. Tracing the development of Fabro’s curious mappings of Italy, Hecker explores how such works question the contradictory terms of Italy’s emergence by playing on a range of imaginative expressions.

“Sealed Between Us. The Role of Wax in Luciano Fabro’s Tuˆ”

“Sealed Between Us. The Role of Wax in Luciano Fabro’s Tuˆ”. Oxford Art Journal vol. 36:1 (March 2013): 13-38

This essay examines the role of red sealing wax in Tu (1978), Arte povera artist Lucian Fabro’s little-known work comprising a hanging egg-shaped sculpture stamped with an erotic image from an ancient seal. The work’s multiple meanings emerge when the materiali is considered, for sealing wax, along with its traditional counterpart – the seal – stand for a particular kind of sensual and intellectual perception. Tu thus functions as a metaphor for the charged “impressions” that leave their mark on the artist’s mind, body, and senses during the planning and execution of an artwork, a mode of apprehension that Fabro extends to the experience of the observer as well. His material choice reflects the intense, intimate connection he envisions between his work and its eventual viewer, and even, if indirectly, the tense cultural and political climate in Italy at the time of the work’s creation. Tu’s medium thus signifies a “sealing togheter” of the vital reletionship that binds not only teh artist to his art but also the artist’s work to his viewer beginning with the instant of a work’s conception.

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“Servant of Two Masters. Lucio Fontana’s 1948 Sculptures in Milan’s Cinema Arlecchino”

“Servant of Two Masters. Lucio Fontana’s 1948 Sculptures in Milan’s Cinema Arlecchino”. Oxford Art Journal vol. 35:3 (December 2012): 337-361

This essay critically assesses two hitherto unstudied sculptural decorations by Lucio Fontana in Milan: a ceramic frieze depicting a bellic scene covered in fluorescent paint and mosaic depicting a harlequin, both created for a Milanese cinema during Italy’s postwar reconstruction. Hecker contends that Fontana’s decorations must be viewed as key dress-rehearsals for his celebrated conceptual slashes of the following decades.

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“An Enfant Malade by Medardo Rosso from the Collection of Louis Vauxcelles”

“An Enfant Malade by Medardo Rosso from the Collection of Louis Vauxcelles”, The Burlington Magazine vol. 152:1292 (December 2010): 727-735.

The essay recovers a hitherto unknown wax cast by Medardo Rosso, Enfant malade, which belonged to the family of French critic Louis Vauxcelles. It assess the work’s technical features as a unique work and as part of a larger series.

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“Ambivalent Bodies: Medardo Rosso’s Brera Petition”

“Ambivalent Bodies: Medardo Rosso’s Brera Petition”, The Burlington Magazine vol. 142:1173 (December 2000): 773-777.

The essay uncovers and publishes a critical examination of the original documents related to Medardo Rosso’s enrollment in and expulsion from the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera (1882-1883), shedding new light on the artist’s aborted artistic education.

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“L’esordio milanese di Medardo Rosso”

“L’esordio milanese di Medardo Rosso,” Bolletino dell’Accademia degli Euteleti (December 1998), vol. 65, pp. 185-201.

Hecker’s essay presents her discovery of Medardo Rosso’s hitherto unknown first exhibition at the Indisposizione di Belle Arti in Milan (1881) and his equally unknown first work presented there under the title L’Allucinato. The essay elaborates a new view of Rosso’s early interests in French Realism and gives names of local Milanese contacts whose importance in Rosso’s life has yet to be explored.