Cardi Gallery, London
23 January 2018 – 30 March 2018
Curator: Piero Tomassoni
The intensity and depth of colour radiating from Claudio Verna’s (b.1937) paintings have transformed Cardi Gallery’s exhibition space. Verna’s pictures hold a gravitational force. They pull its viewers inward; a phenomenological interaction that vivifies each of the rooms they inhabit. It is no surprise then, that many people were attracted to the preview of the artist’s first major retrospective in the UK.
With over 40 pieces spanning the entirety of the artist’s successful career, including new works such as Gammadelta (2017), the exhibition brings deserved recognition to Verna. The expansiveness of the collection honours the magnitude of the artist’s output and legacy. It also displays the curatorial deftness of Piero Tomassoni, whose knowledge of Verna’s practice has given the show a spatial congruity. In visual harmony, Verna’s structural, geometric abstracts sit neatly alongside his gestural, Rothkian canvases.
Claudio Verna, Gammadelta (2017). Image courtesy Cardi Gallery and the artist.
Verna’s dedication to painting during the 1960s and 70s was in contrast to the cultural zeitgeist, which saw a trend towards installation, performance and conceptual forms of art. A pioneering figure of ‘Pittura Analitica,’ or Analytical Painting, his aim was to explore the very essence of the medium. Though it was (somewhat naively) labelled a dying art form, painters such as Verna understood the genre had more to give. In this quest to resurrect painting’s aesthetic relevance and appeal, Verna was joined by artists such as Claudio Olivieri, Riccardo Guarneri and Giorgio Griffa (an exclusive selection of Griffa’s works can be found on Artvisor). Concentrating on an analytical and experimental mode of painting, these artists challenged the turn towards Minimalism in Italy and in the US.
Painting’s materiality is at the heart of their investigation
Claudio Verna, Come, quando, dove, perchè (1967). Image courtesy Cardi Gallery and the artist.
Analytical Painters stressed painting’s materiality and the physical interaction that happens between the artist and the artwork. They were more concerned with the action of painting than the finished product. Painting itself became the object at the heart of their investigation.
This approach took conceptual art’s preoccupation with tautology and subverted its self-referentiality to advance the field of painting. As Piero Tomassoni writes in the exhibition’s catalogue, Verna concentrates on an ‘art that reflects on itself and on its own language, sustained by integral logical structures.’
Cardi Gallery’s exhibition follows on from the success of Mazzoleni London’s exhibition, ‘Pittura Analitica 1970s,’ in 2016. Cardi Gallery’s show, which lasts until 30 March 2018, reinforces the importance of Verna’s influence on the Pittura Analitica movement and, more broadly, Italian painting.
Claudio Verna, Controluce 4 (2011). Image courtesy Cardi Gallery and the artist.
Author: George Greenhill
Cover image: A 159 (1972), Claudio Verna. Image courtesy Cardi Gallery and the artist.