John Armleder | Split! | Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte, Naples

13 October 2017


The Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte is pleased to present Split! by John Armleder.

This work of contemporary art will be inaugurated on Friday 13th of October (2017), sala Burri (12:30am) Via Miano 2 – 80131 Napoli.

In 2017, the project entitled Per formare una collezione (To Form a Collection) inaugurates the inter-institutional collaboration between the MADRE (Museo d’arte contemporanea Donnaregina di Napoli) and the Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte. Armleder’s work entitled Split! was conceived specifically for the galleries in the Capodimonte that exhibit contemporary art. Split! is a tribute to the history of the Capodimonte and its collections, including its lesser know collection of decorative art. Split! thus initiates the collaboration between the MADRE and Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte that will endure for many years to come.

Split! (2017) is a site specific permanent installation mural that recreates the 1984 work, Untitled, presented by Armleder at the 1986 Biennale di Venezia (Swiss Pavilion). In the Capodimonte, Split! adapts to the gallery’s dimensions, and establishes a dialogue with Il Grande Cretto Nero (The Great Black Crack) by Alberto Burri (1978). Burri’s work represents the cornerstone of the Capodimonte’s contemporary collection, and was presented to the museum on May 5th 1978 during the artist’s personal exhibition at the Capodimonte, curated by Lucio Amelio and introduced by Cesare Brandi. Burri was invited by Superintendent Raffaello Causa to be the first contemporary artist to exhibit at the Capodimonte. The introduction of contemporary art to the Capodimonte was a risk, as described by Superintendent Causa: “I am perfectly aware of the risk presented by the interruption of the 17th century galleries of the museum, in order to arrange two rooms for Burri – integrated between Caravaggio and Claudio di Lorena…But it seems to me that the equation Caravaggio-Burri-Claudio is far from being more impetuous than Simone [Martini]-Brueghel-Reni.” Armleder perpetuates this new “tradition” of risk within the Capodimonte’s contemporary art collection.


Burri’s work required a very distinct background given its massive monochrome presence, yet Armleder’s Split! strikes a lower profile against the wall in comparison, as it also envelopes the stairs that connect the two floors of the Capodimonte’s contemporary art collection. Burri’s monochromatic sensibility draws upon the striking contrast between light and dark so evident in Caravaggio’s Flagellation, which is also present in the Capodimonte’s historic collections. In contrast to Burri’s coloristic approach, Armleder prefers to utilize a wide range of colors drawn from the collection of decorative arts at the Capodimonte. The light blue lines that frame Split! pay tribute to the fragile beauty of ceramics. The deep terracotta and shades of gold draw a parallel to the porcelain works produced by the famous Royal Fabric of Capodimonte, created in the 18th century by King Charles of Bourbon and his wife Maria Amalia of Saxony. And the dark blue and violet shades recall vases from the French manufacturer, Dagoty. And finally, the brilliant variations of yellow that Split! presents pay special homage to the famed “Neapolitan Yellow.”


Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte
via Miano 2
80131 Naples
phone + 39081 749 91 11


Ufficio Stampa
Contact English
Emilie Fongione


Courtesy of Il Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte