ALLEN JONES – Forever Icon at the Maggiore gam Art Gallery in Bologna

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Allen Jones returns to Italy at the Galleria d’Arte Maggiore gam for the first time after the great anthology dedicated to him by the Royal Academy of London in 2014, with a series of iconic works that show the career of one of the world’s greatest representatives of Pop Art.

Among the paintings on display, there is also the legendary photographic shot that immortalises Kate Moss transformed into a sculpture from an armour, a symbol and image not only of the London exhibition, but of an entire era.

A union that is renewed, that between Allen Jones and Maggiore gam, where already in 1999 he exhibited some unpublished works, created for the occasion, and in 2002 he presented a summary of his production from 1966 up to that moment. The history of his art crosses different projects: from mannequins to sculptures, from paintings to the flat paintings of the 1960s. A chromatism built on large backgrounds of Matissian ancestry and a builder of moving images of futurist ancestry which with irreverent irony aims to undermine the role games between man and woman – and consequently the image of the woman as an object that exists in the eyes and in the minds of those who want it as such – to insert their art into highly topical issues, such as gender equality and relational dynamics.

Pioneer of the generation of English pop artists and present since 1961 in the most important international exhibitions, inspirer of directors such as Stanley Kubrick, loved by people such as Elton John who collect his work, Allen Jones is for art what Mick Jagger is for music or Vivienne Westwood for fashion: an icon who has influenced everything with her art, from design to fashion, from popular culture to films.

Builder of fast and moving images of futurist ancestry, in which the physical and carnal dimension punctuates the shapes and colours, Allen Jones is the artist narrator of saturated colours, of an irreverent optimism and of monumental irony. Characteristic in his paintings are the painted female figures that come to life from the canvas and achieve their own autonomy, presenting themselves in their three-dimensionality, but the reverse approach is also true, the female body that dematerializes in the color of the canvas to take on new forms, a woman free from any physical stereotype and capable of taking on any form in the mind and imagination of those who observe her, as in the works on display “Ovation” (2010), “Backdrop” (2016/17) and “Changing Room” ( 2016), which echo their male counterpart in the sculptures “Man loosing his head and hat” (1988) and “Untitled (Man)” (1989).

Allen Jones, Changing Room, 2016, oil on primed aluminum panel with shelf, hooks and clothing; oil enamel on composite figure, canvas: 203.2 x 243.84 cm, Mannequin: 201 x 38 x 65 cm | © Major gam / Allen Jones

But Allen Jones is also the artist of the dance between the sexes who merges man and woman between colors as in “Semi Quiver” (1997) and “Crescendo” (2003), wanting to imply that role-playing games are a continuous pas de deux, where one would not exist without the other in a sort of mass exaltation for the performance of the moment as in “Bravo!” (2017). The iconic transformation of Kate Moss into sculpture will also be the protagonist of the exhibition.


In this regard Allen Jones declares:

The metal foil of the fiberglass body was created in 1974 for a film I wanted to make. It was the story of a girl who wanted to become a model. She somehow discovered she had a problem: every time she stepped into the spotlight, she transformed into a man.

Her boyfriend, an artist, came to save her, creating an armor suit that could envelop her and preserve her identity as a woman!

The film was never made and the fiberglass body remained in my studio until now. I never sold it as a sculpture because it was designed as a prop. In 2013 I was invited to make the model Kate Moss a work of art to be included in an exhibition dedicated to her at Christie’s in London.

It seemed like an impossible mission to photograph a woman who had already been immortalized by some of the best international photographers. I was invited to travel into her world even as she was actually visiting mine.

I remembered the body sculpture and the result was the work created in a very small edition.”

And right at the exhibition it is possible to view the last example of this edition available on the market which not only tells of an era made of glamor and icons, but of women as objects who exist only in the eyes and minds of those who would like them to be so.

Allen Jones, Backdrop, 2016/2017, oil on canvas, oil enamel on composite figure and wooden base, Canvas: 243.84 x 203.2 cm, Mannequin: 201 x 38 x 65 cm | © Major gam / Allen Jones


Allen Jones
Forever Icon
31 January – 26 April 2024
Maggiore Art Gallery gam

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