An archive waiting to be discovered


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A little guide through CSAC museum

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CSAC Centro Studi e Archivio della Comunicazione Abbazia di Valserena Strada Viazza di Paradigna, 1 43122 Parma t. +39 0521 033652 f. +39 0521 347007 Museum t. +39 0521 607791 An archive waiting to be discovered 12


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CSAC An archive waiting to be discovered


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A museum entrance 1 museum 2 ticket office and bookshop 3 administration and archives 4 residential wing 5 bistrot 6 multi-purpose room 7 sculpture court 8 archives 9 hostel 1 1 2 3 4 A 1 9 8 7 6 5


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The Church Pop Art, Art and Ideology, Conceptual Art and Controdesign TheWork on Show Satirical Drawings Research: interaction between archives The Object Project Architectural Stories Painting Architecture Painting Material T  échne The Art Project The Sala Ipogea and the Sala delle Colonne The Body Project Communicating with Images Photo-Graphy Inhabiting the Scene Sculpture Drawings The Growing Archive corridor of the conversos History of the Abbey sala ipogea Sculpture Visit ticket office and bookshop sala delle colonne The archive space


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9 An archive 10 An abbey 11 The archive and the museum 14 The abbey: its founder and the territory 16 The sculpture spaces 17 The visit.The church 20 Through the design and creative process 23 Themes. From the archive to research 25 Communicating and image systems 29 Works on display 30 The visit.The Sala delle Colonne 32 An archive waiting to be discover


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An archive The CSAC is an archive that contains original material illustrating visual communication, artistic and design research in Italy starting from the first decades of the 20th century, founded by Arturo Carlo Quintavalle and managed until 2014 by Gloria Bianchino. Its story began with the first donations to the University of Parma for exhibitions organized by Quintavalle and the Institute of Art History in Parma’s Pilotta Palace: in the Sala dei Contrafforti, in other spaces inside the National Gallery, and in the Salone delle Scuderie.    From an initial focus on artistic research, interest was extended to visual communication themes, including comic strips, satire, illustrations, architectural projects, design, fashion and photography.    Today, the Paradigna Abbey contains over 1.700 paintings, 300 sculptures, and 17.000 drawings from more than 200 artists. There are 7.000 sketches for posters and 2.000 cinema posters, graphics archives (around 100.000 items), over 14.000 satirical drawings, comic strips and illustrations. There are also 2.500.000 drawings of architectural and design projects, 800 maquettes, 2.000 objects, 70.000 drawings of Italian fashion designers and an important clothes collection. Particularly strong is the photographic archive, which contains over 2.500.000 negatives on plates, 2.200.000 negatives on film, 1.700.000 photographic prints, 150 cameras, 100 cine films, 4.000 videotapes and a collection of equipment for graphics, typography and optics, as well as audio-visual 9 tools from the early twentieth century.


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An abbey The Abbey of San Martino dei Bocci orValserena, often known as “The Charterhouse of Parma” with reference to the novel by Stendhal, is a Cistercian monastery founded under the auspices of Pope BonifaceVIII in 1298, and entrusted to monks from the Abbey of Chiaravalle della Colomba (Piacenza).    This imposing monastic complex sits by the road that already linked Parma to the Po River in Roman times, and its layout has seen countless alterations over the centuries. Laid out in line with the plan and functional organization of Cistercian monasteries, it was expanded in the 17th and 18th centuries and by the time of the Napoleonic suppressions could count on the presence of as many as five hundred monks. From that point, the church was deconsecrated and given over to different uses: a military garrison, a conserve factory and a store for agricultural equipment, until restoration began in the 1980s thanks to Occupational Investment Funds, concluding with a more recent intervention by the University of Parma that brought the whole of the former monastery and church back into use.    The church itself is impressively large (62×34m) and maintains its original Latin cross layout, with three naves ending in a square apse, polystyle pillars, and a cross vault ceiling. Over the presbytery rises a high, octagonal lantern, typical of Romanesque-Burgundian culture.The interior still features a good deal of its sixteenth-century decoration attributed to Cesare Baglione, a painter from Cremona active at the Farnese court and to Aurelio Gatti. 10 11 The archive and the museum Inside the Paradigna Abbey are the archives that make up the five sections that the CSAC is divided into: Fine Art, Photography, Media, Design and Visual Arts.    The thousands of works and documents are mostly kept in rooms with constant temperature and humidity to guarantee the preservation of extremely diverse supports and materials in spaces and containers adapted to the many different sizes. From plan chests for drawings and prints, to racking for paintings, and shelving for three-dimensional objects, photographic plates, maquettes, models and prototypes.    This legacy, available to academics for research, and lecturers from the University of Parma for specific educational programmes, is the basis of the new layout designed for the Cistercian complex.The visit begins from the external courtyard dedicated to sculpture, and then continues through some of the monumental complex’s more evocative interiors: the Sala Ipogea (Hypogeum), the Sala delle Colonne (Colonnaded Room) and lastly the Church.    The choice of works on display taken from the huge collection – a selection that is clearly very limited and will be rotated in the future – is above all marked by a desire to explain the story of this institution, thereby revealing the complexity of the archive and its potential for research and educational projects, and the definition of visual narrations.


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The abbey: its founder and the territory Parma, Baptistery, Madonna inThrone with Child, Gabriel (?), Saint John the Baptist and Cardinal Gerardo Bianchi praying, 1300-1310 In the last years of his life, Cardinal Gerardo Bianchi, born in the nearby village of Gainago around 1220, donated huge sums of money to build a Cistercian monastery in praise and reverence to God, the Virgin Mary and the Saints Martin and Louis.The ultimate goal of an operation on this scale was to perpetuate the memory and glory of his name and that of his family.The parish church of San Martino de’ Bocci, to the north of Parma, was chosen as the location to build the new coenobium. A fresco in the Baptistery documents the patron’s activities in favour of the episcopal complex where he carried out the first steps of his ecclesiastical career, in line with a practice widespread among the high-ranking clergy in Europe in the late thirteenth century. Rome, San Giovanni in Laterano, tombstone of Cardinal Gerardo Bianchi, mid 14th century ca. The tombstone kept on the southern perimeter wall of Rome’s Cathedral, San Giovanni in Laterano, testifies to the importance and worth of Gerardo Bianchi. He was the first to assume the role of High Priest of the Lateran Basilica, he took part in four conclaves to elect the Pope, and he worked as an apostle’s legate all over Europe.The position of apostle’s legate was somewhat important since anyone holding it enjoyed the same powers as the Pope when it came to electing and deposing Bishops, and excommunicating from and readmitting into the Christian ecumene. Where there was a legate, there was the Pope, in other words, the Church of Rome. The Abbey of Valserena, as he himself wanted it named, was designed as a visible sign of the power he had acquired for all to see, in “his” Parma. 14 Land Register map of the Abbey of Valserena at Paradigna, 1827. Parma State Archive Among the land register maps that document the construction history of the Cistercian complex at Valserena, one from 1827 is particularly significant since it allows us to understand that Gerardo Bianchi’s decision to build a new monastic complex on top of the parish church of San Martino de’ Bocci was the outcome of geo-territorial calculations. In the first place, what is clear is the median position between two watercourses: of note, the presence of the Naviglio canal that linked the city’s ecclesiastical centre – cf. the street of the same name just a stone’s throw from the church of San Francesco al Prato – with Colorno. This is the same Naviglio that supplied the garden of the royal palace, the Reggia before flowing into the Parma stream, in other words, the same watercourse which appears on the map to the left of the complex: an Abbey between two watercourses that meet. The map also highlights the road that ran alongside the complex, an ancient thoroughfare that linked Parma to the Po river near the Casalmaggiore crossing, and then on 1to5Cremona and Mantova and the whole of eastern Lombardy. Iconography of the Monastery of San Martino dei Bocci, at San Martino, 1812. Parma State Archive This ground plan, dated 1812, testifies the Napoleonic government’s interest in the complex: cour, église, jardin, entrée. Apart from the fact that it reveals the nationality of the operative charged with creating the map, the document is of interest for two reasons: firstly, the word “cour” used indifferently for the entrance courtyard and for the cloisters would suggest that at that time the monastic prerogatives had already been lost; secondly, since certain structures indicated at the bottom and marked by the letters N and M cannot be found nowadays either as elevations or on the ground, it seems reasonable to suppose that the ground plan in question did not limit itself to photographing the extant, but was actually a project to redevelop and/or expand the complex. Apart from anything else, this would explain the use of the same name for the courtyards and the cloisters.


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The sculpture spaces. From the Paradigna courtyard to other University sites The Sculpture Court fills the abbey’s pentagonal courtyard and includes works by Virginio Ferrari, Pinuccio Sciola, Giò Pomodoro, Pietro Cascella, Giuseppe Spagnulo, Lorenzo Guerrini and Piero Consagra.    This is just one of the many places inside the university premises scattered around the city of Parma where it is possible to admire the works of artists who contributed to the growth of the collections that urge reflection on the role sculpture played in Italy in the late twentieth century. At the campus in Via Langhirano, in the area in front of the Centro Santa Elisabetta, can be found The Holy Group (1976) and The Great Crevice (1976) by Lorenzo Guerrini, whose researches are also illustrated in the Church in the section entitled Sculpture Drawings and in the courtyard outside. At the University seat, in the Aula Magna assembly hall and along the building’s south corridor, there are reliefs by Arnaldo Pomodoro, while in the nave of the church at Paradigna there is his Porta (1963-65).   In the Sala Ipogea are works linked to research into materials, the culture of abstraction, and the recovery of memory and the past from the second half of the twentieth century, introduced by the Sentiment of Revolution (1973) by Fausto Melotti: To Neptune (1972) by Camillian Demetrescu, Enough (1972) by Arturo Carmassi, the Summary of an Exceptional Day (of Gustav B.) (1962) by Alik Cavaliere, the Spatial Personage (1958) by Agenore Fabbri and the Wrapped Face (undated) by Igor Mitoraj. The visit.The church Mimmo Paladino, Gratings, 1995    A covered walkway following the line of the ancient cloister, where it is possible to relive the Cistercian set- tlement’s story, leads into the Church where we are wel- comed by a replica of Infinity by Luigi Ghirri and the Gratings by Mimmo Paladino: two complex works that introduce the CSAC story. The layout of the church deter- mined the way the visit is laid out: the first part is arranged in thematic sections divided by the series of “chapels” that unfold along the minor naves, and a second, in the area of 16 17 the transept and the apse.


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   The first section illustrates the story of the CSAC beyond visual and design research in Italy thanks to some works and projects chosen from the huge archive, arranged by theme: The Art Project, Pittura materia téchne, Painting Architecture, Architectural Stories,The Object Project, Research: interaction between archives, Satirical Drawings, The Work on Show, The Body Project, Communicating with Images, Photo-Graphy, Inhabiting the Scene, Sculpture Drawings, The Growing Archive.    The function of each of these “art rooms” is to urge critical appreciation, inspire exhibition projects, or help understand the richness of the legacy and the special life of an archive-museum created within a university context. Olivo Barbieri, Montagnana, 1986 JoeTilson, Egg, 1971    The area of the transept and apse that closes the visit is dedicate to the first themed exhibition on the researches that were taking place in Italy during the years when the CSAC was founded: Visual Arts and Design from the late Sixties to the Seventies, Pop Art, Art and Ideology, Conceptual Art and Controdesign. The way the works are displayed, reverting to the large panels typical of the Nineties plus new structures, tends to suggest the image of a museum tied to that of an archive and workshop, in which the works can be easily changed and recombined in new ways. 18 19


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Through the design and creative process Giuseppe Samonà, Competition for the Chamber of Deputies Offices, 1966-67 Enzo Mari, Plastic table container, 1965-68 Pier Luigi Nervi, Sports Hall for the Eur, 1955 Certain sections have been conceived to illustrate artistic roads featuring different forms of expression and design, and in different time frames.   The Art Project gravitates around the Fiocinatore by Lucio Fontana, while Sculpture Drawing presents the work of Lorenzo Guerrini.   Instead, Painting Architecture focusses on the large cartoon by Mario Sironi, documenting the complex relationship between the arts in theThirties. Architectural Stories and The Object Project compare the methods and languages of some leading figures of Italian architecture and design: Ignazio Gardella, Pierluigi Nervi, Gio Ponti, Giuseppe Samonà, Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni, Enzo Mari, Alberto Rosselli and Mario Bellini. Ignazio Gardella, Competition for the new Civic Theatre of Vicenza (1999). Photo: Giorgio Casali 20 21


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The Body Project, and Inhabiting the Scene show two different ways of designing clothes, as well as two contexts: the everyday, and the theatrical and cinema scene. On the one hand, the passage from the figurine to the garment in the golden years of Italian prêt-à-porter: from Walter Albini to Giorgio Armani, from Gianfranco Ferré to Krizia and GianniVersace and, on the other, costume as an expression of Italy’s great sartorial tradition and a way of working focussing on the materials and techniques illustrated, for example, by the theatrical and cinema tailoring of Farani. Pittura materia téchne, through a selection of three paintings, to highlight different languages centred around the theme of the materials used: Alberto Burri, Enrico Castellani and Toti Scialoja. Giorgio Armani, Spring-Summer Collection 1977 Walter Albini, The clowns, Misterfox Autumn-Winter Collection 1972-73 Themes. From the archive to research Marcello Nizzoli, Lexicon 80 typewriter, undated (1945 ca.) Research: interaction between archives. To help understand the potential of an archive like the CSAC, which marries specialization and transversality, it was decided to illustrate the Alberto Rosselli, Jarana resin armchair, 1969 production of Olivetti, an Italian company whose story is based as much on product innovation as on experimenta- tion, on attention to communication, beautiful design, and the centrality of man. From the industrial architecture of Luigi Figini and Gino Pollini, Ignazio Gardella and Marcello Nizzoli, to products designed by Nizzoli himself, by Mario Bellini or Ettore Sottsass, to the communication project again created by Nizzoli and the company’s advertising office, one of the first in Italy at the beginning of the twentieth century to be based 22 23 on the American model.


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Communicating and image systems The work on show: the story of the CSAC is a story of collecting, but also of exhibitions. Works are kept at the CSAC which, in some cases, are expressive of a significant line of exhibitions, given that they formed part of important series that enlivened the historical and critical debate of the 20th and 21st centuries. Opening this first “display” is Della Falsità (Of Falsehood - 1973), an exhibition that was a critical part of the Seventies’ debate on conceptual art in Italy. The growing archive. The visit ends with a demonstration of the continual, never-ending work of collecting works and archiving. Shown here are some of the most recent acquisitions: Louise Nevelson in the Fine Art section, Giovanni Chiaramonte in Photography, and lastly, Luigi Pellegrin and Cini Boeri in Design. Emilio Isgrò, The red-dressed chairman MaoTse-Tung (on the left) sleeping in red, 1974 Mario Schifano, Botticelli, 1962 24 Erberto Carboni, Barilla,The Pasta of healthy appetite, 1952 25 The artist’s work pursues a constant comparison with reality, seeks a dialogue with the external, offers an interpretation of the context he works in to respond to precise requests of his clients, or constructs systems of images that are the results of an interior journey. Satirical Drawings, Communicating with Images and Photo-Graphy are the sections where these procedures are exemplified: from Satirical plates for «Il Male» or other Italian weeklies of the Sixties through the subtle, biting pens of Chiappori, Pericoli, Pirella, Perini, and Calligaro; the “staging” of objects/products by Sepo, Erberto Carboni and ArmandoTesta, and lastly the differentiated forms of tales and various kinds of photographic “handwriting”; to Farm Security Administration photos, hence Bruno Stefani, the avant-garde of Man Ray, Florence Henri, the photos of the Publifoto agency, and lastly Luigi Ghirri, Olivo Barbieri, Gabriele Basilico, Cuchi White, Giovanni Chiaramonte, Mario Cresci, Vincenzo Castella and Gianni Leone.


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Florence Henri, Composition, 1933 ca. © Martini e Rocchetti, Genova Man Ray, La mode au Congo, 1937 (Carrieri, 1980) ArmandoTesta, Caffé Paulista Lavazza. Carmencita e Caballero, 1964 ArmandoTesta, Punt e Mes, 1960 Alfredo Chiappori, Padroni e Padrini, 1974



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