Will Brown— Mediated Morandi

Mediated Morandi is an ongoing search for Giorgio Morandi paintings inserted into film backgrounds.
Mediated Morandi is an ongoing search for Giorgio Morandi paintings inserted into film backgrounds.

Mediated Morandi is an ongoing search for Giorgio Morandi paintings inserted into film backgrounds. Born in Bologna, Italy in 1890, Morandi is often considered the greatest master of Natura Morta (still life) in the 20th century. His distinctly subtle paintings depict the modest arrangement of bottles, vases, boxes, and pitchers stripped of all detail except light and color. As the painter’s popularity grew toward the end of his career, his work became synonymous with class, wealth, and refined sensibility.

Federico Fellini paid homage to Morandi by displaying two paintings in Steiner’s Salon in his 1960 film La Dolce Vita {fig. A}. An avid Morandi admirer, Fellini stated that he featured the works as the ultimate symbol of sophistication. Morandi’s images were also displayed in Michelangelo Antonioni’s La Notte (1961) {fig. D}, illustrating Giovanni Pontano’s financial success as a writer, in Luca Guadagnino’s Io sono l’amore (I Am Love) (2009) {fig. B}, and Tommy Wiseau’s cult smash The Room (2003) {fig. C}. Due to the beloved nature of Morandi’s work, it is likely that his paintings—or reproductions of his paintings—exist quietly in numerous other films.

Mediated Morandi investigates how the context of an artwork evolves through various levels of mediation at the hands of multiple authors. Initially, the artist arranged objects and rendered them on canvas. Over time, various Morandi “stills” were inserted into moving image works. And here, on these pages, they have been removed and refrozen as elements of a larger intentionally arranged still life.


Will Brown is a collaborative project based in a storefront space in San Francisco's Mission District.  Their main objective is to manipulate the structures of exhibition-making as a critical practice.  Will Brown is Lindsey White, Jordan Stein, and David Kasprzak.

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