Cortesi Gallery, London
The Concrete Utopia: Ivan Picelj and New Tendencies 1961-1973
Curated by Ilaria Bignotti
26 May – 22 July 2016
Private view: Thursday, 26 May, 6–8:30 pm
Cortesi Gallery is delighted to present TheConcrete Utopia: Ivan Picelj and New Tendencies 1961–1973, an exhibition that explores the neo avant-garde of the sixties and seventies via the work of Croatian artist Ivan Picelj(1924–2011). As one of the founders of the New Tendencies movement, Picelj’s work presents a fascinating opportunity to re-examine this exciting period.
Curated by Ilaria Bignotti, the retrospective features more than 40 works by Picelj, retracing the significant developments of one of the movement’s leading figures. Picelj is renowned for his persistent pursuit of the perfect relationship between perception and knowledge. Through his rigorous ideation and infinite patience for repetition, his forms become a concrete utopia, created as a better way to see, feel and experience the everyday in life.
The exhibition also highlights the central role played by the artist, whose work and artistic explorations range from painting to architecture to the graphic design of posters, catalogues and magazines. Picelj produced a number of graphic design projects for his friends, artists, architects and “spiritual masters”, including Jean Arp, Pablo Picasso, Victor Vasarely, Raphael Soto and Bruno Munari.
The New Tendencies movement began in 1961 in Zagreb, Croatia (then Yugoslavia), where the Museum of Contemporary Art brought together an extraordinary group of artists and critics from around the world. The collective exhibition featured work by Agostino Bonalumi, Enrico Castellani, Piero Manzoni, Ivan Picelj and Paolo Scheggi, as well as others from the ZERO and GRAV movements and both the N and T groups.
The Concrete Utopiawould not have been possible without the invaluable collaboration of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb, which agreed to the loan of several outstanding works. The artist’s daughter, Anja Picelj-Kosak, also lent her enthusiastic support to the project.
The Concrete Utopia: Ivan Picelj and New Tendencies 1961–1973 is on view at the Cortesi Gallery in London from 26 May to 22 July, and then in Lugano from 14 September to 22 October. It is complemented by an exhibition catalogue, which, in addition to an essay by the curator, Ilaria Bignotti, also features an introduction by Snježana Pintarić, Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb, as well as a compilation of research notes, documents and photographs.