Jean ARP, Saint CLAIR CEMIN, Lucio FONTANA, Tom SACHS, Not VITAL, Ai WEIWEI, Agostino
BONALUMI, Piero MANZONI, Enrico CASTELLANI, Robert BARRY, Giulio PAOLINI and others.
For the autumn 2012 season, in addition to their participation in the inaugural Frieze Masters art fair,
ROBILANT+VOENA will present an edited selection of WHITE masterworks made of marble and paint
spanning the centuries from antiquity to now.
Running from the 4th October through to the 14th December at their London gallery, the exhibition will
showcase over twenty works – in the main part marbles, set against a selection of white paint canvases
by Italian modernists of the 1960s. Starting from an II century AD Vestal, via a surreal Vanitas by a
seventeenth century anonymous Italian artist and an elegant eighteenth century Bust by Filippo della
Valle, through a lyrical biomorphic 1941 Orphic Dream by Jean Arp, to the symbolical 2007 marble doors
by Ai Weiwei and a minimal Tom Sachs sculpture from 2010 – the exhibition will explore the mysterious
power and elegance of white marble irrespective of subject, period or maker. The absence of colour is
notable, not least since marble sculpture in its gestation in antiquity was anything but white – the effects
of time having erased the painted decoration have left us with a purity and simplicity not intentional in its
origin. This historical illusion, reclaimed during the Renaissance as a model, has changed the use of this
material entirely – now marble cannot be anything other than its natural beautiful colour – celebrated here
in its essence.
Being entirely monochromatic, all works united by the colour WHITE here present the viewer with a
variety of emotive effects engendered through the material – from the romantic to the sharp, from the
solid to the intricate, from the metaphorical to the literal, from the figurative to the abstract, from the flat
minimalism of the paint to the rich depth of the marble.
The paintings, all 1960s works of members of the Azimut group in Milan, have been chosen primarily as
a counter-point to the marble works, their flatly painted surfaces echoing some of the more abstract
marbles on show, such as the Arp, but mostly contrasting with the rich patina inherent in the natural
material. What is important however, is their consistent interrogation of the form and structure of painting
– pushing the boundaries of the canvas by slashing or bending, manipulating the two dimensional until it
is forced into the realm of the three-dimensional, of a sculpted relief. This provides the perfect foil to the
sculptures and elicits a dialogue not just between the colour and the material but also the form.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue. For all further information and images
please contact Mira Dimitrova via [email protected].