Giorgio Griffa

The 1990s

Casey Kaplan
121 W 27th Street
Open by appointment
New York
May 5th 2020 — Aug 21st 2020


Giorgio Griffa's fourth solo exhibition with the gallery unearths nearly 20 paintings from the Italian artist's studio in his native Turin, where they had been folded together and stored since the 1990s. During this decade, numbers took on new conceptual importance in Griffa's practice "as a method to sequence his canvases both inside an individual work and within an infinite series. Numbers determine an internal logic within the paintings, designating the order in which each line, marking, or sign is painted."

From Casey Kaplan:

For over fifty years, Giorgio Griffa has developed a painting practice that records 'the memory of material,' a process the artist believes is 'constant, and never finished,' allowing brush, paint, and canvas to dictate the outcome of his work. By eliminating perspective and narrative, Griffa transcribes the process of painting into simple repeated marks and gestures. Starting with unprimed, unstretched raw canvas laid out like sheets on the studio floor, Griffa works slowly across them, crouching and kneeling on the material in a way that aligns him with his tools as the canvas becomes the ground for water-based acrylic paints, mixed thinly, to seep and bleed upon application. The rawness of the resulting color fields, along with large areas of unpainted canvas, gives Griffa’s paintings a provisional feel, emphasizing his convictions about the independent life of materials. The paintings are then displayed unframed, pinned to the wall with small nails along their top edge, and when not exhibited, are folded and stacked by year, creating an underlying grid for his compositions.

Giorgio Griffa, Finale Rosa, 1996. Acrylic on canvas, 70.9 X 86.6 inches.