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Setsuko

Into the Trees II

September 8–October 29, 2022
Rome

Installation view with Setsuko, Mandoline sur tissus grecs (1987–88) Artwork © Setsuko. Photo: Matteo D’Eletto, M3 Studio

Installation view with Setsuko, Mandoline sur tissus grecs (1987–88)

Artwork © Setsuko. Photo: Matteo D’Eletto, M3 Studio

Installation view Artwork © Setsuko. Photo: Matteo D’Eletto, M3 Studio

Installation view

Artwork © Setsuko. Photo: Matteo D’Eletto, M3 Studio

Installation view Artwork © Setsuko. Photo: Matteo D’Eletto, M3 Studio

Installation view

Artwork © Setsuko. Photo: Matteo D’Eletto, M3 Studio

Installation view Artwork © Setsuko. Photo: Matteo D’Eletto, M3 Studio

Installation view

Artwork © Setsuko. Photo: Matteo D’Eletto, M3 Studio

Installation view Artwork © Setsuko. Photo: Matteo D’Eletto, M3 Studio

Installation view

Artwork © Setsuko. Photo: Matteo D’Eletto, M3 Studio

Installation view Artwork © Setsuko. Photo: Matteo D’Eletto, M3 Studio

Installation view

Artwork © Setsuko. Photo: Matteo D’Eletto, M3 Studio

Installation view Artwork © Setsuko. Photo: Matteo D’Eletto, M3 Studio

Installation view

Artwork © Setsuko. Photo: Matteo D’Eletto, M3 Studio

Installation view Artwork © Setsuko. Photo: Matteo D’Eletto, M3 Studio

Installation view

Artwork © Setsuko. Photo: Matteo D’Eletto, M3 Studio

Installation view Artwork © Setsuko. Photo: Matteo D’Eletto, M3 Studio

Installation view

Artwork © Setsuko. Photo: Matteo D’Eletto, M3 Studio

Works Exhibited

Setsuko, Magnolia I, 2022 Enameled terra-cotta, 32 ⅜ × 18 ⅛ × 17 inches (82 × 46 × 43 cm)© Setsuko. Photo: Thomas Lannes

Setsuko, Magnolia I, 2022

Enameled terra-cotta, 32 ⅜ × 18 ⅛ × 17 inches (82 × 46 × 43 cm)
© Setsuko. Photo: Thomas Lannes

Setsuko, Magnolia I, 2022 (detail) Enameled terra-cotta, 32 ⅜ × 18 ⅛ × 17 inches (82 × 46 × 43 cm)© Setsuko. Photo: Thomas Lannes

Setsuko, Magnolia I, 2022 (detail)

Enameled terra-cotta, 32 ⅜ × 18 ⅛ × 17 inches (82 × 46 × 43 cm)
© Setsuko. Photo: Thomas Lannes

Setsuko, Raisin II, 2022 Enameled terra-cotta, 28 ⅜ × 11 ¼ × 9 ½ inches (72 × 30 × 24 cm)© Setsuko. Photo: Thomas Lannes

Setsuko, Raisin II, 2022

Enameled terra-cotta, 28 ⅜ × 11 ¼ × 9 ½ inches (72 × 30 × 24 cm)
© Setsuko. Photo: Thomas Lannes

Setsuko, Raisin II, 2022 (detail) Enameled terra-cotta, 28 ⅜ × 11 ¼ × 9 ½ inches (72 × 30 × 24 cm)© Setsuko. Photo: Thomas Lannes

Setsuko, Raisin II, 2022 (detail)

Enameled terra-cotta, 28 ⅜ × 11 ¼ × 9 ½ inches (72 × 30 × 24 cm)
© Setsuko. Photo: Thomas Lannes

Setsuko, Chêne II, 2022 Enameled terra-cotta, 21 ⅛ × 17 × 14 ¼ inches (53.5 × 43 × 36 cm)© Setsuko. Photo: Thomas Lannes

Setsuko, Chêne II, 2022

Enameled terra-cotta, 21 ⅛ × 17 × 14 ¼ inches (53.5 × 43 × 36 cm)
© Setsuko. Photo: Thomas Lannes

Setsuko, Chêne II, 2022 (detail) Enameled terra-cotta, 21 ⅛ × 17 × 14 ¼ inches (53.5 × 43 × 36 cm)© Setsuko. Photo: Thomas Lannes

Setsuko, Chêne II, 2022 (detail)

Enameled terra-cotta, 21 ⅛ × 17 × 14 ¼ inches (53.5 × 43 × 36 cm)
© Setsuko. Photo: Thomas Lannes

Setsuko, Citronnier I, 2022 Enameled terra-cotta, 18 ⅞ × 12 ¼ × 11 ½ inches (48 × 31 × 29 cm)© Setsuko. Photo: Thomas Lannes

Setsuko, Citronnier I, 2022

Enameled terra-cotta, 18 ⅞ × 12 ¼ × 11 ½ inches (48 × 31 × 29 cm)
© Setsuko. Photo: Thomas Lannes

Setsuko, Renaissance de l’Olivier, 2019 Painted oak, 23 ⅝ × 14 ¼ × 12 ¼ inches (60 × 36 × 31 cm)© Setsuko. Photo: Thomas Lannes

Setsuko, Renaissance de l’Olivier, 2019

Painted oak, 23 ⅝ × 14 ¼ × 12 ¼ inches (60 × 36 × 31 cm)
© Setsuko. Photo: Thomas Lannes

Setsuko, Chandelier (Figuier coloré), 2021 Hand-painted bronze, 21 ¼ × 19 ⅜ × 10 ⅞ inches (54 × 49 × 27.5 cm)© Setsuko. Photo: Thomas Lannes

Setsuko, Chandelier (Figuier coloré), 2021

Hand-painted bronze, 21 ¼ × 19 ⅜ × 10 ⅞ inches (54 × 49 × 27.5 cm)
© Setsuko. Photo: Thomas Lannes

Setsuko, Chandelier (Figuier coloré), 2021 (detail) Hand-painted bronze, 21 ¼ × 19 ⅜ × 10 ⅞ inches (54 × 49 × 27.5 cm)© Setsuko. Photo: Thomas Lannes

Setsuko, Chandelier (Figuier coloré), 2021 (detail)

Hand-painted bronze, 21 ¼ × 19 ⅜ × 10 ⅞ inches (54 × 49 × 27.5 cm)
© Setsuko. Photo: Thomas Lannes

Setsuko, Chat assis sur fauteuil en osier vert, 1996–97 Gouache on canvas, 45 ½ × 31 ½ inches (115.5 × 80 cm)© Setsuko. Photo: Zarko Vijatovic

Setsuko, Chat assis sur fauteuil en osier vert, 1996–97

Gouache on canvas, 45 ½ × 31 ½ inches (115.5 × 80 cm)
© Setsuko. Photo: Zarko Vijatovic

Setsuko, Untitled, 1967 Watercolor and india ink on paper, 42 × 30 inches (106.5 × 76.2 cm)© Setsuko. Photo: Thomas Lannes

Setsuko, Untitled, 1967

Watercolor and india ink on paper, 42 × 30 inches (106.5 × 76.2 cm)
© Setsuko. Photo: Thomas Lannes

Setsuko, Untitled, 1967 Watercolor and india ink on paper, 42 × 30 inches (106.5 × 76.2 cm)© Setsuko. Photo: Thomas Lannes

Setsuko, Untitled, 1967

Watercolor and india ink on paper, 42 × 30 inches (106.5 × 76.2 cm)
© Setsuko. Photo: Thomas Lannes

Setsuko, Nature morte avec branches de kumquat, c. 1960 Watercolor and gouache on paper, 28 ⅝ × 40 ⅜ inches (72.5 × 102.5 cm)© Setsuko. Photo: Julien Gremaud

Setsuko, Nature morte avec branches de kumquat, c. 1960

Watercolor and gouache on paper, 28 ⅝ × 40 ⅜ inches (72.5 × 102.5 cm)
© Setsuko. Photo: Julien Gremaud

About

To touch and shape earth is a way to live with nature.
—Setsuko

Gagosian is pleased to announce Into the Trees II, an exhibition of new sculptures by Setsuko in ceramic, bronze, and wood, inspired by the richness of the natural world. Also on view are paintings from throughout her career and a selection of new works on paper.

The exhibition furthers the body of work presented in Into the Trees, Setsuko’s 2019 exhibition at Gagosian Paris. It also marks her return to Rome, where she lived for fifteen years at the Villa Medici with her husband, Balthus, during his tenure as director of the Académie de France à Rome, before the couple moved to the Grand Chalet of Rossinière, Switzerland, in 1977It was there, too, that she first met Benoît Astier de Villatte, who also resided at the Villa Medici as a child. Now Setsuko works in Astier de Villatte’s workshop in Paris, where she produces her own artwork and collaborates with the renowned studio on ceramic collections as well. Moreover, Into the Trees II is the first time that Setsuko’s work has been presented in Rome since 1979, the date of her first solo exhibition at Galleria Il Gabbiano.

Made of terra-cotta that she glazes in a milky white enamel, Setsuko’s ceramic sculptures of oak, magnolia, rose, lemon, quince, pomegranate, and fig trees, and grapevines emphasize the rooted solidity of their trunks and the gnarled texture of their bark. They also incorporate delicately modeled representations of foliage, flowers, acorns, and fruits. Their imposing forms and delicate surfaces convey strength developed over years of survival as well as emergent new growth, with vital structures that communicate the artist’s lifelong observation of nature. These works are reminiscent of Japanese ceramics dating back to Jōmon earthenware (c. 10,500–300 BCE), while also drawing inspiration from European aesthetic traditions—a continuation of Setsuko’s drive to unite imagery from East and West.

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Toccare e modellare la terra è un modo per vivere in sintonia con la natura.
—Setsuko

Gagosian è lieta di annunciare Into the Trees II, una mostra di nuove sculture di Setsuko in ceramica, bronzo e legno ispirate alla ricchezza del mondo naturale. In mostra anche lavori su tela dipinti nel corso della sua carriera e una selezione di nuove opere su carta.

La mostra, che approfondisce la serie di lavori presentati in Into the Trees da Gagosian a Parigi nel 2019, segna il ritorno dell’artista a Roma. Setsuko ha infatti vissuto per quindici anni a Villa Medici con il marito Balthus durante il mandato di quest ultimo come direttore dell’Accademia di Francia, prima di trasferirsi nel 1977 al Grand Chalet de Rossinière, in Svizzera. Proprio a Villa Medici Setsuko ha incontrato per la prima volta Benoît Astier de Villatte, residente anch’egli all’Accademia da bambino. Oggi Setsuko ha il suo studio nel laboratorio di Astier de Villatte a Parigi, e lì produce le proprie opere, collaborando con questa prestigiosa firma alle collezioni in ceramica. Con Into the Trees II il lavoro di Setsuko viene presentato per la prima volta a Roma dal 1979, data della sua personale alla Galleria Il Gabbiano.

Realizzate in terracotta e rivestite di uno smalto bianco lattiginoso, le sue sculture in ceramica rappresentano querce, magnolie, rose, viti, alberi di limone, mela cotogna, melograno e fico enfatizzando il solido radicamento dei tronchi e la consistenza nodosa della corteccia, incorporando fogliame, fiori, ghiande e frutti finemente modellati. Le forme imponenti e le superfici delicate trasmettono la forza sviluppata in anni di sopravvivenza e la nuova promettente crescita, attraverso forme vitali che denotano l’innata osservazione della natura da parte dell’artista. Queste opere, che ricordano le ceramiche giapponesi Jōmon (circa 10,500 – 300 a.C.), traggono anche ispirazione da tradizioni estetiche europee, continuando la sua ricerca sull’immaginario di Oriente e Occidente.

Accompagnano le ceramiche un ulivo in legno con foglie e fiori dipinti, e candelabri in bronzo ornati da vite, fichi e melograni. Queste opere proseguono il percorso di Regards de Setsuko, una mostra del 2021 al Musée national du château de Malmaison, in Francia, ideata in dialogo con gli oggetti d’arte decorativa conservati nella casa di Joséphine de Beauharnais e Napoleone Bonaparte.

Una serie di dipinti e opere su carta di Setsuko ripercorre la sua evoluzione artistica nell’arco di sei decenni, dagli anni Sessanta, quando l’artista risiedeva a Roma, fino alle opere realizzate durante l’isolamento della pandemia. Realizzati con tratti delicati e definiti con precisione all’interno del piano pittorico, queste eleganti nature morte e intimi interni domestici sono a volte ravvivati dalla presenza di piante e felini. Sintesi dell’estetica tradizionale giapponese e di quella modernista europea, i dipinti, come le opere scultoree dell’artista, rivelano la sua attenta osservazione contemplativa degli oggetti quotidiani e della vita che li circonda.

Ufficio ​stampa

PCM Studio
Federica Farci
federica@paolamanfredi.com
+39 342 05 15 787

Gagosian
Toby Kidd
tkidd@gagosian.com
+44 20 7495 1500

pressrome@gagosian.com
+39 06 4208 6498

Press

PCM Studio
Federica Farci
federica@paolamanfredi.com
+39 342 05 15 787

Gagosian
Toby Kidd
tkidd@gagosian.com
+44 20 7495 1500

pressrome@gagosian.com
+39 06 4208 6498

Jordan Wolfson’s House with Face (2017) on the cover of Gagosian Quarterly, Fall 2022

Now available
Gagosian Quarterly Fall 2022

The Fall 2022 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring Jordan Wolfson’s House with Face (2017) on its cover.

Y.Z. Kami, Night Painting I (for William Blake), 2017–18, oil on linen, 99 × 99 inches (251.5 × 251.5 cm) © Y.Z. Kami. Photo: Rob McKeever

In Conversation
Setsuko and Y.Z. Kami

The artists address their shared ardor for poetry, the surfaces of painting, and nature.

Setsuko standing in front of one of her decorative ceramic pieces in the Musée national des châteaux de Malmaison et Bois-Préau, Rueil-Malmaison, France

Regards de Setsuko

Join Setsuko on a tour of her exhibition at the Musée national des châteaux de Malmaison et Bois-Préau in Rueil-Malmaison, France, the former residence of Empress Joséphine. The video brings together the artist; Isabelle Tamisier-Vétois, chief curator, and Élisabeth Caude, director, Musée national des châteaux de Malmaison et Bois-Préau; and Benoît Astier de Villatte, cofounder of the atelier Astier de Villatte, Paris. They discuss the origins and development of the project, which is designed as a dialogue between Setsuko’s work and the decorative ceramics held in the museum’s collection.

Setsuko in front of the Grand Chalet de Rossinière in Switzerland where she lives and works.

The Grand Chalet: An interview with Setsuko

On the twentieth anniversary of Balthus’s death, Setsuko gives an intimate tour of the Grand Chalet and reflects on how the 1754 Swiss mountain home enriched their lives as artists.

Augurs of Spring

Augurs of Spring

As spring approaches in the Northern Hemisphere, Sydney Stutterheim reflects on the iconography and symbolism of the season in art both past and present.

Setsuko, Paris, 2019

Work in Progress
Setsuko

Setsuko Klossowska de Rola and Benoît Astier de Villatte, of the Astier de Villatte atelier in Paris, first met at the Académie de France in Rome’s Villa Medici, where Setsuko lived when her late husband, the painter Balthus, was the school’s director. Here they discuss Setsuko’s newest body of terra-cotta works, produced at Astier de Villatte, with Gagosian’s Elsa Favreau.