The Boxart project – the name of which comes from the idea of a container, or “box”, for art – was long in the making, but it all came together in the mid-1990s. The gallery officially opened in 1995, and in 2002 it moved to its current premises in the old part of Verona, close by the ancient Arena.
Italian artists with whom Boxart has established relationships of mutual esteem, and for whom it has become a channel, include Mario Schifano, who exhibited no fewer than four times. Three times he was presented by Achille Bonito Oliva, who was also the critic for the Sandro Chia solo display in 2004.
The aim of creating specially designed projects for the premises has continued with the works of younger artists. A new stream was discovered with Marco Cingolani. An intellectual even before being an artist, he works in Milan and New York and has taken part in group events, and a solo Società anonima del colore. His life in Milan circles introduced him to Giovanni Frangi, a leading name in the most recent exhibitions. Even though highly original, his study of colour means Wainer Vaccari of Modena has much in common with Cingolani and they have exhibited, together with Frangi, in I Vizi Capitali and Senza Trucco. In 2003 Luca Beatrice presented Segni (2003), a solo exhibition of works by Vaccari.
The underlying theme of Boxart is increasingly that of an attraction for a sensational expressive language, which reached its climax in works by Hermann Nitsch from 2007 onwards, which had never previously been shown. This undertaking was tackled with the critical support of Danilo Eccher, then director of MACRo in Rome.
As Boxart entered its second decade, it opened up to multimedia. In the early months of 2006 came the first venture, Images, with the photographer Franco Fontana. The 10-year turning point also opened up broader horizons. Boxart started accompanying Italian works with research on a global scale and this led to Ma Liuming and the Gao Brothers, whose controversial works the Gallery brought to Italy for the first time. The 2006 solo provided a sort of compensation for the creative duo, as the Gao Brothers had been barred from leaving their country in 2001 to take part in the Venice Biennale, to which they had been invited by Harald Szeeman.
Dialogue with the Orient continued with an exchange between a young Italian talent, Andrea Facco, and pre-Olympic Beijing, illustrated in the Waiting for Beijing (2008) exhibition, with the experiences of the Artist in Residence at Ny Arts in the Chinese capital.
Investigation of the Far East did not stop there, for there then came Kim Joon, the revolutionary Korean digital artist whose works explore the body and tattoos.
“In 2009, the year he took part in the Venice Biennale, Marco Cingolani gave a preview in Verona of the underlying theme shown in the Italian Pavilion.
The solo show “Journeys of Faith” is a challenge in which the painter attempts to represent a miracle. For this exhibition the artist has particularly focused his attention on two apparitions of the Virgin Mary which have played a hugely important role in the history of the past two centuries: Lourdes and Fatima.
In 2009, two years after the Hermann Nitsch solo exhibition in 2007, Boxart is once again paying tribute to a master of the twentieth century. A mirror image of the display that showed Nitsch’s works for the opening of the monographic museum in Mistelbach, Dietro l’altare di Hermann Nitsch (Behind the Altar of Hermann Nitsch) – again curated by Danilo Eccher – reveals the more hidden side of the Vienna-born Aktionist: Nitsch the composer, draughtsman and high priest who sacrifices himself on the altar of Art.”
On the occasion of Liu Bolin’s return to Italy, two years after his first residency programme, in 2010 Boxart is promoting the second Italian production of works by the Chinese artist, in collaboration with the Italy China Foundation, chaired by Cesare Romiti and with the Asian Studies Group, the cultural-exchange association between Italy and Asia.
As 2010 came to an end, thoughts were already turning to the 150th Anniversary of the birth of modern Italy, which was celebrated in original style by Emilio Isgrò, who subjected the Italian Constitution to his action of deletion. The volumes of the Constitution and the monumental sculpture, L’Italia che dorme (Italy Sleeping), a woman lying on a bed of cockroaches, were displayed in 2011 at the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna in Rome, in an exhibition that opened with a choral performance by the artist in the guise of Giuseppe Garibaldi.
The third Italian leg of the global Hiding in Italy project, in which Liu Bolin once again plays the lead role, will be given concrete form in 2012. After getting a flavour of the dazzling beauty of this country between 2008 and 2010, the artist now intends to illustrate the importance of such authentic icons of world heritage as the archaeological sites of the Imperial Fora in Rome and Pompeii, symbols of a primal classicism of which the younger generations of Chinese find no trace in their vast country.