Thu 30 Mar 2023 to Wed 31 May 2023
Artist: Gianfranco Pardi
Opening reception: Thursday 30 March, 6pm-8pm
Cortesi Gallery Milano presents GIANFRANCO PARDI. ARCHIPITTURA, curated by Marco Meneguzzo. The solo show is an ideal pursuit of research on the artist's work presented by the gallery in the important exhibition Gianfranco Pardi. Autoarchitettura in 2018.
Added to list
On the occasion of the 90° anniversary of the artist's birth, the pioneer of the Milanese scene of architecturally inspired abstract art inaugurates a retrospective that intends to retrace the main stages within the artist's creative path, highlighting the relationship between the final results of this research and the first examples of projects made in the Sixties.
The title of the exhibition Archipittura, as the curator Marco Meneguzzo explains, takes up a term created by Osvaldo Licini and then reused by several figures close to Gianfranco Pardi in the Seventies. It indicates the artist's intent to create an "architectural" construction of space through painting; it is the desire for freedom that architecture can only experience in painting, which is free of temporal or physical constraints. Always interested in the "architectural" construction of space, Pardi elaborates these themes and subjects, which are both universal and timeless, in a personal way.
This important exhibition illustrates the eclecticism and complexity of a great artist who, to all intents and purposes, is difficult to pigeonhole into a single artistic paradigm, electing him as a solitary traveller.
Since the 1960s Gianfranco Pardi's research has been interested in studying space and the relationship between abstraction and construction through a personal reinterpretation of the historical avant- gardes such as Abstractionism, Suprematism, Constructivism and Neoplasticism. The first results of this investigation are the Giardini Pensili, representations of architectural exteriors characterised by a tremendous formal rigour and a simplification of shapes and volumes. Real projects that the artist first studied through drawing and then translated into painting and sculptural-like forms, highlighting the link between these different areas, bringing them together and giving each a different and unprecedented artistic result. Pardi reveals dynamics and relationships of form and matter, in this case also through a more pop reading which does not translate into a representation of immediately recognisable objects but leaves room for curious visions that determine an unusual perspective space.
This constructivist organisation of the pictorial surface leads to the cycle of Architetture in the 1970s where architecture takes over nature, effectively eliminating it from the context of the work. It is the moment in which Pardi introduces real elements - such as steel cables, turnbuckles and light metal structures - with precise symbolic functions aimed at delimiting the space. Reality (the wires) breaks into the space of fiction (the canvas). This new relationship forces us to rethink the meaning of painting as well as that of architecture, determining extremely original and autonomous expressive possibilities.
There was a heightened interest in painting and symbolisation in the early Eighties, and even further in the space freed from its physical-constructive aspect. The works entitled Casa and Museo belong to this period, characterised by a strong abstraction which nevertheless does not forget the architectural references. Here large white surfaces give way to thin coloured strips with yellow, red and black monochrome backgrounds, which could be reminiscent of design drawings.
This liberation from physical-constructive conventions finds its climax in even more rooted research; the regular rectangle of the canvas of previous works now takes an irregular shape, thus abandoning any architectural residue. Nagjma, a fantastic large-scale work (from the Arabic title "star"), welcomes the visitor at the space entrance and refers to Pardi's extended stays in Tangier.
The same irregularity and expressive freedom can be found in Box, an iconic sculpture that derives from a famous series of works made from cardboard boxes. This specimen made of corten, an industrial metal with a brown colour, perfectly exemplifies the decomposition of shapes and volumes that fascinates the artist so much and that he seeks in all his work.
GIANFRANCO PARDI. ARCHIPITTURA is a project presented at the Cortesi Gallery Milano, which intends to give the key moments and ideas that attest to the role of Gianfranco Pardi within the post- war Italian art scene, enhancing his versatility. Artist capable of fitting into the panorama of his time, albeit always maintaining an individual coherence in his language, thanks to which he ranks among lonely travellers, who are not such because they are few, but because they go alone.
Gianfranco Pardi was born in 1933 in Milan.
In 1959 he held his first solo exhibition at Galleria Alberti in Brescia, and the following year at Galleria Colonna in Milan. In 1965 he participated in the group exhibition La figuration narrative dans l'art contemporainin Paris. In 1967 he began his collaboration with Studio Marconi in Milan, focusing on creating works that were a new interpretation of historical avant- gardes, such as Abstractionism, Suprematism, Constructivism and Neoplasticism.
First in 1974, and later in 1993, he took part in the Biennale at Palazzo della Permanente in Milan. In 1981 his work was presented at two major group exhibitions: "Linee della ricerca artistica in Italia 1960/1980" at Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome, and "Il luogo della forma" at the Museo di Castelvecchio in Verona. In 1984, the University of Parma organised a major retrospective of his work. Two years later, he held solo exhibitions at the Venice Biennale, the Milan Triennale and the Rome Quadrennial.
In 1998 he held a solo exhibition at Palazzo Reale in Milan. The following year several important exhibitions were organised in Germany: at the Frankfurter Kunstverein in Frankfurt, the Bochum Museum in Bochum, and the Kulturhistorisches Museum in Stralsund. In 2000, his solo show Homeless was held at Galleria Giò Marconi in Milan. In 2002 the retrospective Sheetswas hosted by Galleria Fumagalli in Bergamo, and 2003 he exhibited once again at Galleria Giò Marconi with a series of works entitled Danceand Restoration.
For his career, he made numerous sculptures for public and private spaces all over Italy, and since 2008 he has been a member of the National Academy of San Luca.
Gianfranco Pardi died in Milan on 2 February 2012. In October 2013, the Gianfranco Pardi Archive was established in memory of the artist to promote and disseminate his work and reputation.
Gianfranco Pardi exhibited his works in solo exhibitions in important institutions such as Marconi Foundation, Milan (2014, 2011, 2006), Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt, Museum Bochum, Bochum and Kulturhistorisches Museum, Straslund (1999), Palazzo Reale, Milan (1998), Palazzo Comunale, Venzone, Udine (1993), Galleria Comunale di Arte Contemporanea, Arezzo (1986), University of Parma, Parma (1984), Galleria d'Arte Contemporanea, Suzzara (1983), University of Pescara, Pescara (1974), Salone Annunciata, Milan (1970). Recent solo exhibitions include Fondazione Marconi, Milan (2014), Galerie Balice Hertling, Paris (2015) and Cortesi Gallery Lugano (2016), London (2017) and Milano (2018).