I live in Schio (VI), a tiny town in the foothills of Alps mountains in the north-east of Italy. Malo is a few kilometres away from our home. Some months ago, our local cultural association organised a "Meet an artist" programme, under which we were supposed to visit the house of a local sculptor and talk to him about his art.
My friend Roberto came to pick me up and informed me that on the way, we will make a brief stop to pick up Giobatta, who is the artist's uncle. That was my introduction to the 89 years old Giobatta and to his collection of contemporary graphic art housed in Casabianca (literally "White house") museum in Malo.
Brief introduction about Geobatta
The Casabianca museum was established in 1978. It is situated in a 400 years old building belonging to the Morandi Bonacossi family. Built around 1668, it is a compact solid looking building that used to be the "Montecio farming estate". At the same time, it has an aristocratic touch as shown by the high vaults, big halls and well made solid pillars.
Casabianca Art Collection
The graphic art and prints collected by Giobatta are very different from the usual art collections in museums - most of them are small in size, many of them apparently very simple and some of them can be defined as ordinary or even ugly. Most of the time, people collecting art focus on big art works with a strong good-looking visual impact. People collecting art as a financial investment go for famous artists. Museums do not have works of relatively lesser-known artists.
Giobatta's approach was different - he wanted to understand the artistic expression through his own appreciation of art. He looked for art which touched him instead of collecting famous works of famous artists. This means that looking at the art displayed in Casabianca museum, you can have a very personal and subjective view of art, without being influenced by the words of well-known art critics and hypes created by auction houses.
Fred Licht, the curator of Peggy Guggenheim museum wrote about the art works displayed in Casabianca museum in 1992: "You can enter into a dialogue with artists like Beuys or Serra or Manzoni, more directly and more efficiently by looking at their small sized works, instead of their giant operas which overwhelm the observer and delay or complicate the direct communication with the artist ..."
The museum is popular with school children who come here to look at art and to discuss the different art movements and styles that have influenced visual arts and specially graphic-arts during the second half of 20th century.
It was a hurried visit for me, as we had to go for our group visit to the house of another artist. Still, the unorthodox approach chosen by Giobatta piqued my interest and I am hoping to go back there to look properly at the art works.
Casabianca museum is a private art collection. It focuses on graphic art of second half of the 20th century. I am sure that today it is possible to see many examples of the graphic-art through internet. Still looking directly at the art works instead of admiring them as images is a completely different experience.
It was a hurried visit to the Casabianca museum on that day. However, even in that short visit, I was intrigued by the ideas of Giobatta and his art collection.
I am planning to go back to Casabianca and look at its exhibits with a little bit more time. If you are visiting this part of north-east Italy around Vicenza and its province, perhaps you will also like to visit this unique museum.