It is with the utmost pleasure that Space Gallery St Barth in collaboration with Eduardo Secci announces the opening of their first exhibition of major twentieth-century French and Italian artists.
Titled Textural Geographies, the exhibition showcases works by Agostino Bonalumi, Alighiero Boetti, Enrico Castellani, and Christo.
Opening Thursday, December 30, and running till Saturday, January 15 at their newly renovated Space Gallery in St Barth, this exhibition represents a natural progression of Space Gallery’s focus on European and European-influenced aesthetics and serves to broaden our scope of offerings as we enter our second decade on island.
The genesis of this exhibition and subsequent collaboration with Italian gallery Eduardo Secci stems from our desire to tell a comprehensive story of twentieth-century European aesthetics.
Textural Geographies presents an opportunity for us to share something new with our collectors: a curated selection of the emerging and mid-career painters and photographers we love alongside the artists who influenced them.
Textural Geographies showcases artists and artworks representative of several of the most influential Italian avant-garde movements of the twentieth century with a special emphasis on the artists’ desire to push past the limitations of the two-dimensional plane.
Elaborating on this concept, Agostino Bonalumi explains, “…at a certain point that expressiveness which was purely appearance and not form, was not enough.”
Throughout Textural Geographies, the journey across different artistic processes and techniques finds common ground in the geographical attitude shared between the artists, ultimately generating a proper route consisting of ups and downs, lights and shadows, multiple directions, and ties to specific places of the world.
Figurative signs are not the landmarks to guide the viewer: lines, curves, colors, ledges, and recesses create a sinuous movement to be followed in a continuous flow, a sort of stream of consciousness not made up of words, but shapes.
The textural geographies of these surfaces lead to imaginary where you find yourself lost and oriented at the same time.
Agostino Bonalumi (b. 1935 | d. 2013) was an Italian abstract artist who by the late 50s had become active in the vibrant art scene of Milan, where he met Piero Manzoni and Enrico Castellani.
During his long career spanning more than five decades, Agostino Bonalumi was a leading figure in the Italian avant-garde.
He achieved his breakthrough in 1959 with his creation of shaped vinyl- coated monochromatic canvases, which he named “extroflections.”
Specially outfitting his stretcher bars with shaped relief elements that pressed against the back of the tightened canvas, Bonalumi created canvases with saturated tones or white monochromes that appeared animated by a mysterious presence lurking beneath the surface.
Bonalumi’s work has been shown in numerous major solo and group exhibitions, including the Venice and São Paulo biennials, and it is part of the collections of several museums, including the Museu Coleçao Berardoin Lisbon, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.
Alighiero Boetti (b. 1940 | d. 1994) – or Alighiero e Boetti ( “e” means “and”) as the Artist signed his works from 1973 on – was born in Turin, where he started his activity joining the Arte Poveramovement in January 1967.
In 1972 he moved to Rome.
In 1971 he had discovered Afghanistan and in Kabul had started an artistic collaboration with women embroiderers, creating tapestries such as his political Maps which would evolve according to the world’s political mutations.
As a conceptual and versatile artist, he has produced a great variety of artworks, delegating to other people the manual execution of some specific typologies, but in that case following very precise “rules of the game”. Other types of Boetti’sworks are exclusively executed by his own hand.
Alighiero Boetti exposed his works in the most prestigious and emblematic exhibitions of his generation such as “When Attitudes Become Form” (1969); “Contemporanea” (Rome 1973); “Identité Italienne” (Paris, 1981) and “The Italian Metamorphosis 1943-1968” (Guggenheim Museum New York, 1994).
His artworks were exposed at six editions of the Venice Biennale.
Enrico Castellani (b. 1930 | d. 2017) was born in Castelmassa, Italy. In the years just before 1960 Castellani produced a searching body of work that reveals the artist’s ability to transform canvases into original terrains.
Works from this period include monochromes covered with tangled wires or dramatized by deep folds.
In 1959 Castellani created the seminal Black Surface in Relief (Superficie nera in rilievo) by placing hazelnuts behind a canvas.
Since 1959 Castellani has continued to reprocess the potent vocabulary established in that work, creating unexpected topographies by stretching canvases over arrangements of nail heads.
The Fondazione Prada in Milan organized a major solo exhibition on Castellani in 2001.
The artist has participated in notable group exhibitions including the Venice Biennale (1964 and 1966); The Responsive Eye, Museum of Modern Art, New York (1965); Documenta 4, Kassel, Germany (1968); Identité Italienne: L’Art en Italie de 1959 à aujourd’hui, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (1981); and The Italian Metamorphosis, 1943–1968, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (1994).
The artist died in Celleno, Italy, in 2017.
Christo Javacheff (b. 1935 | d. 2020) was born in Gabrova, Bulgaria.
He moved to Paris in 1958 and met Jeanne-Claude. Indebted to Vladimir Tatlin’s Constructivist edict “real materials in real space”, Christo’s first artworks, dating from 1958, consist of appropriated everyday objects such as bottles, cans, furniture, and oil drums wrapped in canvas, bundled in twine, and occasionally overlaid with automobile paint.
Throughout the 1960s, Christo and Jeanne-Claude outlined proposals for similar projects, often involving iconic buildings. Beginning in 1970, the artists executed numerous other projects, all of which became icons of environmental art.
Major exhibitions of the artists’ work have been organized by the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston (1979), Museum Ludwig in Cologne (1981), Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art (1990), Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin (2001), and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (2004). Jeanne-Claude died in 2009; Christo died in New York in 2020.