Abstract painter Giorgio Griffa, closely linked to the Arte Povera movement, first became known in the 1960s as part of an Italian generation of artists who sought to radically redefine painting.
Believing in the ‘intelligence of painting’, Griffa allows surface, colour and marks – painting’s essential elements – to form the work: the type or width of the brush; the colour or dilution of the paint; and the nature of the canvas, whether linen, cotton, hemp or jute. Often working on the studio floor, Griffa’s rhythmic, formal gestures soak into the unprimed, unstretched material, reflecting on painting as a performative, time-based process. Griffa’s minimal and primordial marks are embedded in his fascination with quantum energy, time-space mathematics, the golden ratio and the memory of visual experience since time immemorial. Suggesting the ongoing and organic life of the painting, lines and brushstrokes are deliberately cut short and the canvas is never filled; never a finished or complete object, but a process viewed in the moment, Griffa’s works remain open as a metaphor for a permanently unfinished space.
At the age of 81, Griffa continues to make work in his studio in Turin; this exhibition spans the breadth of the artist’s practice, incorporating works from the 1960s through to today.
Giorgio Griffa (b. 1936) lives and works in Turin, Italy. Recent solo exhibitions include: Giorgio Griffa: The 1970s, Casey Kaplan, New York, USA (2016); Works on Paper, Fondazione Giuliani, Rome, Italy (2016); Giorgio Griffa, Fondation Vincent Van Gogh Arles, Arles, France (2016); Quasi Tutto, Serralves Museum, Porto, Portugal (2015); Painting into the Fold, Bergen Kunsthall, Bergen, Norway (2015); and A Retrospective 1968 – 2014, Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève, Geneva, Switzerland (2015). Griffa also recently exhibited at the Venice Biennale 57th International Art Exhibition, Viva Arte Viva; his third time at the Biennale following presentations in 1978 and 1980.Photography: Mark Blower. Courtesy of the artist and Camden Arts Centre, London