Mauro Fiorese:
Treasure ROOms

September 8 - October 22, 2016
Opening Reception: THursday, September 8, 6-8pm
Press Release | Images

Hidden from view, the troves of masterpieces waiting within museum archives can only be guessed at, but this fall Robert Mann Gallery is lifting the velvet rope. The gallery is pleased to announce Treasure Rooms, a body of work from Mauro Fiorese, the artist’s debut exhibition in the United States. In this ongoing series Fiorese grants a glimpse into the unseen depths of some of Italy’s most prominent museums including the Uffizi Gallery and the National Gallery of Modern Art. This exhibition opens on September 8th and will be on view through October 22nd.

Cavernous halls and labyrinthine basements overflowing with artwork too precious to go on view, are the imagined treasures hidden behind the closed doors of museums. However, these romantic fantasies give way to more astringent environments. Treasure Rooms of the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna captures a collection of gilded frames and lush oil paintings that are meticulously stored in sterile rooms; the life they depict at odds with the rigidity of their current environs. In Treasure Rooms of the Museo di Capodimonte a tunnel composed of endless racks of paintings reveals the ordered beauty in these storage sites. The regularity of these artistic barracks serve a vital purpose: the endless shelves, walls, and mobile racks that hold these masterpieces stand sentinel and preserve prizes that are laying in wait. Having been granted special access to these often unseen places, Fiorese brings to light the hidden works of museums, perhaps shattering the idealized vision of over stuffed attics. In reality these ‘treasure rooms’ are exhibitions unto themselves, each as carefully curated as those in the museum’s main viewing spaces.

Mauro Fiorese’s photographs are included in permanent collections of major institutions around the world including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas; the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris, France; the Museo di Fotografia Contemporanea, Cinisello Balsamo, Italy; and the Centro Internazionale di fotografia Scavi Scaligeri, Verona, Italy. His latest series Treasure Rooms was awarded the 2015 CODICE MIA Award. Most recently Fiorese has been invited to contribute to the 2016 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland along with 40 other world cultural leaders. The artist lives and works in Verona, Italy.


Treasure Rooms of the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, Rome, 2014       
Treasure Rooms of the Museo di Capodimonte, Naples, 2015

Snapshot: ‘Treasure Rooms’ (2014) by Mauro Fiorese
The photographs give the viewer a glimpse into the secret vaults of Italy’s greatest museums

Veronese photographer Mauro Fiorese’s Treasure Rooms series give the viewer a glimpse into the secret vaults of Italy’s greatest museums.
His photographs — printed on cotton paper beneath glass on wooden frames — depict lush masterpieces stored in sterile, regulated worlds that form a kind of ordered beauty. In his image above, “Treasure Rooms of the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, Rome”, the white tiles and gilt frames of the archives resemble a waiting room with Renaissance perspectives.
Fiorese, set for his first US show in New York, sees Treasure Rooms as a “series of non-traditional landscapes that form an imaginary art gallery”.
To view the article, click here.

Mauro Fiorese: Treasure Rooms at Robert Mann Gallery
By Jordan G. Teicher | Photograph Magazine

It’s perhaps inevitable that the museum, that carefully curated and guarded space for seeing and exploring, would become a favorite subject of examination in its own right.

But in several recent works, photographers who have turned their attention to museums have highlighted not what’s immediately viewable, but what’s just out of sight. In his series Skeletons in the Closet, 2014, Klaus Pichler photographed the uncanny scenes found in off-limits corridors and workshops at Vienna’s Museum of Natural History. As part of his series Animal Logic, 2010, Richard Barnes often photographed natural history exhibits as they were being assembled. Alec Soth, meanwhile, focused on guards, those largely unseen but vital guardians of culture, in front of their favorite pieces at the Minneapolis Institute of Art for the museum’s anthology, The Art of Wonder, 2014.

The desire to have a look behind the curtain likely drew many visitors this spring to the Met Breuer for Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible, featuring works left incomplete. Who can blame them? People are inquisitive, and we always want to see how the sausage—so to speak—is made.

Voyeurs have further reason to celebrate, for now there is Mauro Fiorese’s Treasure Rooms, on view at Robert Mann Gallery through October 22, which looks at the places, rarely if ever seen by the public, where some of of Italyʼs most prominent museums store their art collections. The curiosity, in this case, is surely rewarded. Fiorese’s photographs, even in the most colorless rooms, are visually rich and endlessly interesting.

In the Museo dʼArte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Roverteto’s monochromatic vault, he strategically places, in the right corner of the frame, a black-and-white photograph of a man peeking behind a wall. A similar scheme works in a photo of Rome’s National Gallery of Modern Art, where a painting of a woman looking in the direction of Fiorese’s lens lends humanity and narrative to an otherwise unpeopled and unremarkable room where artworks are stocked clinically, like books or shoes.

Not all are as sterile. Sometimes, Fiorese’s treasure rooms look just like the cluttered, magical chambers of the imagination. In the Naples National Archaeological Museum, statues of various sizes and styles lay strewn about like hastily abandoned ruins.

All of these photographs inherently question the way we view and value art, but some are more explicit than others. In another photograph from the National Gallery of Modern Art, Fiorese finds a downright surreal section where frames of diminishing size are hung within each other, like Russian nesting dolls. Frames, of course, are the structures that surround and enclose art. So, too, are museums. In this photo, and in the rest of his series, Fiorese cleverly takes apart and analyzes the construction.