Artists Giorgio Griffa
Date 07.09.23 - 05.10.23
Venue MASSIMODECARLO, London
All images Courtesy MASSIMODECARLO. Photo: Robert Glowacki
Originally committed to figuration, Griffa underwent a transformative shift towards abstraction in 1968. Using acrylic paints on raw and unstretched canvas, his works are boldly nailed to the wall, anchored along the upper edge. Griffa prefers to work on the floor, ensuring that colours remain undisturbed, as he eloquently puts it, “without a frame, walking on the canvas, leaning on it, and leaving the imprint of my hand.”
Griffa’s art draws its essence from minimal and primal symbols – traces, lines, curves, and numbers – and reveals his deep fascination with quantum energy, mathematics, and the golden ratio. Through these elements, his works exude a continuous, organic vitality, achieved by intentionally shortened lines and brushstrokes, allowing the canvas to remain uncluttered and unfilled. Rather than presenting a polished outcome, they encapsulate a moment of the artistic process in motion.
Griffa’s practice embodies a wide-ranging exploration, embracing disciplines, theories, and philosophies. A defining characteristic is the division of his creations into cycles – fluid, perpetual streams intermingling without confinement to any definitive endpoint. As Griffa remarks, “these cycles harmoniously coexist, transcending the notions of progress or regression; they embody an eternal evolution.”
In the cycle Tre Linee con Arabesco, which took root in the 1990s, each work boasts a trio of lines and an arabesque, individually identified by a progressive number. As Giorgio Griffa elucidates, “the first artwork bears the number one, the second takes on the mantle of number two, and so the sequence unfolds.” This numerical chronology lends a unique distinction to each creation, highlighting the sequence in which the artist’s marks grace the canvas, symbolising a journey through both time and space.
Griffa’s work weaves together simple gestures, vivid colours, and raw canvas, forming the very essence of pure artistic expression. The foundation of simplicity, or even minimalism, in Griffa’s practice remains unblemished by any external motivations. The intrinsic value of “art for art’s sake” reigns supreme, guarding against any attempts to dilute or compromise the profound authenticity at the core of his artistic practice. From as early as 1972, Griffa fearlessly proclaimed: “I do not represent anything, I paint.”