The first U.S. solo show of the late Italian artist Lisa Ponti, presented by Ortuzar Projects, documents the artist’s experiments on A4 paper through approximately four dozen drawings. Ponti, who died in 2019, plumbed the playful potential of almost anything she could get her hands on: cotton wool doubles as a wig or an embrace; the spines of two plastic binder sleeves set diagonally across a page implies an aerial view of cars speeding down a highway; and an homage to a friend named Bob transforms the name into her signature plump smiling figures embracing one another.
Ponti’s drawings are accompanied, in a vitrine, by supporting archival material, such as an early book of poems. Published by her father, architect Gio Ponti, the book was titled Gio Ponti Agli Amici, or “From Gio Pointi to His Friends.” His daughter seemed to similarly delight in the company and amity of others: in a photograph on display of Ponti with her friend Bob Wilson in 1998, the two of them, both wearing large round glasses, look almost like one of her own jovial characters.
Lisa Ponti, Untitled. Pencil, fabric and watercolor on paper, 11 3/4 x 8 1/4 inches. Courtesy Galleria Federico Vavassori, Milan and Ortuzar Projects, New York. © Archivio Lisa Ponti.