Alberto Burri: The Trauma of Painting at Guggenheim Museum in NYC | ITSLIQUID

Alberto Burri: The Trauma of Painting at Guggenheim Museum in NYC

Art | October 27, 2015 |

003Image courtesy of The Guggenheim Museum in NYC

Alberto Burri: The Trauma of Painting at Guggenheim Museum in NYC

This major retrospective exhibition – the first in the United States in nearly 40 years and the most comprehensive ever mounted – showcases the pioneering work of Alberto Burri (1915-1995). Explore the Italian artist’s unconventional materials and experimental techniques that position the former army medic and prisoner of war as a central figure in post–World War II artAlberto Burri (1915-1995), a pivotal figure in the history of 20th-century art, established his career in Rome and New York in the early 1950s. He developed a new art of assemblage at a time when the gestural painting of American Abstract Expressionism and European Art Informel prevailed.

001Image courtesy of The Guggenheim Museum in NYC

Burri created surfaces and supports out of humble and prefabricated materials. In the immediate postwar years he worked with tar, ground pumice stone, and cast-off linens and burlap sacks; as Italy entered the economic boom of the 1950s he turned to wood veneer, cold-rolled steel, and plastic sheeting straight from the factory. He made his “unpainted paintings” by tearing, stitching, welding, melting, and burning. In their large scale and affective power, these artworks are distinct from earlier modernist collage. Unlike later assemblages with found objects, they neither celebrate nor critique mass culture. Instead, Burri’s materials and process-based art anticipated currents of the 1960s such as Arte Povera and Post-Minimalism.

004Image courtesy of The Guggenheim Museum in NYC

Born in the Italian town of Città di Castello, Umbria, Burri grew up in a region renowned for Renaissance art. His background in medicine, experience of making do with little as a prisoner of war, and lack of formal artistic training – but deep familiarity with painting traditions – all contributed to his distinctive approach. He worked in series, each defined and titled by a dominant material, procedure, or color. Certain themes reoccur throughout his oeuvre: the merging of painting and sculptural relief; an artistic repurposing of industrial products; and a precarious balance between disintegration and cohesion. Burri also redefined the monochrome with peeling and creviced fields of color that find analogies in things that mottle and crack over time, such as the body, land, walls, and old paintings. 

001Image courtesy of The Guggenheim Museum in NYC

This retrospective, the first in the United States in almost 40 years, is organized around the artist’s ten major series and unfolds in roughly chronological order. Burri belongs to a generation of artists who experienced the suffering inflicted by World War II. Attacking fine-art traditions had long been a creative principle of the modernist avant-garde. After the catastrophes of totalitarianism and genocide, however, traditional means of representation seemed especially inadequate and even the value of art or poetry appeared questionable. For painting to be credible again, Burri intuited, it had to present itself as a salvaging operation.

005 Image courtesy of The Guggenheim Museum in NYC

In his unprecedented material realism, ruin and repair compromise the integrity of the picture plane; surfaces are coarsened and defiled. Yet the work remains “painting” by virtue of its relationship to the wall, pictorial effects, and buried art historical references. Defiantly silent on the subject of his art, Burri claimed it had an “irreducible presence” that could not be conveyed through words. This presence makes itself felt through an overtly tactile quality that stimulates the sense of touch and engages us in a visceral encounter with the work of art. Burri traumatized the body of painting if only to hold it together, transforming the negligible and damaged into something worthy, sensuous, and full.

The Guggenheim Museum in New York
October 9, 2015 – January 6, 2016

more. www.exhibitions.guggenheim.org

Are you an artist, architect, designer? Would you like to be featured on ITSLIQUID platform? Send an e-mail to info@itsliquid.com or fill the form below

RELATED POSTS


Katharina Grosse. It Wasn’t Us

Art | August 4, 2020

Katharina Grosse’s paintings can appear anywhere: on a rubber boot, on an egg, on the crumpled folds of a cloth, along a railway line, on the beach, in snow, on a sculptural form, or across a façade and on the roof. Her large-scale works are multi-dimensional pictorial worlds in which splendid colours sweep across walls, ceilings, objects, and even entire buildings and landscapes. Central to Grosse’s artistic practice is this notion that painting takes place not just on canvas, but that it can also permeate every facet of our surroundings. For the exhibition "Katharina Grosse. It Wasn’t Us", the artist has transformed the Historic Hall of Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin, as well as the outdoor space behind the building, into an expansive painting which radically destabilises the existing order of the museum architecture. Read more


Fondazione Prada – “K”

Art | July 31, 2020

Fondazione Prada presents the exhibition “K” in its Milan venue from 21 February to 25 October 2020. This project, featuring Martin Kippenberger’s legendary artwork The Happy End of Franz Kafka’s “Amerika” accompanied by Orson Welles’ iconic film The Trial and Tangerine Dream’s late electronic album The Castle, is conceived by Udo Kittelmann as acoexisting trilogy. “K” is inspired by three uncompleted and seminal novels by Franz Kafka (1883-1924) - Amerika (America), Der Prozess (The Trial), and Das Schloss (The Castle) - posthumously published from 1925 to 1927. Read more


CALL FOR ARTISTS: CANVAS |…

Calls | July 29, 2020

CANVAS is an International Art Fair that will present collective and solo projects by leading and emerging international artists. ITSLIQUID Group, with an experience of more than 250 art exhibitions all around the world and twelve editions of international fairs, is proud to announce the debut of CANVAS - International Art Fair that will represent a forum for direct exchange of ideas and contacts between collectors, artists, photographers, designers and art professionals, featuring paintings, sculptures, photography art, installations, video art and live performance. Read more


PETRIT HALILAJ

Art | July 26, 2020

tensions in the region. Childhood memories steeped in the drama of war and refugee life recur throughout his art, which embraces themes like home, nation and cultural identity through a variety of media ranging from drawing and sculpture to video, installation and even writing. However, he does not proclaim a rupture between the personal and intimate and the historical and social, but instead perceives a relationship and continuity to be found in his intervention for the Palacio de Cristal. Read more


Sign up for our Newsletter.

Enter your email to receive our latest updates!