Svolgimento di un Quadro

May 09 2017
Fondazione Querini Stampalia, Venezia
A cura di
Chiara Bertola

The Querini Stampalia art projects are developed in and for the Fondazione space, because it considers the place primarily as a substance and subject, capable of ex pressing the role of an institute that aims to act in relation to its time.
The mission of the place is for it to be permeated by other perspectives, without becoming crystallised in a single form, to illustrate the dialogue between the languages of art and the public. Over the years there have been numerous artists who have worked with the memory of the museum, not only the contemporary and experimental space redesigned by Carlo Scarpa, but also the palace’s sixteenth-century façade.


Considering the Fondazione’s affirmative critical and curatorial mindset regarding contemporary art, it was therefore natural to invite Maria Morganti to produce a work for the café designed by the architect Mario Botta, whom the artist measures herself against for the project Development of a Painting.
The permanent installation
involves the walls of this space, which are covered in fabric created and developed in close collaboration with Bonotto, one of the most creative textile manufacturers in the world.


The idea originated from the Quadro per la Sala dell’800 which Maria Morganti painted in 2008 during her visits to the museum collections. Taking her cue from the colours of the paintings exhibited – and in particular from the flower in the hair of Alessandro Milesi’s La Modella (1910), as though it were the palette on which the painter reflected on his colours – over the course of each visit the artist ‘collected’ a colour, taking it with her to her studio and materialising it in a layer of paint on the canvas.

Her painting is the result of the superimposition of these experiences. The artist conserved on cards the sequence of these chromatic layers. In her work Maria Morganti proceeds as follows: “I don’t make the colour, I find it. I don’t invent it, I don’t plan it, I don’t produce it, I do not reproduce it...I tend towards it. I listen to it and I see it come into being. I see it being born on the canvas.”

When in 2015 she accepted Chiara Bertola’s invitation to work with the café spaces, Maria Morganti decided to return to that painting and to her diary of brushstrokes.
started from the ‘clump’, from the flower, using it symbolically as the condensed point of the artist’s thought, to ask myself how to expand this intimate and dense gesture. How to expand it in the space? How to think of a broad gesture? How to take such a small sign towards the exterior on a large and public scale? How to go from intimacy to exteriority? How to give shape to the colour that was formed in the studio on a daily basis, which is small and concentrated? I imagined that the painting was expanding, opening, that the colour was distributed in the space. I thought of a dilatation of the painting in the architecture, as though each single layer were peeling off three-dimensionally in the space. Through a prevalence of greens, blues and a strong presence of red, the painting multiplied into lots of separate paintings. I perceived the architecture, I felt Mario Botta’s space as the place which gave my colour the possibility to settle, to stay, to take up its space. Each single colour is the expression of an uncontrolled emotiveness and it needs to be held, compressed, embraced, accepted. The two grey and horizontal surfaces, the ceiling and the floor, contain all of the coloured surfaces between them. Between them are the colours spread on the vertical walls, divided, sectioned and separated from each other by lines – the black iron frames that mark the borders. And this is how the voice of the architect is superimposed onto that of the artist.”

What has inspired Maria Morganti in this project is relating, harmony, searching for similarities, likenesses and not differences, an awareness that by starting from points of contact, from an adherence to another experience, new juxtapositions can be created. When her internal system converges with an external system that has similarities with what she does, a short circuit is created and acts on a common ground where diverse subjects can recognise each other.

This is what happened with the textile manufacturer Bonotto, which Morganti was able to work with empathetically. The challenge was to add a new ‘layer’ to the Querini collection and at the same time a new ‘layer’ to the Bonotto textile collection.
“I imagine translating the pictorial gesture of spreading oil colour onto the canvas into the Bonotto company’s practice of creating the fabric through a warp and a weft, and I translated every single layer of colour into a coloured canvas. From the canvas as the support of the painting, to the canvas as the material-colour itself,” states Maria Morganti.
“If every single brushstroke of colour consists of numerous gradations, then the
fabric I developed with Giovanni Bonotto is composed of many different threads which together create a single colour. From a distance, they look like large monochrome canvasses, but when we get closer we realize that the colour consists of numerous nuances. It is the magnification of the pictorial gesture, without mediation, without distance: it forces us to have a close and direct relationship with the colour. The work is completed in its entirety when we go to the second floor and return to the painting in the nineteenth-century room of the museum. The circle closes and the project is activated when we recompose the reverse process in time through our perception. Our imagination returns to where things were created.”


Maria Morgantiwas born in Milan in 1965. She graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Brera and studied at the Studio School and N.Y.U. in New York. She settled in Venice in 1992.
Her work places the experience of colour at its core. Colour as substance, as the trace of existence. What she produces daily in her studio through a precise rhythm, one colour a day, is often placed in relation to other situations and other spaces.



Bonotto was established in 1912 and today is considered the creative reference of the textile world. With its two hundred craftspeople, it has revolutionised the productive and creative industrial paradigm with its ‘Slow Factory’, a manifesto against standardisation and low-cost serial production and a return to the luxury of craftsmanship, to working by hand and to savoir faire. However, nostalgia does not exist at Bonotto, only constant experimentation and dialogue with contemporaneity and technology.
An artistic ethos, headed by Giovanni and Lorenzo Bonotto, whose very nature is in art. The factory contains the Fondazione Bonotto, today one of the most important and active cultural organisations in Italy.