Monday, 22 March 2010

Italian connections - Mario Nigro / Alberto Burri

On Thursday 18 March an exhibition opened at A arte Studio Invernizzi featuring sixteen large-format works by Mario Nigro from the Spazio totale (Total Space) cycle of the 1960s and the Ritratti (Portraits) and Dipinti satanici (Satanic Paintings) series of the late 1980s. This is the first time these works have been displayed together in a private exhibition space. 

Mario Nigro (b. Pistoia 1917, d. Livorno 1992) was, in the post-war period, a leading exponent not only of Italian art but also of abstract art at an international level. As a result of his background in science (he graduated from the University of Pisa firstly in chemistry, then in pharmacy) and music (he played the violin and piano), he developed an artistic style that, although it was based on a totally abstract formal structure determined by the principles of musical rhythm, such as repetition and variation. The rhythmic structures forming the basis of Nigro’s work are surfaces, lines, grids, and series of signs and colours that are added and subtracted in vigorous, musical harmony.

I was curious as to the origin of the titles 'Satanic Paintings' and can only surmise - I couldn't find any information on the matter - that it is the painterly quality of these paintings in contrast to the 'pure' 'clean' abstraction that he is mostly known for!

The A arte Studio Invernizzi has a deliberate policy of curating Italian artists with foriegners alternately in order to examine the work in light of each other and establish dialogues.

With Mario Nigro taking me to Italy I was reminded of a fantastic visit in Citta di Castello to the Fondazione Palazzo Albizzini Collezione Burri  The collection and how it is housed is a heartening act of intent from Citta di Castello. having been saturated with Giottos, Piero della Francescas and other fantastic renaissance works, finding the Burri Foundation was like finding an ocean.
I wasn't in need of an oasis but the works and setting in contrast, scale, ideas and temperature suggested other horizons.  The pictures show two aisles of which there are many. 

Sala L Grandi Neri 1988 - 1990 Burri Foundation

Sala E Sestate 1982 Burri Foundation

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