25 November 2005 - 14 February 2006
Alex Katz returns to Italy with an exhibition of recent works, including ten large paintings, five small sketches, and drawings.
In his latest paintings Alex Katz liberates veritable bolts of energy. The works stand out for their bold, intense, sensual use of color. Backgrounds in light, luminous green or shocking pink, as in the green background of "Magnolia Tree", in cinemascope format (350 x 120 cm), in which white and pink brushstrokes seem to dance on the luminous field. Light green is also used as a setting for the portrait of Kennitta, proudly nude, wearing large round earrings; and as the background for the portrait of Leigh, a young blonde woman in a raincoat.
Alex Katz creates an essential, intense figuration, which thanks to his attention to mass media, cartoons and photography, is today particularly close to the sensitivity of much younger artists. Having appeared on the American artistic scene at the end of the ?50s , the years of Abstract Expressionism, and being a contemporary of Pop Art and the subsequent artistic movements, Katz surprisingly managed to reconcile the abstract movement with realism in US postwar art, in a style that he himself defines as "totally American". The images are essential, luminous, direct and sharp, showing very intense colour planes, rendered in a particular bidimensional perspective, free of any sentimental connotation and yet able to communicate a profound psychological involvement.
Katz loves portraits. These are never ironic or judgmental, but, far from being neutral, they rather state his devotion and attention to his world of friends, artists, poets, musicians, dancers. In particular he often portrays his son, Vincent and his wife Ada, his muse, whom he turned into an icon of our times.
Alex Katz was born in New York in 1927 and studied painting at the Cooper Union. After his first one man show at the Roko Gallery in New York in 1954, he began to work on drawings and collages turning to portraits in 1957 and to large size paintings in 1962 after moving to his new studio in Soho. His first retrospective exhibition was held at the Utah Museum of Fine Art. After that he showed regularly in American museums and galleries. In 1986 the Whitney Museum of American Art showed a large-scale retrospective and in 1997 the PS1 Museum in New York organized the exhibition "Alex Katz Under the Stars: American Landscapes 1951-1995".
Although considered one of the foremost US painters, Katz had few exhibitions in Europe until 1995. Europe discovered him in the last years. In 1995 the Baden Baden Museum in Germany had presented an exhibition entitled "Alex Katz. American Landscapes" and in 1996 the IVAM Museum in Valencia, Spain, showed a retrospective of his works. One-person exhibitions were then in 1998 at the Saatchi Gallery in London and in 1999 at the Museum of Modern Art of Frankfurt. In 2002 the Kunsthalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland in Bonn hold a large retrospective, while the Kunsthalle in Hamburg presented his Cut-Outs. In 1999 the Galleria Civica in Trento organised his first personal exhibition in an Italian public structure, and in Summer 2003 the Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa in Venice showed a selection of his portraits from 1959 to the present.
In the Project Room we present works by the young painter Christine Streuli, born in Berne in 1975. Ranging from the abstract to the figurative, Christine Streuli's painting is always experimental. She utilizes different techniques in a composite, analytical way, from printing to free flowing lacquer, from coverings to ornamental insertions.
The paintings of Christine Streuli create the conditions for their viewing. Her compositions make use of symmetry, reflection and repetition. She employs crafts techniques like printing, pressing, tracing, but without using existing silhouettes or forms: she creates them herself.
With this indirect painting technique in which the brush plays only a marginal role, she achieves new pictorial events. She is interested in imperfections, in random results, the dripping or marks caused by an impulsive use of methods of printing and reproduction.
The fact that Streuli does not directly paint the images in her works, but utilizes these indirect transfer techniques, generates a sharper focus on pictorial events. The individual painting openly reveals its modes of creation. Thus the artist accentuates the autonomy of the painting, while enabling us to partake in the energy of the creative act, displaying the very act of painting.
The forms are not free of cultural connotations; in fact, they seek them out, looking for contaminations. They often make reference to European or Middle Eastern ornament; the symmetries remind us of the human body, or Rorschach ink blots, at times seeming to be based on specific objects. The act of painting, while remaining fundamentally abstract, is charged with evocative impulses of imagery.
Christine Streuli presently lives and works in Zurich. She studied in Zurich and Berlin, and lived for several months in Cairo and New York.
ALEX KATZ25 Novembre 2005 - 14 Febbraio 2006
Torna in Italia Alex Katz, con una mostra di opere recenti, tra cui dieci dipinti di grandi dimensioni, cinque piccoli quadri in olio su tavola e alcuni disegni.
Nella Project Room presentiamo i dipinti della giovane pittrice Christine Streuli, nata a Berna nel 1975. Muovendosi tra astrazione e figurazione, la pittura di Christine Streuli è sempre sperimentale. Utilizza diverse tecniche pittoriche in maniera composita ed analitica, dagli stampi al fluire libero delle lacche, fino all'utilizzo di coperture ed elementi ornamentali.