Gianni Dessì

Galleria Ugo Ferranti

In the paintings he executed last summer and exhibited this autumn Gianni Dessì avoided spectacular painterly effects. The prevalence of grays and blacks here is symptomatic of an ideological choice: rather than aiming for a high-pitched emotionalism through color, Dessì seeks a more low-keyed concentration and analysis. His limited repertory of tones is akin to the theoretical position of the Cubists, whereby painting defers to idea.

In Expressionist painting color is linked to symbol; it can be grotesque and mocking, carrying the weight of the emotions. In Cubism, particularly the analytical phase, colors interact within a reduced vocabulary. They are little more than a pretext, a vehicle for ideas. Dessì’s gray tones free color of its emotive qualities and become a junction point between the idea of painting and its practice. Ultimately, his grays and blacks point to drawing as their

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and receive the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the February 1983 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.