Cortesi Gallery, Lugano
Louise Nevelson. Assemblages and Collages 1960–1980
Curated by Bruno Corà
16 February – 7 April 2017
Opening: Thursday, 16 February, from 6 to 8.30 pm
Cortesi Gallery, Lugano, is pleased to present the exhibition Louise Nevelson. Assemblages and Collages, a remarkable selection of 29 works realised by the artist between 1960 and 1980.
Louise Nevelson (Kiev, 1899 – New York, 1988) was born in the Ukraine but emigrated to the United States in her early years. She is one of the most influential figures of the 20th century, an epoch that she lived to see almost in its entirety.
Nevelson turned to collages from the mid-50s and these works clearly show the influence of Cubism, which she encountered during research trips in Europe. Realised on wooden or paper boards and in different dimensions, the collages reveal the artist’s attention to perspective, chromaticism, spontaneity of execution and compositional balance. To this first kind of artistic production, Nevelson added assemblages: in both cases, the works are realised by collecting scrape wood and metals bits found in the streets of New York.
Reclaimed materials that, as such, tell a story, have a past that Louise Nevelson takes into account when re-assembling the pieces. In her sculptures, we recognise everyday objects – from table and chair legs, to balustrade and more – that the artist re-uses with a sensibility that wavers between New Dada and Abstractionism, but that also looks back at pre-Columbian and Mesoamerican sculpture she became fascinated with during a trip to Mexico in 1950. However, despite these many references, the final result is extraordinarily original, making it impossible to be pigeonholed.
For assemblages, the artist preferred monochrome – in particular, black and gold – as evident in the works on show at Cortesi Gallery. Using a solid colour, the dimension of the objects is flattened while the attention placed on the game of lights and shadows generated by the surfaces, enhancing their evocative aspects.
The exhibition is organised in collaboration with Fondazione Marconi (Milan) and is accompanied by a catalogue produced by Mousse Publishing, which includes a critical essay by curator Bruno Corà.