Gagosian is pleased to present an important exhibition at the Britannia Street gallery bringing together works by Alberto Giacometti, Lucio Fontana, Richard Serra, and Cy Twombly for the first time.
Collaborating directly with the Fondation Alberto et Annette Giacometti in Paris, a number of outstanding works by Giacometti have been selected for the exhibition, including Femme de Venise III and three Têtes d’homme (Lotar I, II, and III), which depict the avant-garde photographer Eli Lotar. These works have been chosen for their interaction with space and light; the bronze retains the mutating fragility of the human models as captured in clay or plaster while displaying intense strength and materiality.
The Giacometti works will be shown with a series of sculptures by Lucio Fontana from the late 1950s, entitled Natura, which combine natural and human forms so that the simplicity of the materials accumulates layers of meaning. A small group of ethereal sculptures, made in 1957–58, resembling butterflies or flowers on a thin, elongated stem will also be shown. These works reserve something of Giacometti’s emaciated human figures, although the path that brought Fontana to produce them is an investigation of the materials themselves.
Richard Serra has made works in steel since the 1960s, which are about movement and equilibrium, stasis and balance. The emphasis of the pieces is on the process of creation, raw physicality combined with a self-conscious awareness of material and an engagement with the space in which it is placed. The works shown include the early lead piece Sign Board (1969) and a number of “corner props,” in which massive plates of steel are propped up through the force of gravity.
Cy Twombly’s sculptures, cast in bronze from rough elements of wood and plaster, are fundamentally abstract, often alluding to mythological subjects or to artifacts of the ancient past: temples, altars, or reliquaries. The fragility of the forms belies their monumental or memorial character.
All the works in the exhibition are characterized by a powerful material presence that activates space. The inert matter—whether plaster or bronze, steel or found materials—comes alive in the hands of these artists, whose work possesses a physical intimacy, a human scale, and an intense authority. As David Sylvester has observed, these sculptures are to do with “living, looking and making.”
A fully illustrated catalogue will accompany the exhibition.
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