“The Great Mother” at Palazzo Reale, Milan
Through the work of more than a hundred international artists, the exhibition “The Great Mother” analyzes the iconography of motherhood in the art and visual culture of the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries, from early avant-garde movements to the present.
Whether as a symbol of creativity or as a metaphor for art itself, the archetype of the mother has been a central figure in the history of art, from the Venuses of the Stone Age to the “bad girls” of the postfeminist era and through centuries of religious works depicting innumerable maternity scenes. The more familiar version of “Mamma” has also become a stereotype closely tied to the image of Italy.
In undertaking an analysis of the representation of motherhood, the exhibition “The Great Mother” traces a history of women’s empowerment, chronicling gender struggles, sexual politics, and clashes between tradition and emancipation.
With an exhibition layout that covers more than 2000 square meters (20,000 square feet) on the piano nobile of Palazzo Reale—a neoclassical building which preserves many of its original decorations and period details—“The Great Mother” brings contemporary art into the heart of the Expo in città program, linking art history to the most pressing issues of our time. “The Great Mother” mixes past and present, juxtaposing contemporary art, historical works, and artifacts from the world of film and literature, and weaving a rich tapestry of associations and images.
“The Great Mother” is an exhibition promoted by the Cultural Office of the City of Milan, conceived and produced by the Fondazione Nicola Trussardi in partnership with Palazzo Reale for Expo in città 2015. BNL BNP Paribas Group is main sponsor of the exhibition.
until 15 November 2015
Above – Lennart Nilsson, “A Child is Born”, 1965
Nathalie Djurberg, It’s the Mother, 2008
Sherrie Levine, Body Mask, 2007
Marlene Dumas, Pregnant Image, 1988-1990
Maria Lassnig, Illusion von der versäumten Mutterschaft, 1998
Rachel Harrison, Untitled (Perth Amboy), 2001
Pawel Althamer, Self-portrait, 2006
Catherine Opie, Self-Portrait/Nursing, 2004
Ragnar Kjartansson, Me and My Mother 2000, 2000
Gillian Wearing Self Portrait as My Mother Jean Gregory, 2003
“The Great Mother” installation views at Palazzo Reale, Milan, 2015
Courtesy: Fondazione Nicola Trussardi, Milan. Photos: Marco De Scalzi.