The aim of the initiative is to follow the parallel trajectories of artists who have been protagonists of the by now historical experiences of Fundamental Painting and Radical Painting through some of their key works, and to elucidate their successive aspects of conceptual and operational projection in Absolute Painting.
The artists documented in the project are Giorgio Griffa (1936), Tomas Rajlich (1940) and Jerry Zeniuk (1945), eloquent examples of an approach that has gone beyond the artistic developments of those years to become, in its evolution down to the present day, a singular and, in the fullest sense of the term, definitive experience.
In the mid-1970s in Western Europe, analytical currents in painting were a major concern on the art scene, be it among painters or curators. This shared idea was very much “in the air” at the time, but “it did not fall from the sky” as curator Rini Dippel of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam wrote in the catalogue introduction to the groundbreaking 1975 show Fundamental Painting. The show wished to give a clear, if not comprehensive, view of this “new life of painting” as the particular art form had been declared dead so many times before. It was built around the work of Robert Ryman and the three other American painters of Minimalism, and it included works by Tomas Rajlich and Jerry Zeniuk (who later turned to Radical Painting). Notably, it attempted to distinguish this very particular current that emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s from the broader range of analytical painting reflected in numerous contemporary shows which were mainly Italian in organization and participation, including Giorgio Griffa. Only afterwards did curators start attempting to distinguish specific currents within 1970s European non-objective painting.
The thread that connects them is fidelity to painting in the specific essence of the medium, free of all theorisation, to achieve a lofty and resolute degree of mentalisation and operational concentration.
The critical experience of painting in the very act of making a painting, by now rid of all disciplinary ballast, seeks to distil and rediscover its original identity, the degree of autonomous, indefinite but precise incandescence. It is the absolute, or rather the idea of an absolute that skirts around philosophical currents without becoming their mouthpiece, a condition bared in a questioning that stirs a sort of internal and autonomous diapason of the painting.
During the opening ceremony, a new bilingual publication on the exhibition in Italian and English by ABC-ARTE editions will be presented. It contains a critical text by the curator Flaminio Gualdoni, photographs of the exhibition design and reproductions of the works, together with a comprehensive appendix of historical documentation.
Giorgio Griffa, Tomas Rajlich, Jerry Zeniuk. Absolute Painting
Inauguration Friday 3 May 18:30-21:30 hrs
3 May – 14 September 2019
Admission: Tuesday to Saturday 9:30 – 13:30; 14:30 – 18:30
Sunday and Monday by appointment
Via XX Settembre 11/A Genoa