While Tornabuoni is well-known for presenting museum-quality Italian post-war art, the curator Fatoş Üstek, drawing inspiration from the homonymous novel by the Czech-born, French writer Milan Kundera, has looked at a wide and international array of artists in the collection, who experimented with untraditional media and new and influential artistic positions. The curator has sought to link works through a conceptual, rather than chronological thread, juxtaposing works by artists of different generations and nationalities and creating new dialogues between them. Although Üstek is a specialist in contemporary art, she is drawn to art of the post-war period, finding that it offers fertile ground for looking at a world of social and political unrest and for exploring human relationships and tensions through the lens of artistic experimentation.
‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being’ is twofold: it explores the idea of ‘something higher’, in Kundera’s words, in life and expresses the struggles and tensions that come with it – similar to the artistic processes of production. I was impressed to discover the Tornabuoni Collection, begun in Florence by the gallery founder Roberto Casamonti, and its wide range of interests. I am drawn to art of the 20th century and especially to the post-war era, which is important for understanding the art of today. In my career, I mainly work with living artists. With this exhibition I had the fortunate opportunity to explore a new terrain, and to work with art historical documents and narratives, discovering beautiful artworks by seminal artists along the way. Press release