Crëp, a Ladin term for ‘mountain’ or ‘crag’, is the guiding thread of this large-scale collective exhibition. For more than 20 years now, the architect and collector Mariano Pichler has been interested with contemporary artists who develop the subject of mountains serially, occasionally or on account of their origins.
The exhibition is being staged at the Galleria Doris Ghetta in parallel with the Biennale Gherdëina exhibition ‘Writing the Mountains’, which is currently occupying the public spaces of Ortisei. For the occasion Pichler has selected as many as 50 artists, among whom famous names, such as Gabriele Basilico, Luigi Ghirri, Walter Niedermayr, Luigi Ontani, Nico Vascellari, Gianni Pettena, Hans Schabus and many more besides who systematically come to terms with the landscape and mountains in their works, and others –Jonathan Monk, Patrick Tuttofuoco and Paola Pivi, for example – who address the subject in single works.
The mountains – or rather the mountain landscape – have been ever present in the history of art but for centuries they appeared only in the background. It was thanks to 18th-century Romanticism that they began to free themselves from the human presence to become a subject in their own right. Great painters such as David Friedrich glorified nature and the mountain landscape, showing how man is an infinitely small being immersed in a boundless, overwhelming landscape. The beginnings of mountaineering and the conquest of mountain peaks date from the same period. Artists have always addressed the icon and the myth of the ‘mountains’ and the invincibility and menace of nature. Mountains represent sublimity and beauty and are bound up in the Romantic ideal of experience of the uncontaminated natural world, but they also contain an uncontrollable, untameable force that inspires respect and fear.