'Poetics of stillness:' Giorgio Morandi's first museum exhibition in China
By Yang Yan

A retrospective of the late, celebrated Italian artist Giorgio Morandi is on show at Beijing's M WOODS Gallery in the 798 Art Zone. It's a first for the artist and China.

Named "Giorgio Morandi: The Poetics of Stillness," the exhibition is divided into four sections: "Transitions," "Recurrence," Landscapes," and "Late Drawings." The approach is not chronological. The point of reference is Morandi's still life compositions.

Bottles, vases, flowers, and landscapes... Morandi is known for small-scale and contemplative landscapes and still life depictions of commonplace objects. 

Giorgio Morandi's work /CGTN

Giorgio Morandi's work /CGTN

"Morandi, in many ways, his art and the individual will help us relearn how to look how to look at the things that we've forgotten, how to look at the objects and things that we believe are insignificant, but are actually quite important to us," said Victor Wang, curator of the exhibition.

"I hope that Morandi becomes our eyes. Again, when we're so used to looking at things digitally on our phones. Morandi's work is really is about a type of stillness," Wang added.

This section, "Landscapes", highlights Morandi's long-term investigation into the natural scenery and his innovative landscape paintings and etchings that reveal his fascination with the urban landscapes.

Giorgio Morandi was born in 1890 in Bologna. He spent nearly all his life there, working quietly in a modest studio. He spent the summer months in Grizzana, featured in the works in this section... alongside views from his studio window in Bologna. 

One of Giorgio Morandi's work /CGTN

One of Giorgio Morandi's work /CGTN

Morandi's color palettes have been popular for years.

"Another important thing to note that it was Morandi's teaching assistant who said that his colors reflect the seasons," said Victor Wang, "I think the colors really extract the type of emotion and sensitivity from people and they've been able to then be applied to various fields such as architecture, fashion, and elsewhere. But I think there's a type of intimacy there that people can relate to."

Morandi had a dozen books on traditional Chinese art.

There's no direct evidence, but some Chinese scholars have compared the stillness of Morandi's works with the peaceful expression of Song Dynasty paintings created centuries earlier.