The exhibition to celebrate the centenary of the birth of Arcangelo Ianelli is filled with special emotions since it is being held at the Museum of Modern Art of São Paulo, the museum that was most cherished by the artist. Mario Pedrosa was responsible for his first solo show at the institution, in 1961, and, from 1969 on, he featured in six editions of the Panorama dedicated to Painting, winning an award in 1973. In 1978, he held a retrospective that was voted the best exhibition of the year by the Brazilian Art Critics Association – ABCA.
Ianelli was indeed an artist of doing, obsessively dedicated to his métier, and uncompromising as far as the place of painting. Having followed the habitual journey of his generation, he produced academic works followed by paintings with Cézannesque inflections that became increasingly synthetic until he plunged into abstraction, which led him, with no return, to seek the essence.
The curatorship of this retrospective chose to privilege the coherence of his oeuvre, showing that in the young painter from 1950 there already existed the artist from 1970; that the 1975 mural paved the way for the sculptures in the 1990s, and that at that moment the great paintings produced until 2000 were also born. To allow the visitor an understanding of this process, the exhibition establishes a journey that starts with the 1970s production, goes back to 1950, and then returns, tracing the trajectory from 1960 to 2000. Thus, it is possible to see, at the same time, all these expressions coming into existence, each one originating from the other. The exhibition also proposes to reveal the artist’s process of creation and execution, presenting to the public the intimacy of his studio and revealing his persistence and perfectionism.
An exhibition is a task that involves many people, and my thanks go to the artist’s children, Katia and Rubens Ianelli; to the Board of Directors of the museum; to the young and efficient team of this institution, led by Cauê Alves; and to all the other collaborators. Some of them, like me, knew the artist personally, but even those who were not so lucky are equally charmed to deliver this exhibition to the public.