Thursday, December 10, 2015

Alberto Burri (1915-1995) : The Trauma of Painting _ Guggenheim Museum

Guggenheim Museum presents a retrospective exhibition of Italian artist Alverto Burri(1915-1995) for the first time in nearly 40 years. He is Italian representative modern artist who has explored materials such as burlap, wood, iron, etc in abstract painting. Although he was majoring in medical science, he started painting when he was captured in Camp Howze prisoner of war camp in Texas during Warld War II.

The famous architect Guggenheim museum space led me to see his paintings by going down the hallway from the top of the museum. Space specificity of Guggengeim was perfect to continue the context between his paintings. Viewers were able to keep an emotional state smoothly while seeing the exhibition from top to bottom.

When I just started to see the exhibition, even though it was the first time to go to Alberto Burri’s exhibition and I did not know about him before, I recognized that he relies on very strong trauma through his painting at once.

His using of multiple materials which are cultural, organic and artificial and dynamic gestures in his painting conveyed haunting fears and pains of war. Melting red plastic painting, Rosso Plastica M2, was so strong and heavy. It seemed bloody evil. This intensive red color and painful gesture caught me that I was not be able to escape from it. Sticking, stapling and soldering in his works implied scattered tore skins, scars, and bloody wounds in war. Cracks which was like an extreme drought in his paintings express unstable and fragile human in war metaphorically as well.

Combustione legno (Wood Combustion), 1955. Wood veneer, fabric, combustion, acrylic, nails, and Vinavil on black fabric, 88.5 x 160 cm. Private collection 
Rosso plastica M 2 (Red Plastic M 2), 1962. Plastic (PVC and PE) and combustion on black fabric, 120 x 180 cm. Private collection

The most impressed work was his documentary film Grand Cretto. This was the massive land memorial installation work for earthquake which destroyed the old city Gibellina in Italy. Grande Cretto has been building with 8000 squares of concrete pieces since 1985 and this project will be completed after 30 years. This work was perfectly expanded his Cretti painting series on the earth. Grande Cretto was different with his other series works which had to fear and pain. His documentary film took the path of white gigantic cracks. There were healing, meditation and self reflection. White cracks which were covering spectacle surface of land met the endless sky. This state conveyed sublime beauty to viewers.

Grand Ceratto, 1984-1989, Cement sculpture, 150 cm × 35000 cm × 28000 cm (59 in × 14,000 in × 11,000 in),  in  Gibellina Sicily 

Grand Ceratto, 1984-1989, Cement sculpture, 150 cm × 35000 cm × 28000 cm (59 in × 14,000 in × 11,000 in),  in  Gibellina Sicily 

Grande bianco (Large White), 1971. Acrylic and PVA on Celotex, 126 x 201.7 cm. Private collection, United States.

1 comment:

  1. I really like this this show. Art works and space perfectly match each other. His abstract works intrigues me to know more about him as well. You did a good job by using refine words to describe his war background, which is very important connection with his works. Only suggestion is that you can add a simple conclusion would be better.