The domain of light
26 October 2018 – 16 February 2019
curated by Ivan Quaroni
The mature phase of the Italo-American artist as represented in the works of the 60s and 70s that have marked the decisive stage of his career. The rediscovery of a unique artist who has managed to elaborate autonomously a coherent and original language. One of the most interesting among the abstract experimentalists of the postwar period.
At 18:30 hrs on Friday 26 October the ABC-ARTE Gallery will inaugurate with the patronage of Genoa Municipality, a large-scale exhibition of the work of Carlo Nangeroni, entitled The Domain of Light. It presents a fundamental nucleus of works that bear witness to the development of a singular abstract language based on the rhythmic and luminous modulations of circular figures.
These works from the early 60s to the end of the 70s and beyond illustrate the trajectory of a complex artist. He was passionately involved in postwar avantgarde researches between New York and Milan, but still managed to elaborate a personal pictorial grammar independently of the contemporary abstract explorations.
Born in New York in 1922 to immigrant parents from Italy, Carlo Nangeroni spent his early years in the United States before moving to Milan in 1926 to complete his studies. From 1938 to 1942 he attended the Beato Angelico School of Christian Art in Milan and followed evening classes in Brera with Mauro Reggiani, who was a signatory to the first manifesto of Italian abstract art in 1934.
Carlo Nangeroni returned to New York in 1946, where he remained until 1958.
The New York years were rich in meetings with artists such as Fritz Glarner, Oskar Kokoschka, Conrad Marca-Relli, Philip Guston, Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline, and especially Alexander Archipenko, in whose studio he was regularly to be seen. From 1951 Nangeroni also worked for the National Broadcasting Company, one of the most important radio and television networks in the United States, where his responsibilities lay in the field of stage design for dramatic and opera productions. During this period he continued to paint, influenced by Action Painting.
After his return to Milan in 1958 and his contact with artists like Fontana, Dova, Scanavino and other Italian Concretists, Nangeroni moved towards a more incisive and constructive grammar consisting of abstract, elementary figures arranged in wavy and serial modulations blending light, colour and musicality. The rhythmic, harmonious iterations of his geometries were soon transformed into diagrams filled with circular figures, structures in which the circumferences, entangled in a rational Cartesian grid, became the basic vocabulary of his painting.
These dots or circles of light, as the artist calls them, variously combined with curved lines, filtered effects and variegated chromatic layers, become the measure of an expressive system based on differences, however minimal, of light, colour and rhythm. The series of circles with their combinations and intersections of curved and linear segments become a working method, a scheme that discloses infinite possibilities of expression, allowing the organisation of light and colour in harmonious and rhythmic tables that introduce the temporal dimension in the dialogue between figure and ground.
The exhibition Carlo Nangeroni. The domain of light brings together works from the 60s and 70s that document the crucial phase of full maturity in the artist’s development. It is the phase of clarification of that particular abstract lexicon, that disciplined and rational idiom that finds in light its own life-giving force and that lays down the guidelines of the artist’s own painterly practice. For, as Nangeroni himself explained, “To paint is to paint, above all else, and thus not to project a painting”.