Curated by: Martin Holman
Mazzoleni London presents The Golden Age, a solo exhibition of paintings by Gianfranco Zappettini and curated by Martin Holman. The current exhibition will be followed by a second show at the Mazzoleni gallery in Turin later this year.
Gianfranco Zappettini, co-founder of the international Analytical Painting movement in the 1970s (which spanned Italy, Germany, France, and the Netherlands), is considered one of the most relevant living abstract Italian painters. The term 'Analytical Painting' (Analytische Malerei), was coined by art historian and critic Klaus Honnef in 1974. Zappettini's works have been exhibited in public museums across Europe (Westfälischer Kunstverein in Münster, 1971; Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna, Turin, 1977; Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, 1978; Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome, 1981) and at documenta 6 in Kassel in 1977. This exhibition focuses on a completely new series of paintings, which investigates the symbolic meaning of gold as a metaphysical sense of spiritual perfection, not just as a precious material. Moreover, Zappettini's extensive personal research on Taosim, Zen and Sufism is intrinsic to this body of work.
The colour gold is the theme of the installation and as Zappettini states, 'While the time of myth is cyclical, there is also correspondence between past and future, between end and beginning, because what has been will necessarily repeat again. A new "Golden Age" will follow the age in which we are living—a final epoch, degenerate and stripped of spirituality: this narrates the myth and this may prefigure art, capable of conserving the most profound values and, like myth, of passing the confines of time.' The artist's method is based on calm attentiveness; each and every area of the painting, meticulously separated from one another, can be distinguished through the density of colour and expressed through the respective stratification of the painterly material. For Zappettini painting is a spiritual exercise; the colours utilised in his work—the gold, silver and bronze of his 'Warp and Weft', (La Trama e l'Ordito) series—allude to meanings of a metaphysical order which communicate the ancient splendours of a time when art still had a propensity towards the divine, recalling Fra Angelico, Simone Martini and Ambrogio Lorenzetti.
The Turin exhibition will also display other paintings from series dating back to the 1990s and 2000s. The illustrated catalogue, published by Skira, includes essays by Dr. Martin Holman, British curator and art critic; Prof. Klaus Honnef, German museum director and art historian and critic; Prof. Paola Valenti, professor of contemporary art history at the University of Genoa.
Gianfranco Zappettini was born in Genoa in 1939. In 1962 Zappettini held his first personal exhibition in Palazzetto Rosso in his hometown and began working in the offices of architect Konrad Wachsmann and, together with German painter Winfred Gaul, he began to experience the artistic environment in Germany and Holland. In 1971 he was invited to the Arte Concreta ('Concrete Art') exhibition at the Westfälischer Kunstverein in Münster, curated by Klaus Honnef. In those years, he participated in the main exhibitions of Analytical Painting: Tempi di percezione ('Times of perception', Livorno, 1973), Un futuro possibile—nuova pittura ('A Possible Future–New Painting', Ferrara, 1973), Geplante Malerei (Münster and Milan, 1974), Analytische Malerei (Düsseldorf, 1975), Concerning Painting... (a travelling exhibition in various Dutch museums, 1975–1976). In 1977 he was invited to documenta 6 in Kassel and in 1978 he attended the collective exhibition Abstraction Analytique at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.
In the last fifteen years, his work has focused on the symbolism of weft and warp. In 2007, the VAF Foundation (Frankfurt, Germany) dedicated an impressive monographic show to his work. The artist's personal exhibitions during the last fifty years include the following international institutions: Westfälischer Kunstverein (Münster, 1975), Internationaal Cultureel Centrum (Antwerp, 1978), Museo d'Arte Contemporanea di Villa Croce (Genoa, 1997), CAMeC - Centro d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea (La Spezia, 2007), Forum Kunst (Rottweil, 2007, with Paolo Icaro), LuCCA - Lucca Center of Contemporary Arts (Lucca, 2012), Janus Pannonius - Vasarely Museum (Pécs, 2015). The latest collective exhibitions in public spaces encompass: Pittura analitica. I percorsi italiani. 1970–1980 ('Analytical Painting. The Italian Paths. 1970–1980', at Museo della Permanente, Milan, 2007), Pittura aniconica, ('Aniconic Painting,' at Casa del Mantegna, Mantua 2008), Pensare pittura ('Thinking Painting', at Museo d'Arte Contemporanea di Villa Croce, Genoa, 2009), Analytische Malerei ('Analytic Painting,' at Forum Kunst, Rottweil, 2011), Gli anni della pittura analitica ('The Years of Analytical Painting,' at Palazzo della Gran Guardia, Verona, 2016).
Gianfranco Zappettini first exhibited at Mazzoleni with a solo show in 2016 in the Turin gallery, followed by his participation in collective shows such as Pittura Analitica. Anni '70 ('Analytical Painting. 1970s', London, 2016), Mazzoleni 1986–2016. 30 Years of Art, 30 Italian Artists (Turin, 2016 and London, 2017), Pittura Analitica. Then and Now (Turin, 2017), and Light in Motion–Balla, Dorazio, Zappettini (London, 2017). He lives and works in Chiavari, Genoa, where he founded the Zappettini Foundation for Contemporary Art in 2003.
Press release courtesy Mazzoleni.