Friday, October 31, 2014

Venice: Peggy Guggenheim Collection - AZIMUT/H

“One can’t rise off the ground by running or jumping: one needs wings.”
Piero Manzoni

Venice: Peggy Guggenheim Collection - AZIMUT/H. Continuity and Newness Exhibition. The exhibition at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, AZIMUT/H. Continuity and Newness, until January 19, is curated by Luca Massimo Barbero and is a tribute to the post World War II neo-avantgarde in Italy, currently of widespread interest, and in particular to Azimut/h, the gallery and the review founded in 1959 in Milan by Enrico Castellani (b. 1930) and Piero Manzoni (1933 – 1963). The exhibition reveals Azimut/h’s central position in the panorama of Italian and international art of those years: like a creative earthquake it was one of the great catalysts of Italian and European visual and conceptual culture of the time and an intellectual bridge between a new, revolutionary generation and the most contemporary developments in art.
Above. On the terrace of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, overlooking the Grand Canal, curator Luca Massimo Barbero and artist Heinz Mack (who together with Enrico Castellani are the only two surviving artists of Azimut/h). They hide behind the Arzimut/h catalogue and the Zero catalogue which refers to the related Zero, Countdown to Tomorrow, 1950s-1960s exhibition on at the Guggenheim New York until January, where Mack’s works are also included. Not to be missed is the other related solo Mack exhibition, Heinz Mack: From Zero to Today, 1955-2014 on until December 13 at Sperone Westwater, New York. 

Curator Luca Massimo Barbero, director of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection Philip Rylands and artist Heinz Mack


AZIMUT/H. Heinz Mack – Light Relief – 1959 – aluminum sheet on board. The Light Relief typology tends to create with a reflective material such as aluminum, the perceptual effect of a continuum that exceeds the visual surface, transforming the work from a static object into a concrete spatial suggestion.


AZIMUT/H. Lucio Fontana - I Am a Saint (Io sono un santo), 1958 - cuts and ink on natural linen paper, beige.

Photograph Giovanni Galardini - copyright - Yves Klein, by SIAE 2014 – courtesy Peggy Guggenheim Collection
AZIMUT/H. Azimut/h emerged in Milan after World War II on the threshold of the economic boom known as the ‘Italian miracle’, of which Milan itself was one of the principal motors. Like a thunderbolt of intense activity, between September 1959 and July 1960, Azimut/h is evermore acknowledged in the collective consciousness of critics and historians as a critical episode, marked by radical experimentation, energized by its ties to some of the major figures of the art scene in those years and by lively international dialogue. Different in the spelling of their titles, Azimut (the gallery) and Azimuth (the review) together formulated ‘a new artistic conception’ (title of the second edition of the review, published in four languages, as well as of one of the more important group exhibitions of the gallery), that thrived on the dialectic of ‘continuity and newness’ (the title of an article by Castellani published in the second issue of Azimuth).
Above. Yves Klein - Untitled Blue Monochrome (Monochrome bleu sans titre) – 1958 - Dry pigment and synthetic resin on gauze mounted on panel.

Piero Manzoni - Line of Infinite Length (Linea di lunghezza infinita) – 1960 - Wood cylinder, paper label

 Photograph Giovanni Galardini – courtesy Peggy Guggenheim Collection

Piero Manzoni - Artist’s Shit - No. 53 (Merda d’artista n. 53, 58,63, 68) - May 1961 -Tin can, printed paper

AZIMUT/H. Underlying the exhibition, which is philological in conception, is the idea that each work on display derives from the review, from the gallery, or from the orbit of Azimut/h’s contacts. In this way the visitor is plunged into a space where he or she is intellectually, almost physically in contact with the protagonists of this extreme avant-garde of the late 50s early 60s, consecrated in important international exhibitions, with special attention given to American Neo-Dada which Azimuth promoted in advance of its general reception by critics.
Above. On the right - Enrico Castellani – Untitled -1959 - Acrylic on canvas.

AZIMUT/H. Dadamaino – Volume – 1958 - Tempera on pierced canvas

AZIMUT/H. Enrico Castellani - Untitled (Silver Surface) – 1959 - Acrylic on canvas
Piero Manzoni
- Achrome - 1962 ca. - Package in wrapping paper
  Photograph Giovanni Galardini – courtesy Peggy Guggenheim Collection

AZIMUT/H. Gunther Uecker – Tactile Rotating Structure – 1961 – Wood, burlap, aluminium, iron nails and silver paint 

AZIMUT/H. Enrico Castellani - Angular Diptych – 1966 - Acrylic on canvas

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