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"Enrico Castellani Work from 1958 – 1970"
2002-05-04 until 2002-06-23
Kettle's Yard Gallery
Cambridge, , UK United Kingdom

Kettle’s Yard is delighted to announce the first UK show by one of Italy’s major post-war artists. Focusing on his work from 1958 – 1970, the exhibition traces Castellani’s attempts to explore the expressive potential of the two-dimensional surface. Through the use of simple repetition he reduces the painted canvas to its essentials: space, light and the dimension of time. His series of large monochromatic reliefs, with their characteristic alternation of points and punctures, create rhythmic surfaces of enormous purity and beauty.

In 1959, Castellani produced the first of his structured surfaces by putting nuts behind the canvas to form reliefs in order to emphasise the physicality of the surface as well as the dynamism of space. He went on to develop the technique that was to become characteristic of all subsequent work, of putting nails into a framework that underlay the canvas, which was then treated as a monochrome surface so that it would be as immaterial as possible. The colour of his earlier works gradually gave way to a concentration on white. For me white is not a colour, but rather the absence of colour. Just as in the treatment of the surfaces of my works I seek to create something as objective as possible, the same applies to colour.

Originally trained as an architect, Castellani moved to Brussels to study at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts, before moving to Milan in 1956, at the age of 26. With Piero Manzoni, he founded the hugely influential, though short-lived, magazine Azimuth, and the gallery Azimut, which were revolutionary in their impact upon Italian art. In his 1965 Manifesto of Minimalism Donald Judd identified Castellani, with Yves Klein, as the two most important European precursors of minimalism and conceptualism. Together with Fontana’s "slashes", Castellani’s surfaces in relief constitute one of the most outstanding stylistic developments of the period.

Curated by Germano Celant, the exhibition has been organised in collaboration with Fondazione Prada, Milan, and contains about thirty works from public and private collections throughout Europe. The exhibition will be accompanied by a substantial catalogue (£30).

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