Galleria Gottardo

Patong - Great Figures Carved by the People of Borneo from the Brignoni Collection, Museum of Cultures of the City of Lugano

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    Lugano (ots) - From May 23 to August 25, 2007 Galleria Gottardo in Lugano will exhibit a group of 39 objects, dated before World War II and carved by sculptors of different ethnic groups of Central and Southern Borneo. These works belong to the Museum of Cultures of Lugano and are part of the collection that Swiss artist Serge Brignoni had started in the 1920s and donated to the Museum in 1985. The whole collection includes approximately 650 objects, mostly from Oceania and Indonesia. The exhibited works represent one of the most important group of its kind on a worldwide scale.  More than half of them will be shown to the public for the first time.

    The exhibition is staged in close cooperation between Banca del Gottardo, the Galleria Gottardo and the City of Lugano on the occasion of the 50th anniversary  of the Bank. The new catalogue raisonné of the complete Brignoni Collection, published in two volumes, is a gift of Banca del Gottardo to the City of Lugano.

    The larger works represent ancestors, shamanic priests and spirits, or are anthropomorphic poles, used for sacrificial rituals or as architectural elements, with carved zoomorphic figures. About ten of these are veritable masterpieces of ethnic art. The word Patong usually denoted the ancestral spirits or deities of nature, which were carved on the occasion of the death of a member of the village, or to commemorate the capture of an enemy in battle. When these sculptures were used to represent a dead person, they could also incarnate the immortal spirit before it started its long and dangerous journey towards the afterlife. Together with the larger objects, some smaller items of the Dayak culture, for example, a ba' baby-carrier, a kelebit shield, and four tun-tun hunting sticks will be exhibited.

    The exhibition, curated by Francesco Paolo Campione, director of the Lugano Museum of Cultures, is structured in three sections: the first represents the relationship between men, animals and the spiritual forces of nature; the second is dedicated to the relationship between men and their ancestors, the subject of the "good death" and the supranatural sphere; the third section focuses on some of the most important creative and expressive features of the works in exhibition. Each of these three areas is introduced by an object of exceptional importance, and which constitutes a kind of identifying element for the specific section. The artworks are put in contrast to one another through their stylistic assonances and dissonances, making the exhibition architecture even more intriguing also from an optical point of view. The set-up and especially the alternation of lights and shadows makes it possible to "reveal" details that are not visible at first sight, due to the strong expressiveness of the different objects taken as a whole.

    Both the exhibition and catalogue raisonné are the result of a research project meant to analyze and scientifically document the singular objects and their local cultural significance based on field research in Kalimantan. The main goal was to clarify the expressive and semiotic significance of design motifs and sculptural decorations in local classificatory systems, and particularly to know more about the relationship of these objects to funeral practices, the analysis of the relevance of the figurative language in relation with the ideological determinants of cosmology, and finally, the study of interrelations between sculpture and architecture from a functional as well as from a symbolical viewpoint.

    The exhibition and the catalogue project were overseen by Franco Rogantini, director of Galleria Gottardo. The research, exhibition and catalogue were carried out by a team of anthropologists coordinated by the director of the Museum of Cultures of Lugano, Francesco Paolo Campione, in close collaboration with the South-East Asian section of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Marseilles, and in particular with Bernard Sellato and Antonio Guerreiro, whose essays are published in the catalogue together with an essay on the history of Borneo by Nila Riwut, professor at the University of Jakarta.

Media conference:                Tuesday, May 22, 2007 at 9.30 a.m.
Public opening:                  Wednesday  May 22, 2007, 6pm to 8pm
Duration of exhibition:      from May 23 to  August 25, 2007
Opening hours:                    Tuesdays 2pm - 5pm; Wednesdays -
                                          Saturdays 11am - 5pm
                                          Closed on Sundays and Mondays. Free entry.

    Brochure / Catalogue:

    The exhibition is accompanied by a brochure available at Galleria Gottardo. The Catalogue raisonné (2 volumes) of the Brignoni Collection, edited by Francesco Paolo Campione, is a gift of Banca del Gottardo to the City of Lugano, on the occasion of the Bank's 50th anniversary. The catalogue is published in Italian and English (Mazzotta Editors, Milan, Graphic design: Theredbox Communication Design, Lugano).

    Galleria Gottardo a cultural foundation of Banca del Gottardo has been organising exhibitions since 1989, with the collaboration of museums, cultural institutions and collectors. In over 15 years of quality exhibitions it has explored human activities pointing at the innumerable facets of art and photography, of ethnography and archaeology, of design and peculiar objects that throughout the years have become the fount of interesting collections and publications. Bearing in mind the geo-linguistic position of our region, the Galleria Gottardo sets itself as a meeting point, a crossing and exchange point between Northern and Southern cultures. Its publishing activity has attained great importance within the framework of its production especially as far as texts and page proof are concerned and the quality of its catalogues. The Galleria Gottardo's strong point is its availability to dialogue which allows it to find important partners for the realisation of new projects and start long-lasting collaborations.

ots Originaltext: Galleria Gottardo

Galleria Gottardo
Viale Stefano Franscini 12
6900 Lugano, Switzerland
Tel.:        +41/91/808'19'88
Fax:         +41/91/808'24'47

Via Natta 22
I - 22100 Como
Tel.: +39/031/269'393
Fax:  +39/031/267'265

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