CARL ANDRE | GIOVANNI ANSELMO | LUCIANO FABRO | BRUCE NAUMAN | MICHELANGELO PISTOLETTO | RICHARD SERRA
Simon Lee Gallery, London presents Metal, a group exhibition of sculptures in metal produced between 1968 and 1990. The exhibition comprises works created by some of the most prominent and innovative artists of the twentieth century, pioneers of the Minimalist and Arte Povera movements.
The exhibition links together artists working in industrial materials such as aluminium, iron, and steel, who challenge the viewer’s relationship to space through various methods of intervention, proposing unexpected ways of seeing and interacting.
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Richard Serra’s T with Two (1986), barricades one corner of the exhibition space by the most minimal means possible – two rolled plates of steel stacked to resemble a capital T from one perspective; from above, or inside the corner, however, the T-shape forms a new triangular enclosure. Elsewhere, Bruce Nauman’s Triangle (1977-1980) constructs from cast iron a three-point boundary on the floor that at once locks out and barricades in the viewer to the area it sculpts from the gallery space. Nauman explains, ‘I find triangles really uncomfortable,disconcerting kinds of spaces…there is no comfortable space to stay inside them or outside them’.
In Michelangelo Pistoletto’s seminal early work, Rittratto sigg. Lerre (1987) polished stainless steel becomes a mirror populated by figures painted to human-scale. The viewer sees themselves in relation to the reflection and the scale of the mirrored surface, allowing them to enter the work conceptually and literally. Similarly interactive, Carl Andre’s 18 Aluminum Row (1968) lays flat on the gallery floor,encouraging the viewer to directly experience the work by walking on its raw metal surface. Andre’s approach to the industrial materials used in his artwork is highly physical, both for artist and audience.
Giovanni Anselmo’s Cielo accorciato (Shortened Sky), (1969-1970) belongs to a group of works that address the limits of representation as put forward by established art practices, aiming to demonstrate the ways in which infinity can be conceived by the viewer, although not materially quantified.Likewise, Luciano Fabro’s late Computer series conveys a sense of great lightness, despite being made with heavy materials such as iron, steel, uprights for metal shelving, brass and aluminium chains. Computer Forbice (1990) comprises a simple steel armature through which painted plastic tubing is threaded to create a geometric effect of two interwoven triangles. Suspension and movement are key themes throughout Fabro’s practice, never more succinctly exacted than in this work in which the conceptual notions of weight and balance are materialised.
Carl Andre was born in 1935 in Quincy, MA and lives and works in New York, NY. In 2015 the Dia Art Foundation, Beacon, NY presented Andre’s first North American retrospective since 1978, which travelled to Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain (2015); Hamburger Bahnhof Museum für Gegenwart Berlin, DE (2016); Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, FR (2016-2017) and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA (2017). Andre’s work has been the subject of major solo exhibitions, most notably at the Musée Cantini, Marseilles, France (1997); Kunstmuseum, Wolfsburg, Germany (1996); Haus Lange und Haus Esters, Krefeld (1996); Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands (1987); Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, UK (1978); Laguna Gloria Art Museum, Austin, TX (1978) and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY (1970).
Giovanni Anselmo was born in 1934 in Borgofranco d’Ivrea, Italy and lives and works in Turin and Stromboli, Italy. The artist’s first solo show was held at the Galleria Sperone in Milan, Italy in 1968. Since then he has been the subject of major solo exhibitions worldwide, including at Castello di Rivoli, Rivoli, Italy (2016); Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Winterthur, Switzerland (2013); S.M.A.K., Ghent, Belgium (2004); Museum Kurhaus Kleve, Kleve, Germany (2004); BOZAR, Brussels, Belgium (2002) and The Renaissance Society, Chicago, IL (1997). He has participated in the Venice Biennale on no less than three occasions (1978, 1980, 1990) and in Documenta 5 and 7 (1972, 1982).
Luciano Fabro was born in 1936 in Turin, Italy. He lived and worked in Milan until his death in 2007. In 2014 the Museo Nacional Centre de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain presented the first major posthumous retrospective of his work. In 2013 a survey of Fabro’s drawings was shown at the Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Zurich, Switzerland and in 2007 the Museo d’arte contemporanea Donnaregina, Naples, Italy mounted an exhibition of early works. Between 1972 and 1997 Fabro participated no less than eight times in the Venice Biennale, as well as three times in Documenta. He was the recipient of a number of prestigious awards throughout his life, including the Coutts Contemporary Art Award given by the Coutts Contemporary Art Foundation, Zurich, Switzerland (1994), the Premio Antonio Fetrinelli Prize awarded by the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Rome, Italy (1993), the Sikkens Prize awarded by the Sikkens Stichting, Rotterdam, The Netherlands (1987) and the Louis-Price award (1981).
Bruce Nauman was born in 1941 in Fort Wayne, IN and lives and works in New Mexico, NM. Nauman is currently the subject of a major retrospective, Bruce Nauman: Disappearing Acts at The Museum of Modern Art and MoMa PS1, New York, NY, which travelled from Schaulager, Basel, Switzerland (2018). Other recent solo exhibitions include Bruce Nauman: Contrapposto Studies, I through VII, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA (2017); Bruce Nauman, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris, France (2015); Bruce Nauman’s Words on Paper, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada (2014); Bruce Nauman, Göteburg Konstmuseum, Gothenburg, Sweden (2013) and Bruce Nauman: Days, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, UK (2012). His work has been included in the Whitney Biennial (1977, 1985, 1987, 1991 and 1997) and the Venice Biennale (1978, 1980, 1999, 2005 and 2007).
Michelangelo Pistoletto lives and works in Biella, Italy, where he founded Cittadellarte in 1998, a creative laboratory that works to promote the use of art to engender social change. The primary objective of the Cittadellarte focuses around the Third Paradise, a project conceived in 2003, which aims to unite nature and society in harmonious coexistence. Over the past 50 years Pistoletto has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions at major institutions and cultural centres, including Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Havana, Cuba (2016); Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, UK (2016); Musée du Louvre, Paris, France (2013); Serpentine Gallery, London, UK (2011); MAXXI, Rome, Italy (2011) and Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA (2010). He has been included in the Venice Biennale on eleven separate occasions, and four iterations of Documenta.
Richard Serra was born in 1938 in San Francisco, CA and lives and works in New York, NY. He studied at the University of California (Berkeley and Santa Barbara) and at Yale University. In June 2015 he was awarded the insignia of Chevalier de la légion d’honneur by the French government. Serra has been the subject of numerous major solo exhibitions, including at Qatar Museum Authority, Doha, Qatar (2014); The Courtauld Gallery, London, UK (2013); The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, which travelled to San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA and The Menil Collection, Houston, TX; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY (2007) and Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Bilbao, Spain (2005). Serra participated in Documenta (1972, 1977, 1982 and 1987) and the Venice Biennale (1980, 1984, 2001 and 2013). He was awarded the Golden Lion in 2001.Courtesy of Simon Lee Gallery