February Art Gallery Highlights in London

Barbara Hepworth, Maquette for Large Sculpture Three forms (Two circles), 1966 Courtesy Ordovas, London

This week I propose a back to basics. I am a supporter of contemporary art talent and I am always on the lookout for the new, overlooked and unexplored. However, there are times when the never-ending exhibition listings and art fairs, the gallery opening nights and the commentary cocktail coming from every corner pulling in all directions, is overwhelming. In those moments of chaos, I always go back to the very art masters who led the way. Their elegance and poetic vision, the ground-breaking simplicity and the honesty to themselves is what gets me back on track. My highlights this month are solo shows by Alighiero Boetti and Josef Albers and a group show dedicated to monochrome white sculptures by 20thcentury artists.

Monochrome at Ordovas until April 22nd

The exhibition presents sculptures rendered in various shades of white by Eduardo Chillida, Alberto Giacometti, Barbara Hepworth, Isamu Noguchi and Richard Serra. Long associated with purity and clarity, the all-over white tones bring out the honesty of materials through surface, texture and experimentation. Giacometti marks the plaster surface of his abstracted female figure with gentle indentations; the natural beauty of Chillida’s alabaster is an ode to form and light whilst Hepworth superimposes marble planes in an intimate scale. Rubber gives Serra the malleability he was seeking on exploring the making process itself whilst Noguchi returns to white marble after years of material experimentation, a material that he understood and had great respect for.

Eduardo Chillida, Gurutz VIII, 2000 Courtesy Ordovas, London

Josef Albers Sunny Side Up at David Zwirner until March 10th

This exhibition houses a gigantic sun, radiating from all walls and corners. Sunny Side Up brings together an extensive selection of paintings and studies from Josef Albers’ Homage to the Square painting series. A personal favourite are the studies and works on paper, bringing out the flickering colours, the brushstrokes and annotations, the blurred edges and the perfect-in-their-imperfections squares. A master telling us about the limitless expressive potential of colour and light. Goethe’s Theory of Colour (1810) explained it: “We experience a very warm and cozy impression with yellow. The eye is gladdened, the heart expands, the feelings are cheered, an immediate warmth seems to waft towards us”.

Study for Homage to the Square, n.d. Oil on blotting paper 12 1/8 x 12 1/8 inches (30.8 x 30.8 cm)
© 2017 The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Courtesy David Zwirner, New York/London.

Alighiero Boetti: Magie straordinarie at Sprovieri until March 11th

Alighiero Boetti (Turin, 1940 — Rome, 1994) is one of the most influential Post War artists. After starting his career with the Arte Povera movement in 1972 he dissociated himself and travelled to Rome where he collaborated with several artists and explored art through an extremely varied range of means. The exhibition includes fourteen works on paper from 1965 to 1983. A treat not to miss are the three Lavori postali from 1972, made with envelopes and stamps from Italy and Afghanistan are organised by Boetti’s permutation thorough system; the different positioning of the stamps leads the number of envelopes in the works. “The vital element of the work is the existence of order and disorder. There is an irony in the order represented by the envelopes, with the graphic obliterations by the postal system, the marks left by the rain when being passed from hand to hand…it represents an order invaded by the disorder of everyday life”.

Alighiero Boetti, Lavoro Postale (8 lettere da Kabul), 1972 Eight stamped envelopes (Afghan stamps) 10 x 25 cm each
Courtesy Sprovieri, London

Originally published at www.inigoart.com.