Critics’ Picks

Renata Boero, Karte (Map), 2019, natural elements, paper, wood, 55 x 110 x 50". Photo: Alessandro Zambianchi.

Renata Boero, Karte (Map), 2019, natural elements, paper, wood, 55 x 110 x 50". Photo: Alessandro Zambianchi.


Renata Boero

Federico Vavassori
Via Giorgio Giulini, 5
November 15, 2019–January 10, 2020

The six works on view here, spanning from 1968 to 2019, illustrate Renata Boero’s ongoing, stratified interest in the fields of nature, alchemy, and painting. Although the artist’s practice inevitably intersects with the medium of drawing, her primary concern is how paintings can be made with a degree of spontaneity. Boero draws influence  in this regard from her Jungian academic background, which supports reading of painting as an altered mental stateone achieved through impulsiveness and unconscious gestures. Indeed, Boero’s work has a performative quality: Her canvases are stained with the liveness of colors derived from plants and other natural sources such as turmeric, cochineal, and henna, which constantly mutate under her metabolic experimentation with techniques and materials.

In her first solo exhibition here, Boero’s works, elegantly installed in the apartment-like Milanese gallery, infuse their quasi-mystical presence throughout the space. In the central room, two large paper sheets, which have been folded and dyed, come together to become Karte (Map), 2019—a nonfigurative, organically marked surface accompanied by a plethora of wooden letters and numbers scattered on the floor. The two adjacent, smaller rooms contain paper pieces varying in scale, format, and hue. Two landscapes with friezelike horizontal orientations—Germinazioni—Sequenze di Fiori di carta (Germinations—Paper Flower Sequences), 2014, and Germinazione (Germinations), 2018—record Boero’s emotional rituals of alchemical research by collecting the dappled residue of her rubbings. At last, a rushed calligraphic sign emerges from the washed-out paper of Untitled, 1968—a pictorial mark and additional layer reaffirming the immanent presence of the artist’s gesture.