Chiara Valci Mazzara

.Curation together with Loredana Troise of Henrik Strömberg solo exhibition Refraction of Lightness, Fondazione Morra , Shozo Shimamoto Foundation, Palazzo Spinelli Tarsia, Naples, Italy, October 12 2019 – through January 31st 2020


.Il Mattino, Art and Culture section, by Alessandra Pacelli, The narratives of Light redesign reality, October 4th, 2019.

“I am very fascinated by the historical and cultural stratifications of Naples, by the very structure of the city and by its constructions. To conceive works especially for Palazzo Tarsia it’s been a double challenge: cause of the monumental architecture of these spaces and the work of a master like Shozo Shimamoto, whose presence imbues the venue. This is why I chose to work with the idea of lightness, using the glass and black and white which leaves me complete autonomy of language “. The work of Henrik Strömberg is very poetic and moving; he is a Swedish artist based in Berlin, who concludes a three-month residency here in Naples with the exhibition “Refraction of lightness” which we visit in preview with the privilege of the presence of the artist , who is still mounting his installations. The exhibition, curated by Chiara Valci Mazzara and Loredana Troise,  the result of the collaboration between  Morra Foundation and Avella Laboratory, will open on October 12th in the halls of Palazzo Tarsia which normally hosts the Shozo Shimamoto Foundation, displaying its voluminous, multicoloured and always surprising works by the Japanese master which seem to regenerate theirselves through their closeness to Strömberg’s experimental work. 

What immediately captures the attention visiting this exhibition is a sort of narration that underlies the whole, in which, however, the aesthetic force changes the contents of reality: we see forms familiar to us, but which correspond to new interpretative codes. The glass works, for example, are a set of forms that are incorporated into each other, just as the serigraphs intertwine with each other and with additional pieces of photographic film, as if the artist’s urgency was that to act not on the final aesthetic but on its content. 

Strömberg artistically starts as a photographer, hence the need to bend the light to his will, using refractions and reflections of the images, intersecting layers in an action that metaphorically refers to the stratifications of the city. As he immediately confirms during the interview. Some glass vases have their center of gravity shifted and occupy the space by tilting, giving in to a deliberate instability: the artist therefore seems to be looking for a loss of balance so that the work is offered to the viewer in an extreme idea of freedom: 

The light is the fundamental element that passes through the hand blown glass works, changing their perception, but also becomes essential for the creation of the photographic material, from which extraordinary large-format serigraphs are created, mounted on large scale canvases on the walls or are installed on wooden slabs horizontally where the sculptural volumes are housed. And then there is the lightness, embodied in the transparency of the glass and in the installations that presents themselves with that vague sense of instability. Strömberg’s investigation about volumes and meanings is amplified by the complexity of the creative gesture. The material is folded into impossible shapes that are literally crossed through by other materials: the hand blown glass containers ‘contain’ each other and at the same time host burnt papers and pages of newspapers, including IL Mattino. Our newspaper therefore finds itself  to be the connection between these forms – round like cellular reproductions or solidified as volcanic lava bubbles – and testifies to the intense relationship of the artist with the city. “The purpose is precisely this – explains Giuseppe Morra – not to host  made-up exhibitions but to make Naples the engine of creativity”.

.La Repubblica,Art and Culture section, by Stella Cervasio and Renata Caragliano, Glass and air as the ecosystem of Strömberg, October 7th, 2019.

From Saturday October 12, 2019 (19.00 opening reception) the exhibition of the Swedish artist “Refraction of Lightness”

Henrik Strömberg’s work ecosystem takes shape at Palazzo Spinelli in Tarsia, home of the Shozo Shimamoto Foundation. After a period of three months artist’s residency in Naples, upon invitation by the Morra Foundation, the Swedish artist presents “Refraction of lightness” on Saturday at 7.00 pm. The exhibition, curated by Chiara Valci Mazzara and Loredana Troise, is the result of the collaboration between the Morra Foundation and the Avella Laboratory in Naples with Gianluigi Prencipe. In largo Tarsia 2, home of the Japanese master of art Gutai, Shozo Shimamoto (Osaka 1928-2013), the artist from Mälmo (1970, lives and works in Berlin) presents a poetic installation inhabited by works on paper and hand blown glass sculptures that allow oneself  to dive in a self-sufficient ecosystem, beyond space and time. These pieces, suggesting new forms, create new content. The philosophy of his work is linked to the idea of metamorphosis, decay and transformation of the materials he gathers and collects to give life to sculptural objects. The concept of stratification casually creates a dialogue in remote with the Japanese artist, author of the famous 2006 performance in Piazza Dante,  organised as well by Giuseppe Morra, as well as the one of two years later in the Certosa di San Martino in Capri. With different languages, the deep Northern Europe confronts the Rising Sun. In the first room we find an installation of five times six meters, on which forty serigraphs are mounted and organised in a collage of abstract images with details of natural elements. In the second room, Strömberg, on another large canvas,  exhibits eight serigraphs and the work is placed in front of one of the large windows overlooking the city, mirroring it. On the ground, opposite, as flowing down, as on a large carpet, there are the glass sculptures, 3D transposition of the elements that appear in the serigraphs (circular shapes similar to hollow concretions that refer to the multiplication of cells by meiosis). The sculptures are placed on stacks of serigraphs which function as pedestals and which represent the layering of the image, the passage from intangibility to volume. In the last room the other works realised with the ‘medium’ material that is glass for the refraction of light, recall, with their  shapes hand blown by the artist, bent stills as could be found in an alchemical cave. Inside their cavities, old newspapers that the Swedish artist burned, after buying them on stalls and kiosks in Naples. They act as messages in the bottle, because there is nothing more stratified and at the same time less stratified and momentary than a daily newspaper. But for the artist, the glasses and the worn paper are also the result of his reflection and observation of the Herculaneum papyrus and of the vitrines that house the Pompeian relics. To the past, on which Strömberg dwells, a new life can be given in this way. “By accumulating, transforming, using photography and creating volumes, materialising the action, my creative gesture wants to” con-firm “, suspending it, one moment in time”.

The exhibition will be open until January 31, 2020.

.Il Corriere, Art and Culture section, by Prof. Stefano de Stefano, Strömberg at Morra, The swede from Berlin reinterprets Naples, October 12, 2019.

Morra Foundation confirms its strategic line: building experience after experience, laboratory and exhibitive experiences , building a true “art district” and entrusting its supporting scaffolding to artists residencies and to the site-specific work there conceived and created. Obviously honouring Naples and its territory as an unavoidable parameter of  poetic reference. It happened over the time with Hermann Nitsch and Shozo Shimamoto, to each one of whom a foundation is been dedicated, it also happens today (opening reception at 19.00 at Palazzo Tarsia) with the exhibition of Henrik Strömberg, forty-nine years old Swedish artist based in Berlin, “Refraction of Lightness “. 

“A title – explains the curator Chiara Valci Mazzara – which lends  by itself to a binary interpretation, that of the English word ‘lightness’ understood as brightness, but also as lightness, both present in Strömberg’s work”. Strömberg spent three months in Naples, a period in which he was able to appreciate the historically overlapping superfetations of the city architecture, as well as the contrasts between dark and light, typical of the most hidden ravines, as well as the relics of the ancient world present at the Archaeological Museum and in the excavations of Pompeii. 

“Those are all references – explains the artist – that are possible to find in my exhibited works, which are also set in dialogue, here, with the gestural works of Shozo Shimamoto, normally exhibited in the large rooms of the Foundation to him dedicated in Palazzo Tarsia”. To achieve this result, the path is been divided between the photographic matrix then converted by superimposition into the serigraphs made at Vittorio Avella’s laboratories at Casa Morra, and the vitreous matrix, the artist started to work with in Sweden and developed in Berlin, thanks to which Strömberg blows personally the silica paste defining its ever-changing, absolutely lively and palpitating forms, which leave to the observer the task of interpreting its absolutely open meaning. What above described happens then similarly with the photographic elements, cutouts of negatives, works on paper or burnt newspaper that lead the itinerary of an exhibition in which the relationship with space is always dynamic, such as the large scale canvasses and paper sheets reminders of old frames that spread their fabrics out of the rigours of the two-dimensionality, like unwinding rugs that defy environmental and temporal borders.

.Il Giornale dell’Arte, Monthly Art Journal, Printed version: Issue Nov. 2019

Printed version:

Morra Foundation

Swedish kaleidoscope

Henrik Strömberg in residence

On view through January 31 at Palazzo Spinelli Tarsia, home of the Shozo Shimamoto Foundation, the exhibition “Refraction of Lightness” by the swedish artist Henrik Strömberg (1970) is perceived as cohesive with the cultural activities of the Art District, whose program, conceived by Morra Foundation, intends to promote and pursue new, conscious and virtuous dialogues between the contemporary art scene and the territory. Curated by Chiara Valci Mazzara and Loredana Troise, the exhibition consists into site specific installations and a series of glass sculptures and volumes, created by the Swedish artist during the three months residency at Morra Foundation, in collaboration with the Avella Laboratory in Naples and Gianluigi Prencipe.

Assemblages, object trouvée and collages presented in the exhibited works feels as combined to reveal references to Surrealism. Serigraphs-sculptures-painting and paper-glass-newspapers give life to a production that suggests multiple meanings and various interpretations, as Chiara Valci Mazzara observes:  “the various elements combine to provide a wider perception, as in a dance in which every single element creates a broader harmony. There is no single interpretation but rather a kaleidoscope given by the use of different media equally involved in the final result “. The sequence of reflections, the portions of images and the verticality of the installation take shape as an immersive landscape through which the viewer moves, absorbing the complexity of the elements.

Online version:

.Il Roma, Art and Culture section, by Loredana Troise, When the self intertwines the languages, October 13th, 2019.

THE SHOW “Refraction of Lightness”  by Henrik Strömberg is the result of his artist residency at Palazzo Spinelli Tarsia


Refraction of Lightness, is the solo exhibition of the Swedish Henrik Strömberg, born in 1970, who opened yesterday (12 October) and is on view through  January 31st at the Shozo Shimamoto Foundation,  Palazzo Spinelli Tarsia, where the artist lived for three months, upon invitation of Giuseppe Morra. Included in the dynamic on-going program  The Art District, the project, curated by Chiara Valci Mazzara and by whom writes to you now, was born from the idea to connect  to the cultural and social investigation about our porous and intricate city, an additional semiotic research, imbued with new relationships, with symbolic references, with meta-meanings of perception: “The history of Morra Foundation, interrelated with the beauties and special characteristics of Naples – explains Chiara Valci Mazzara – allowed the work of Henrik  to be further developed, reaching a level of completeness and complexity which adds to his artistic maturity, the additional level of a new awareness “. The exclusive body of works conceived by Strömberg combines the subjective with the analytical spheres,  creating an encounter right on the ground of a sort of critical soil which feels as adequate to re-evaluate the arts as a plural field made of complex relationships. An area with which we gradually become familiar, assimilating its never redundant syntactic complexity, the result of a creative process about form and content, about volume and concept, about transformation, multiplication and refraction of thought.

Far from a single defined subject, from a definitive screenplay, Refraction of Lightness, welcomes in itself works made with various heterogeneous materials. First of all, the volumes made of hand-blown glass (in the photos), feels like islands that populate the landscape of the installation which, if on the one hand refers to organic structures, cell multiplication and the mitosis process, on the other hand includes elements that incorporate shapes, burned newspapers and papers selected from the shops in the historic centre. Strömberg places them on pedestals, on wooden slabs or directly on the ground, on a close synergic contact with precious and elaborate serigraphs – realised at Vittorio Avella laboratory of Casa Morra- together with collages and with multi-layered  photographs and negatives cut-outs.

The space, dedicated to the master of the Gutai group, besides ephemeral stretches, appears “re-defined by a dense watermark of languages – explains Giuseppe Morra – offering itself to the visitor as a new possible quest about a system of references linked tout court to the creative gesture of the self ”.

Refraction of Lightness, represents a further fascinating chapter on the art of Strömberg, and invites one to go beyond the structure, displaying quality, originality, elegance and lightness. Hence, the awareness of the value granted by the commitment to the research through which the viewer can visually enjoy the pieces, dialoguing with its exceptional aesthetic nuances.

. Artribune, by Eloisa Saldari, Henrik Strömberg reinterprets Gutai, online October 25th, 2019; printed in the Issue of Nov-Dec 2019.

Online version 25/10/2019:

Printed version(NOV/DEC 2019):


Morra Foundation opens the doors of the exquisite Palazzo Spinelli Tarsia, in the heart of an authentic and unspoiled Naples, to present an expansive international exhibition  perfectly cohesive with the vision of its founder Giuseppe Morra, an enlightened expert and enthusiast of contemporary art to whom, since the 1970s, it’s owed the first presence in Italy of some of the most interesting artists of the international scene.

The choice to welcome Henrik Strömberg (Mälmo, 1970), a Swedish artist based in Berlin, in the exhibition Refraction of Lightness, as the result of the artist residency at Casa Morra, under the curatorship of Chiara Valci Mazzara, who has been working on the Berlin scene since years now, and by Loredana Troise, renowned representative of the contemporary art committee of the Foundation, does not deny but rather confirms the key role of  Morra Foundation in the Neapolitan territory, nationally and internationally as focused on an unconventional research which aims to reinforce the dialogue with the territory, in the project of the Art District, and with a chorus of experts and enthusiasts who saw the further involvement of the historic Avella Laboratory and Gianluigi Prencipe, masters of screen printing.


In a historical moment of “dictatorship of the object”, Henrik Strömberg brings back to the core of his practice the element in its presence and in its absence of physicality conveyed in the poetic and metaphysical cohesion of different media that swifts the barycentre of gravity of the signifier towards the observation of new meanings . The two-dimensionality of cutouts of negatives and photographic fragments in the serigraphs realised at the Avella Laboratory, which are emerging from the perception of the detail, abolishing the boundaries of the passe-partout, flirt with three-dimensional presences, as transparent bellies as echoes of Pompeian vases, which welcome burnt newspapers like seasoned memories , while they assume enigmatic postures as if they were living anthropomorphic presences.

In the minimalism of this vision, in harmony with the heritage of the rayograms and the object trouvée, Strömberg creates an immersive environment in which light and its infinite decompositions trigger a reverse tendency that changes the meanings and opens new interpretative perspectives, enfolding the viewer in an unconscious flow that triggers questions and other perceptive systems, twisting the common meaning of the object.

The evanescent black and white images and the relics of photographic film on large canvases that draw scenographic scenes welcome the frenzy of the creative act as in the primigenial  almost totemic shapes of the glass which, in the silence of the presence, seems to be the result of an intellectual impetus that echoes in the signs left by the gesture on Shōzō Shimamoto’s Gutai canvases, permanently at Palazzo Spinelli in Tarsia.

Henrik Strömberg’s objects are the foundations of the elements of a language that rises to form and content, morphological signs of different semantics in a game of perceptual balances.


Refraction of lightness is the solo exhibition of the Swedish artist Henrik Strömberg (Mälmo, 1970) on view at  Shōzō Shimamoto Association,  Palazzo Spinelli  Tarsia, where the artist lived for three months in the frame of an artist residency upon invitation of Giuseppe Morra.

Troise herself speaks tells us about the project, curated together with Chiara Valci Mazzara:

The project was born from the desire to connect to the cultural and social investigation of the city of Naples an additional semiotic work, imbued with symbolic references and meta-meanings:

“The history of the Morra Foundation, intertwined with the beauties and peculiar characteristics of Naples – explains Chiara Valci Mazzara – was fundamental for Henrik’s work to develop in to a certain level of completeness and complexity that he had never before experienced”.

The philosophical exercise of the show Refraction of lightness is the result of the encounter between the idea, the technique and the materials used by the artist: we find ourselves  before a site-specific installation which transforms the voice into sign, into  drawing, in a graphic body; in something that has to do with know how to do it;   Strömberg observes:

“I worked primarily to present objects created by me as the glass sculptures, which consist of hand blown pieces. Elements such as my breath and body vapour that remains inside the object relates to the biological aspect of my work. During the preparation phase, I conceive the shape and develop the plaster cast by creating the positive form with materials such as polystyrene and rubbers, then I transfer the shape to the negative with plaster, to then finally blow the incandescent glass in the workshop “.

In the halls of the Shimamoto Foundation, a body of cohesive elements vibrate dialectically according to the complexity of the creative gesture (re-assemblage, overlays, collages).

Together with the diaphanous glass sculptures placed on pedestals, on wooden slabs or directly on the ground,  majestic lithographs made in collaboration with Vittorio Avella’s laboratory (Casa Morra) appear, and then photographs, negatives, objects and papers that  the artist tirelessly produced after having collected various materials in the workshops of the historical center,  “reducing the core of the form – as Chiara Valci Mazzara explains – by polarising the content and placing at the center of the perception of the image a new existence of the subject and its meanings” .

The compositions are un-perfectly symmetrical and, at the same time, they are open, placed beyond constraints and banks, revealing an intimate taxonomic attitude that is not given as a petrified structure, but as an internal elaboration of consciousness.

It follows a narrative in progress, an embodied meaning which corresponds to an unmistakable and fundamental linguistic-expressive metonymic intertwining. The content and the container, the inside and the outside, the signified and the signifier, the oscillation and the becoming, the flux,  the obsolescence and the metamorphosis, concur to a hyper-historical stronghold, in which the Swedish artist defines his psychological, aesthetic and cultural path, freely opening it to the visitor, who,  ideally moving beyond the structure, can visually meet the body of works, confronting himself with his exclusive resolutions.

By redefining the order of the sophisticated spaces dedicated to the master of Gutai Group, Strömberg, by inhabiting the rooms and meditating within them intensely, managed to build his own unprecedented and euphonic mobile scenography, perfectly in line with the urban scenery, reinterpreted through a very personal and skilful symphony.

During the evening of the opening reception, between tartlets and the red wine from  San Martino vineyard, Henrik Strömberg, elegant, agreeable and generous to everyone, welcomed a large crowd of visitors and friends who gradually immersed themselves in the sophisticated mis en scène of Refraction of Lightness , and which soon recognised its seductive aesthetic nuances, the complex system of references linked to the performative act, the beauty of the signs and the harmonious dialogue established by the relationship between the individual works.

The exhibition (which can be visited until 31 January 2020) is part of the project  The Art District / the Neighbourhood becomes a city, conceived by the indefatigable Giuseppe Morra, as an “intellectual space, a living organism oriented towards the educational development of the city and towards an open educational value “.

Through extraordinary cultural centres such as Palazzo Spinelli di Tarsia, home of the Shozo Shimamoto Foundation, the Hermann Nitsch Museum, Laboratory of Contemporary Arts Archive, Casa Morra Foundation and Contemporary Art Archive and Vigna San Martino, the Art District aims to re-evaluate the area of the historical center and beyond, through assiduous and interconnected artistic and cultural activities at international level.

Online at :


Exibart: national printed and online art magazine


Artribune (second review): online at: