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Fonda and the Great Journey



 Fonda and the Great Journey

We are very glad to announce that on the 12th of November will open the exhibition “FONDA AND THE GREAT JOURNEY”, a solo show of the artist Lorenzo Fonda, hosted by the Yuan Art Museum in Beijing.

This event of Italian contemporary art is the first great Italian exhibition organized in Beijing since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and will be followed in the next months by other important exhibitions and live events organized by the Italian Embassy and the Italian Institute of Culture.

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Lorenzo Fonda (Piran,1947) has long been inspired by two ancient Greek myths that were absorbed by the Roman world and have crossed through Mediterranean over the centuries.

The protagonist of the Odyssey occupies a sizeable space in the western imagination, which is rooted in the Mediterranean.

After the Trojan War, Ulysses, by this point famous, set out on his return journey back to the island of Ithaca. A journey for not forgetting the return, in spite of the numerous traps of forgetfulness where forgetting the return means abandoning one’s own destiny, one’s own identity. A journey that is also arduous regaining of self.

Prometheus draws on the relationship between gods and men, a relationship that develops, however, through deception and theft. Which is why numerous philosophers have seen Prometheus as the beginning of the death of God.

The great journey proposed by Fonda starts from the four elements: earth, air, water and fire. The elements, which Fonda represents without recourse to codified symbols, open up to a journey into the events narrated in the Homericpoems but at the same time the start of an interior journey, a sapiential path taken by man.

The group of paintings that draw on Ulysses can be freely interpreted. The four lustra of the voyage depict the young Ulysses departing for Troy, hungry for war victories and honours, and the by now mature man of the return, his mind time and time again shackled and torn, but always with the invincible strength of wanting to continue the quest for knowledge.

A special note should be made of the large oil on canvas (213 x 267 cm) Prometheus and the Eagle (Castigo divino), for its exemplary expression of so much of Fonda’s way of doing and understanding painting.

Landscape, usually with a high horizon line, makes its appearance in the final group of works. Here, as for Ulysses, we enter into the theme of homeland, the land of ancestors. The return landscape was given shape by Fonda as the hills that pepper so many Renaissance landscapes.

Fonda’s painting is part the result of long reflection and part the result of split-second execution. Using his camera lens, he begins to map out in his mind portions of paintings and sound out different plastic solutions, then moving on to piling image upon image until, like an overflowing river, iterupts with overwhelming force on the surface of his paintings.

The dark background of the works of this artist is never an absence, but a protagonist. The void is a fundamental part of Fonda’s poetics, the necessary counterweight to his masterful harmony. This is favoured by the fact that Fonda, while a scrupulous photographer enamoured with clarity, does not actually seek out minute detail in his imagery. His is a master fully scenographic approach and as such expresses all of his potency in the never too close view of the whole. This choice allows him, on the one hand, rapid execution and, on the other hand, clear connection with the monochrome fields of matter-based art and Art Informel derivation.

Fonda’s works on mythological themes raise the question of the journey that awaits each one of us when we find the courage and determination to abandon the apparent safety of our small ports to venture into the open sea, like Ulysses, towards the incomparable adventure of a life truly lived.



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Lorenzo Fonda

Born in Istria (Piran) in 1947, Lorenzo Fonda and his family moved to Trieste as exiles when he was just five years old. This traumatic event contributed to the development of an indomitable nomadic spirit.

After the death of his father in 1963, Fonda went to Paris at just sixteen years of age, drawn by the life and work of Toulouse Lautrec, Picasso and Modigliani. He devoted endless days to studying the masterpieces of great artists at the Louvre, where Caravaggio’s Death ofthe Virgin struck him like a flash of lightning.

His laborious journey and endless research continued, and in 1980 he met Alberto Burri (1915 –1995), sparking off a professional and personal friendship that lasted years. Surrounded by this exceptional mix of influences, he developed self-awareness while searching for his own style, a poetics rich in mystery and symbolic references.

Fonda’s career proceeded steady and sure, packed with successes and extraordinary encounters with intellectuals, artists, actors, singers and entertainers, as well as the rulers and political leaders of lands near and far.

Since 1988, he has designed the official poster for the annual Umbria Jazz Festival. 1988 was also the year that he began his activity as a set designer, with the sets, the first in a long series, for a play by the actor and director Giorgio Albertazzi (1923–2016), Dannunziana.

For the American director and actor Robert Redford, he painted the work that became symbolic ofthe USA/USSR summit, Green Glasnost (1989).

In the early 1990s, the nomadic spirit that defines his sense of belonging in the world led Fonda to move to Jordan, where Queen Noor commissioned him to create a series of large paintings for King Hussein of Jordan.

Between 1995 and 1996, the artist concentrated on producing a series of large paintings expressing the history of Jordan.

Between 2000 and 2001, sponsored by the Embassy of Italy in Australia, major solo exhibitions of his work were held at the University of Sydney, in Melbourne and in Brisbane. He has also enjoyed considerable success in the United States, where his paintings can be found in various private art collections.

Returning to Italy, drawn by the opera world, he directed and designed the sets and costumes for Verdi’s Don Carlo at the Sferisterio in Macerata in 2005. He also designed the sets for the production of Richard Strauss’s Salomè that opened the 2007 opera season at the Teatro dell’Opera in Rome; directed and designed the sets and costumes for Verdi’s Don Carlo at the Tampere Theatre in Finland in 2009 and designed the sets and costumes for Mascagni’s L'amico Fritz at the Teatro Verdi in Trieste in 2012.

Church patrons have commissioned him to create numerous monumental religious paintings. One of them, a Vatican commission in connection with the Pontificio Consiglio della Famiglia, led to a meeting with Pope Francis in 2014,

He has held numerous solo exhibitions outside Italy: Antwerp (Campus Gallery, 1972), Washington D.C. (Andreas Galleries, 1984, 1986, 1989 - Italian Embassy, 2007), New York (Di Laurenti Galleries, 1987), Bonn (Galerie Villa Rolandseck, 1993, 1994, 2004), Melbourne (Arts sans Frontier Gallery, 2000), Sidney (University of Sidney, 2000), Brisbane (Medusa Gallery, 2001), Vienna (Italian Cultural Institute, 2007).

In 2011, he was invited to display his work in the Italian Pavilion of the 54th Venice Biennale. For Expo 2015, he displayed four large paintings alongside works by other important Italian artists in the Italian Pavilion for contemporary art in Aichi, Japan.

Some of his most important paintings are found in the Farnesina Art Collection, the prestigious permanent collection of Italian art of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairsand International Cooperation.



Alberto Mazzacchera

Art consultant and curator of exhibitions in private galleries and museums in Italy and Europe, focused for the most part on modern and contemporary art.

A scholar and art advisor for important collectors, he has authored numerous volumes, essays and videos on art history and criticism.

Councillor to the Minister of National Heritage and Culture during the second Prodi government, he then served as the culture expert for the Cultural Heritage and Activities Councillor of the Region of Marche. He also served as a member of the Regional Culture Observatory of the Region of Marche and advisor to the Teatro Stabile of Marche.

He has promoted and coordinated the restoration of more than 160 works of art on public view (altar pieces, old paintings, frescoes, statues, parade standards, stucco work, stone doors, wooden ceilings, wooden choirs, marble and wood architectural altar structures, old organs and etc.). He has conceived important regional projects that led to the restoration of major buildings and monumental complexes, particularly in Marche.

He has recovered important works of art including the large sixteenth-century fireplace by Ammanati, which had been taken to Washington D.C. in the early twentieth century, the vast cycle of fourteenth-century frescoes by Mello da Gubbio in the church of San Francesco in Cagli, covered over in the sixteenth century, and the altar piece by Gaetano Lapis carried off by Napoleon’s supporters in 1811 and put back on the high altar of the church of San Niccolò in Cagli.

He has received numerous awards and honours for his work, including personal mention in the awarding of the Premio Rotondi ai salvatori dell’arte (National Rotondi Award for Art Rescuers) and conferral of the title Officer of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic.


Fonda and the Great Journey

Mediterranean Myth and Reality:

Ulysses and Prometheus

洛伦佐·方达 伟大的旅程



From Tuesday to Sunday, 10am-5:30pm

周二至周日,10:00 - 17:30

Yuan Art Museum

112 Lizexiyuan, Wangjing, Chaoyang District, Beijing



Data: Da Gio 12 Nov 2020 a Lun 28 Dic 2020

Orario: Dalle 10:00 alle 17:30

Ingresso : Libero


Yuan Art Museum