Vettor Pisani

Heroic /Antiheroic: a retrospective

December 2013 – March 2014
Madre Museum, Naples, Italy/Teatro Margherita, Bari, Italy


Heroic/Antiheroic is the most comprehensive retrospective exhibition ever devoted to the work of Vettor Pisani (Bari, 1934-Rome, 2011). He was a seminal Italian artist, one of the most radical and visionary, who participated in a number of important international exhibitions, like Documenta V and the Venice Biennale (both 1972), where he would return in 1976, 1978, 1984, 1986, 1993, and 1995. Spanning from historical to recent work, this retrospective displays the conceptual depth embedded to his visionary work which intertwines different eras and codes of communication. Pisani’s work constantly oscillates between opposing entities: hero and antihero; human and divine; human and animal; man and woman; life and death. His plastic vocabulary is studded with triangles, circles and semi-crosses, mirrors and tables, labyrinths and pyramids, pianos and violins, religious figures and a personal bestiary.

All Pisani’s research inextricably overlaps art history, politics, psychoanalysis, popular culture, everyday news, hermetic philosophies, Masonic symbols, alchemical rituals and Rosicrucian doctrine. He conceived his entire oeuvre in seamless continuity through all his career, often reusing previous works to create new ones, almost predicting his whole output as a unique artwork in never-ending metamorphosis.

This ambitious project, displayed across two venues (Madre Museum and Teatro Margherita in Bari, the artist’s birthplace), brings together a large selection of Pisani’s works comprising site specific installations, drawings and collages, paintings and digital paintings, performance, photographs and video, both historical and recent, and often presented for the first time to the public after their original displaying.

Alongside the exhibition, a parallel program of re-performance was presented, re-enacting some of Vettor Pisani's most emblematic performances from the Seventies: Lo Scorrevole (Zip-line), Documenta V, Kassel, 1972; The Androgynous, Garage of Villa Borghese, Rome, 1973; and The Rabbit doesn’t like Jospeh Beuys, Venice Biennale, 1976. The reenactment of these performances, conceived with the vital collaboration of Mimma Pisani, were in dialogue with the iconic and documentary representation of the original actions.   


Madre Museum, Naples, Italy


Teatro Margherita, Bari, Italy