The exhibition aims to spotlight the chronological development of Andy Warhol's imaginative process, with a special focus on the monumental aspect of his artistic output and his largest works.
Celant's aim is to show an ensemble of spectacular pictures through which Warhol turned huge surfaces and spaces into a material on which he could project or spread out the world of popular icons he had treated and highlighted individually during the 60s. In his creative universe of a few years later, these icons have turned into huge wallpapers, totally superficial, polished entities devoid of any spiritual or dramatic content, now purely decorative.
The exhibition therefore focuses on a totally new synthesis of Warhol's approach, first looking at traditional oil painting techniques, then at the mechanised silkscreen process that produced the consumer images of Coca-Cola and Campbell's soup as well as the faces of Marilyn Monroe and Jackie Kennedy, before continuing through the proliferation of industrial flowers and the car crashes to the abstract qualities of images such as Eggs and Diamond Shoes, the ubiquitous presence of Dollar Signs and the new cultural myths of Ladies and Gentlemen and Kings and Queens. All this was expressed with spectacular, worldly elation in the most varied languages – Interview magazine, cinema, advertising, television (Andy Warhol's TV) –, a rich multiplicity that centred on Warhol, the originator of The Factory myth.
In addition to these monumental paintings, the Grimaldi Forum Monaco exhibition presents a selection of the artist's historic works that through series of linked sections reveal the iconographic references that inspired his work and his interest in a different aspect of the monumental devolving from mass consumerism. From advertising imagery (Campbell's soup cans and Brillo boxes), the professional milieu from which Warhol started out, to his obsession with the images of Jackie Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe, passing over the years through the symbols of mass society violence (Suicide, 1962-63, Guns, 1981-82); from the myths of show business (Elvis Presley) and the international jet set (portraits of Ethel Scull, Marella Agnelli and many others) to the art world (Robert Rauschenberg, Joseph Beuys, Jean-Michel Basquiat) and Warhol himself in his many Self-Portraits; from sexuality and sexual identity (Torsos, 1977, Ladies and Gentlemen, 1975) to the emblems of libertarian culture (Printed Dollar # 3, 1962, Dollar Sign, 1981) and of revolution (Mao, 1973, Hammer and Sickle, 1976); plus the more general imagery building process and his constant experimentation (Flowers, 1964).
Insatiably creative, Warhol utilised every possible type of support and left us a colossal artistic legacy including cinema, photography, video, print (magazines and journals), design and television; a most extraordinary global vision for an artist who believed that "quantity is the best gauge of anything".