The Contini Art Gallery: the herald of contemporary art in Venice

With forty years of experience and history, the Contini Art Gallery is an important point of reference for artists and collectors around the globe. Headquartered in Venice in a magnificent five-storey building, its rooms are the perfect stage for guests to admire work by some of the most respected names in modern and contemporary painting and sculpture, including masters such as Manolo Valdés, Fernando Botero, Sophia Vari, Igor Mitoraj, Robert Indiana and Julio Larraz. Complementing the area dedicated to these international names is a space dedicated to immensely talented Italian artists, including Mario Arlati, Enzo Fiore and Carla Tolomeo. Beyond the lagoon city, two satellite galleries welcome art admirers in Cortina d’Ampezzo. This artistic hub regularly presents shows featuring famous national and international artists and pays tribute to the city with monumental works installed outdoors, in the area around the gallery.

This year, Venice’s Contini Art Gallery has devoted part of its exhibition space to the Spanish master Manolo Valdés. An eclectic, multi-faceted artist, he combines innovative expressive and formal studies (he’s well known for his versatile use of materials) with a continued discourse with the greats of art history. Magnificent large-scale paintings and collages dominate the gallery wing, joined by female faces, equestrian statues and other subjects in bronze, iron, aluminium, wood and alabaster.

Special attention was given to the space filled with work by Polish artist, Igor Mitoraj, which Contini Art Gallery has represented in Italy and abroad for over twenty years. A number of his most beautiful and important bronzes, a few prints and drawings, and an elegant selection of white Carrara and travertine marble sculptures fill the large space. A number of the subjects dear to Mitoraj can be admired in this permanent solo show (Ithako, Selene, Ikaro, Grepol, etc.), but true connoisseurs certainly won’t want to miss Luci di Nara Pietrificata, a monumental version of which is on display in the courtyard of the British Museum in London.

A visit to the gallery is a rich experience, enhanced by the presence of other noted contemporary artists, starting with the unmistakeable rotundity of the statues and paintings by Fernando Botero, to the oversized, colourful letters which spell out “HOPE” by Robert Indiana, balanced by the defiant irony of Cuban painter Julio Larraz.

In addition, the extensive exhibition space is ennobled by pieces from Italian artists such as Carla Tolomeo, whose love for chairs and exquisite fabric results in true works of art; Mario Arlati, whose textural use of colour creates interior imagery; and Enzo Fiore, who impresses viewers with his patient manual ability and original use of organic materials.

Thanks to the constant dedication and effort put into the organisation of international shows, events and trade fairs, the Contini Art Gallery is a true wonderland for the discovery of contemporary art.

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