Enrico Castellani “Interior Space” at Dominique Lévy, New York
Dominique Lévy is pleased to announce a solo exhibition in New York by Enrico Castellani, with whom the gallery has worked since its inception in 2012.
The exhibition explores the ways in which painting can occupy three-dimensional space, with recent as well as historical works by the artist, many of which are on view in New York for the first time. Castellani’s work presents a complete amalgamation of form and concept: in the artist’s words, a “total interior space, lacking contradictions.”
A selection of Castellani’s large-scale shaped relief canvases, Superfici bianche (White Surfaces), are presented in juxtaposition with recent angular metallic paintings titled Biangolare cromato (Bi-angular Chrome) and Angolare cromato (Angular Chrome), the latter of which Castellani installs in corners. These white and metallic works are placed in dialogue with one another, highlighting the ambient light and shadow effects that occur as the works activate the architectural space in which they are situated. Three-dimensional paintings are complemented by the recent sculpture Spartito, in which Castellani references a seminal work made in 1969 by bolting hundreds of sheets of paper together to create a biomorphic minimalist form. Punctuating the monochromatic white and silver artworks are two early red shaped canvases: Superficie rossa n. 8 (1966) and Superficie angolare rossa (1961), both of which decidedly announce Castellani’s break with the trajectory of painting to that point by rupturing the rectangular or square format.
The exhibition which was on view in London from February 9 to March 26, 2016,is accompanied by a comprehensive book featuring a newly commissioned essay by Angela Vettese, former President of the International Jury of the Venice Biennale and director of the graduate program at the Università Iuav di Venezia. This publication also includes a newly revised translation of a rare interview between Castellani and Hans Ulrich Obrist from 2009.
Throughout his over five-decade-long career, Castellani has continued to investigate the premises he laid out when he started out as a painter in the late 1950s. Originally trained as an architect, he entered the art scene at a time when many artists in Europe were growing tired of the gestural abstract paintings of Informel and related movements. Leaving behind these ideas with their derivative links to Surrealism and the dark emotions of the Second World War, Castellani, along with his close friend Piero Manzoni, formed the gallery Azimut and accompanying journal Azimuth in Milan in 1959. With close links to the Zero group, as well as other forward-thinking artists and curators throughout Europe, America, and Japan, Azimut/h explored “a new artistic conception” in which works were devoid of referents and achieved a state of autonomy and objectivity. Castellani was also influenced by the reduced semantics of Piet Mondrian, the all-over compositions of Jackson Pollock, and the spatial explorations of Lucio Fontana, and in his own work sought out a pure and harmonious art form, which goes beyond its physical borders to alter the light and space around it and evoke the infinite.
Alongside his Superfici, Castellani began his Angolari series in 1960, making around fifteen works in total between this year and 1966. These works, painted red, white, and black, are to be hung in corners of a room, at once disrupting the space and yet simultaneously creating continuity within it. In 2010 he revisited this seminal group, creating several works in cromato, a silvery coating of metallic paint. With their strong and mercurial reactions to light, the recent chromatic Angolari and Biangolari works change not only internally as the viewer moves around them, but also imbue the space in which they are hung with dynamism as they animatedly reflect the light in the room. In 2009, Adachiara Zevi stated, “it is our belief that the white and aluminum surfaces, extreme in their ability to capture and restore light, constitute Castellani’s truly original invention.” Confronted by Castellani’s white and chromatic works, the viewer enters an architectural space of a different dimension, a spiritual site of contemplation.
at Dominique Lévy, New York
until 21 May 2016
Enrico Castellani “Interior Space” installation views at Dominique Lévy, New York, 2016
Courtesy: the artist; Fondazione Enrico Castellani; Dominique Lévy, New York.