Francesca Pola

  • picks May 20, 2019

    “The Severed Language”

    This group exhibition, spanning five decades, surveys the rupture and fragmentation of contemporary language through the output of three leading Italian artists who, since the 1960s, have examined the ever-mutating codes of verbal-visual communication. Nanni Balestrini, Gianni Pettena, and Gianni Emilio Simonetti deconstruct hypervisible language, pitting its rhetoric and authority against itself. They extract phrases and words from the universe of mass media—newspapers and cartoons, advertising spots and institutional announcements—fragmenting syntax and working to subvert stereotypes: See

  • Elger Esser

    Made between 2005 and 2017, the photographs in Elger Esser’s recent show proposed a sort of conceptual short circuit in which images of granular precision, transposed to dreamlike dimensions, assumed an otherworldly coloration and brilliance. One could discern specific sites visited by the artist during his travels in the Middle East (Egypt, Israel, Lebanon) and France’s Normandy and Giverny—the last setting immediately and deliberately recalling the luminous revolution of plein air painting by Claude Monet and other Impressionists. The absolute realism of these photographic landscapes, evident

  • Simone Forti

    This high-intensity presentation of Simone Forti’s multifaceted work established a dialogue between different creative moments and expressive typologies in the oeuvre of this extraordinary Italian-American artist, choreographer, dancer, and writer. Beginning in the 1960s under the inspiration of her then mentor, Anna Halprin, Forti was among the pioneers of artistic investigations based on an awareness of the body as a medium for movement, an identification with elementary phenomena of sound and rhythm, and the potential for expressive freedom offered by unconventional actions. The broader

  • picks December 17, 2018

    Nelio Sonego

    Visitors to the main room of Nelio Sonego’s two-floor, site-specific exhibition encounter what appears to be the aftermath an earthquake. Instead of being conventionally aligned, the canvases in “Oscuro/Orizzontale/Verticale” (Dark/Horizontal/Vertical), each made in 2018, have been hung aslant and at times overlap with one another, as if to choreograph a kind of stuttered dance of vertical forms. While the free gestural marks that are characteristic of this artist—who has been a prominent figure of Italian abstract painting since the late 1970s—are on display, a new vigor charges the titular

  • picks October 16, 2018

    Carla Accardi

    Carla Accardi’s marks—remote yet imminent—conjure shining cosmic fibers, like constellations from the future. Entire galaxies can now be seen in one project spanning two cities and venues, both of which highlight later works of the Italian postwar avant-garde pioneer, who died in 2014. At Galleria Massimo Minini in Brescia, works on paper from the late 1960s are put in dialogue with ones dating from 2001 to 2010; Milan’s Francesca Minini gallery displays paintings made between 2003 and 2010.

    Accardi’s vibrant signs—in these galleries, rendered on floor pieces, Sicofoil, and traditional

  • Marco Bagnoli and Remo Salvadori

    Marco Bagnoli and Remo Salvadori both belong to that generation of Italian artists who had to come to terms early in their careers with the across-the-board return to painting after more than a decade of Arte Povera and Conceptual art. Bucking the trend, they chose to pursue work characterized by a strong cerebral component and an enormous variety of experimental materials and linguistic modalities. The breadth of media (including sound and video elements) and the technical, stylistic, and formal nonchalance of the work in this two-person exhibition demonstrate not only Galleria Christian Stein’s

  • picks March 26, 2018

    Alighiero Boetti

    This show presents a rarely seen side of Alighiero Boetti. In an untitled series of works on paper from 1982 to 1990, all of varied dimensions, the artist applies his Conceptual sensibility to nature and the animal kingdom—a central yet under-examined theme of his output since the late 1970s. Monkeys, panthers, dolphins, frogs, ibexes, tortoises, and other creatures populate an imaginary world in which they become infinitely combinable, not unlike the numerical and linguistic progressions the artist is best known for.

    In 1967, Boetti emerged as one of the principal exponents of Arte Povera, the

  • Giuseppe Chiari

    This show of more than one hundred works, distributed over five venues in Florence and Prato, Italy, documented the extraordinarily multi-faceted interdisciplinary activity of Giuseppe Chiari. In the early 1960s, he was active in various fields, among them music, the visual arts, writing, and performance. The exhibition’s title, “PentaChiari,” in addition to referring to the five galleries involved, picks up on Chiari’s background in music with a nod to the five lines of the musical staff, overlooking that his intention as a composer was to completely dismantle any conventional approach to

  • picks January 08, 2018

    Bruno Querci

    Painting light as an energy emanating from form: This is the goal that has guided the creative progress of Bruno Querci for over four decades. That objective that also emerges from this two-story exhibition comprising seminal works from the 1980s as well as great recent works all made for the occasion. Querci’s output, particularly from those earlier years, is presented as an alternative to dominant neo-expressionist trends, focusing instead on scaling back as a means of rediscovering painting’s fundamental aspects, particularly via the elementary, dynamic relationship between black and white.

  • picks December 08, 2017

    Alan Charlton

    This new, multifaceted exhibition of Alan Charlton’s work speaks to the continued vitality and richness of his production. In the late 1960s, the English artist was already pioneering a language of radical abstraction. Since that time, he has adopted gray as the distinctive and sole color in his practice––a color which embraces neutrality in opposition to representation and expression, but whose eminent urban overtones also explicitly connect his paintings to industrial culture.

    The large curved wall at the gallery’s entrance offered an opportunity for the artist to stage a new installation of

  • John Armleder

    Since he first emerged on the art scene in the late 1960s, John Armleder has sought to transcend categorization or definitive placement within genres, styles, or movements. His current show, “Better, Quasi,” is a sort of macro-installation, both unified and multiple, consistent and multifaceted, playing with the relational mechanisms between walls, surfaces, objects, and reflected images. The exhibition’s title seems to conjoin two fundamental factors in Armleder’s deliberately and knowingly eclectic poetics. On the one hand, better expresses a dynamic and progressive aim at improvement and is

  • Haim Steinbach

    Thirty years after his first solo show in Europe, held at Galleria Lia Rumma, American artist Haim Steinbach returned to the same gallery with “lemon yellow,” an exhibition conceived specifically for its site. The result was a reflection, through images, on relationships between artist, collector, art object, and exhibition space.

    Since the late 1970s Steinbach has focused on the presentation of everyday objects. Developing an irreverent and disorienting practice, linked only in part to the example of the Duchampian readymade, or to the reconsideration of objects effected by Pop art and hyperrealism,

  • Jason Martin

    With his most recent show, “New Oils,” Jason Martin introduced a new chapter in his investigation of the fundamentals of painting. The artist, who divides his time between London and Lisbon, received worldwide attention with his participation in the 1997 exhibition “Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection” at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. He is known for monochrome paintings on aluminum, stainless steel, or Plexiglas grounds, in which dense and expressive brushstrokes project outward, creating dynamic tension. In his recent works, Martin has applied the paint, which

  • picks October 24, 2017

    Osvaldo Licini

    I segni dell’angelo” (“Signs of the Angel”) offers an unusual and valuable opportunity to retrace the rich, multifaceted creative trajectory of Osvaldo Licini, one of the most significant Italian artists working in the first half of the twentieth century. Around forty works lead viewers through various phases of the artist’s inimitable visual vocabulary, which conjoins abstraction and Surrealism, rationality and poetic invention, sign-laden constructions and chromatic emotions.

    The show begins with abstract works exhibited in the artist’s first solo show in Italy, at the Galleria del Milione in

  • Mary Bauermeister

    This exhibition presented a selection of work from the 1960s and 1970s by Mary Bauermeister, one of the original proponents of a visual language intended to connect the grand European pictorial tradition with the material experimentation typical of postwar American art. Born in Frankfurt in 1934, the artist began working in Cologne in 1960 and moved to New York in 1962, along with the composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, to whom she was married for five years, beginning in 1967. She would not return to Europe until the early ’70s. During her time in America, Bauermeister created her “lens boxes,” a

  • Giulio Turcato

    This exhibition presented two of Giulio Turcato’s key series from the 1960s: the “Tranquillanti” (Tranquillizers), which he created for Galleria il Canale in Venice (where the works were first exhibited in 1961), and the “Superfici lunari” (Moon Surfaces), which he started in 1964 and showed two years later at the Venice Biennale. Both expressed a new material-oriented direction for Turcato characterized by vibrant two-toned or monochrome surfaces and punctuated by insertions or material swellings that further developed ideas about color as an animate space for psychic evocation that he had

  • picks February 10, 2017

    Mario Deluigi

    This show focuses on the apical decades of Mario Deluigi’s work—the 1950s and 1960s—specifically documenting what is perhaps the artist’s best-known series: “Grattage” (Scrapings), 1953–78. First exhibited at the Twenty-Eighth Venice Biennale under the title “Motivi sui vuoti” (Motifs on Voids), the pictorial works feature painted surfaces that Deluigi carved with razor blades, shears, scalpels, and the handles of paintbrushes and spatulas, as if allowing a clear, sidereal light to emerge from preparatory depths, thereby drawing attention to the immaterial dimension of painting.

    One of the leading

  • picks December 05, 2016

    Carol Rama

    Carol Rama’s traveling retrospective concludes in Turin, the artist’s native city, where she lived and worked. One of the most significant presences in twentieth-century Italian art, Rama was honored with the Golden Lion award at the 2003 Venice Biennale. This show, the most comprehensive exhibition of her work to date, retraces the salient moments and series of her production, with approximately two hundred works dating from 1936 until her death in 2005.

    Rama was self-taught as an artist, and early on, during the years of Fascism in the 1930s and 1940s, she already was addressing the thorny

  • Mimmo Rotella

    Ten years have passed since the death of Mimmo Rotella, one of the most versatile and revolutionary Italian artists of the second half of the twentieth century. A suite of staggered but overlapping exhibitions at Cardi Gallery, Robilant + Voena, Galleria Carla Sozzani, and Fondazione Marconi celebrate his creativity and relevance, revealing the experimental strategies and techniques that characterized the career of this volcanically inventive practitioner. The works on display at four venues throughout the city delve beyond his celebrated “Décollages” and “Retro d’Affiches” (made with torn

  • Enrico Castellani, Robert Mangold, Robert Morris, and Kenneth Noland

    After a long, fruitful period in Bergamo, Italy, that began in 1971, the Galleria Fumagalli moved to Milan in 2011. This year the gallery moved again—though it remains in the same city—and opened its new venue with this show, “Enrico Castellani, Robert Mangold, Robert Morris, Kenneth Noland: A Personal View of Abstract Painting and Sculpture.” The main intention of the exhibition, organized by independent curator Hayden Dunbar, was to compare these four artists in relation to themes such as the redefinition of the artwork and its surface as objective and phenomenal realities, and the