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Giorgio Griffa, Finale rosa (Final Pink), 1996, acrylic on canvas, 70 7/8 × 86 5/8".

Giorgio Griffa, Finale rosa (Final Pink), 1996, acrylic on canvas, 70 7/8 × 86 5/8".

Giorgio Griffa

Casey Kaplan

Giorgio Griffa is known for leaving his paintings in states of perpetual incompletion, as though the sheer act of creating something had inspired him to immediately stop and make something else. When “finished,” these works—rapturously hued orchestrations on unstretched swaths of jute, hemp, and linen—are folded up and stacked away in the artist’s Turin atelier, which he has occupied for decades. The weight of so many canvases on top of each other causes them to be permanently creased. When a painting is unfolded, evidence of time’s passage is literally embossed into its surface. Each one is a treatise on repetition and spontaneity, whimsy and order, fulfillment and fallibility. If all good artists give new shape to experience by placing contrasting ideas in tension, Griffa, a great artist, does something else: He reveals, through tantalizing ratios of presence to absence, the shapelessness

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