Wednesday, November 03, 2021

Milan - Fondazione Prada - Domenico Gnoli

  “I always employ simple, given elements, I don’t want either to add or take anything away. I have never even wanted to deform; I isolate and represent.”
Domenico Gnoli

 Fondazione Prada - Milan
Domenico Gnoli
At the Fondazione Prada in Milan, the retrospective exhibition, Domenico Gnoli, until February 27 presents over 100 works, created by  the artist (Rome 1933 – New York 1970) from 1949 to 1969 - as well as an equal number of his drawings. A chronological and documentary section, including historical materials, photographs and other supports, contributes to trace Gnoli’s life and artistic career more than fifty years after his death. The research behind the project conceived by Germano Celant was developed in collaboration with the artist’s archives in Rome and Mallorca, which preserve Gnoli’s personal and professional heritage.
 Waist Line - Shoulder Line - Red the Knot - Trouser Pocket - 1969
photograph by Yannick Vu - courtesy Fondazione Prada

Grandson of poet Domenico Gnoli and son of art critic and Art Historian Umberto Gnoli, Domenico initially followed two directions: his work as a theater set designer, costume designer and illustrator, and his pictorial work. In 1955 his sets for William Shakespeare’s As You Like It at the Old Vic in London had a great success and made him known also in the United States. From 1959, he lived between Rome, New York, where he exhibited in several galleries and worked as an illustrator for magazines and publications, Paris and London before settling in 1963 in Deia on the island of Mallorca
Domenico Gnoli - Mallorca  - 1969 
“I have always worked [as a painter] as I do now, but it did not attract attention as it was abstraction’s moment. Only now, thanks to Pop Art, has my painting become comprehensible. [...] I always employ simple, given elements, I don’t want either to add or take anything away. I have never even wanted to deform; I isolate and represent. My themes come from the world around me, familiar situations, everyday life; because I never actively mediate against the object, I experience the magic of its presence.” 
Domenico Gnoli

In 1964, the year that Robert Rauschenberg achieved international recognition by winning the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale, Gnoli took a linguistic leap that allowed his analytical painting to emerge alongside his accomplishments as a set designer and illustrator.  From that moment, his trajectory intersected the currents of minimalism, hyperrealism and Pop Art, even if, as the French writer Andre Pieyre de Mandiargues observed, “Gnoli’s manner of painting [...] illuminates as much as it describes the mundane objects by which man is surrounded. In the true sense of the word, it illustrates them, whereas the manner of pop artists popularizes them.” Gnoli also felt part of a “not eloquent” tradition of Italian painting developed by Masaccio and Piero della Francesca, and passed down via Piranesi, de Chirico, Carrà, Severini and Campigli. His work was also influenced by great contemporary artists like Bacon, Balthus, Dali, Magritte, Shahn and Sutherland

Yannick Vu

Exhibition view - photograph by Roberto Marossi - courtesy Fondazione Prada
 “To achieve perfect ineloquence, the impassiveness of things and the suspended magic of an impersonal reality, he had to turn his back on the tradition he loved so much and overturn its hierarchy of values. To deny ‘decoration’ by means of a new exploration of reality through detail.” 
Salvatore Settis 
Gnoli’s new line of research detached from the context and focused on details of human bodies or objects, accentuating their inherent sensuality and energy. His precise painting of physical texture, one that brought out the surfaces, colors and substance of organic and inanimate elements, is also characterized by scrupulous photographic framing. It is a factual approach that “puts all things, natural and artificial, on the same plane, expressing an egalitarian desire, the revenge of insignificant and disqualified elements in the ranking of values: the low, the secondary, the auxiliary, the neglectable,” as Germano Celant observes. The unexpected appearance on the canvas of apparently incongruous elements, such as busts, locks of hair, shoes, armchairs, drawers, ties and buttons, gives the viewer a slight mental jolt. It is an invitation to fill out these mysterious images, a combination of reality and imagination, placed at the center of “a sensual and carnal theater where the continuing exchange between things and bodies is enacted, the protagonists of a total complicity.” 
 Stripped Shirt Lapel - 1969 - Shirt Collar 14 1/2 - 1969 - 
Red Dress Collar - 1969 - Robe Vert - 1967 - Fermeture eclair - Zipper - 1967  Finta Pellicia - 1965 
Mimi Gnoli

 Stripped Shirt Lapel - Shirt Collar 14 1/2 - 1969
 Fabrizio Plessi

Green Bed Cover - 1969 - White Bed - 1968 - Letto Verde - 1965 
Il Grande Letto Azzurro - 1965 - Iron Bed - 1959
Patrizio Bertelli, Yannick Vu, Robert Carsen and Ben Jakober

Nina Yashar
 Domenico Gnoli -  Purple Bust - 1969

 Curly Red Hair - 1969 - Curl - 1969
Carlo Barbatti
 Domenico Gnoli - Riga in Mezzo n. 1 - 1965 - Head of Hair - 1966
Portrait of Louis T. - 1967 

 Marco Arosio
Domenico Gnoli - Center Part - 1969 - Red Hair on Blue Dress - 1969
Stephan Janson and Madison Cox
Domenico Gnoli Waist Line - 1969 - Shoulder Line - 1969

Chair - 1969 - Back View - 1968 - Open Drawer - 1968 
Branche de Cactus - 1967 - Vasca da Bagno, Bagnarola - 1966
Beer Can and Crate - 1960 - Linen Baskets - 1959
Pasquale Leccese
Domenico Gnoli - Branche de Cactus - 1967
Vasca da Bagno, Bagnarola - 1966
photograph and courtesy Nicholas Pearson
Daisy Garnett
Domenico Gnoli - Homme Seul - 1963
Mario Codognato
Domenico Gnoli - The Empty House - 1966 - L'Ascenseur - 1967
Brick Wall - 1968 - Corner - 1968
Anna Coliva
Domenico Gnoli - Inside Lady's Shoe - 1969 - Lady's Shoe - 1968
Scarpa di Fronte - 1967 - Sous la Chaussure - 1967 
Newspaper and Shoes - 1959 
The Mallorcan Delegation
 Ben Jakober, Teresa Castella, Juan Baudes, Yannick Vu, Antonio Obrador, 
Pablo Carrington and Alfonso Fierro March
Teresa Pomodoro
Domenico Gnoli - Tie - 1968 - Bow Tie - 1969
Ben Jakober and Yannick Vu

 "I didn't make the error of going to study the cubist 'apples' as Severini suggested, which say nothing to me, nor any other 'purisms' proposed to people who take up painting.  I have done nothing but transfer my own world as a decorator into the world of a painter, stripping it of any frills, of the ancient style, and all elegance, in short, laying bare what for me, between towers and solitary stairways, is the element of poetry, and sometimes of drama.  I have simplified, abolished 'decoration', I have entrusted the role of trompe-l'oeil to the painted matter."
Domenico Gnoli 
Paris 1954 - letter to his mother 
 Apple - 1968

Owl in Wardrobe
- 1967
Ostrich in Car - 1967 - The Bat-Cat in the Room - 1967
Woman Sole in Bath Tub - 1967 - Snail on Sofa - 1967 - 
Winged Rhino at 15th Floor - 1967 

 La Sirene - 1963
A Bullring Set Design
The Lily of Toledo Ballet - The Spanish Ballet - 1957-58
Luca Cipelletti and Lorcan O'Neill

La Chemise sur la Table n.3 - 1967
Sketch for La Chemise sur la Table - 1967
Costume Design - As You Like It - 1955
Poster - As You Like It - 1955
Fondazione Prada - Domenico Gnoli
Exhibition View 
Fondazione Prada - Cocktails in the Courtyard
Carla Alvera and Robert Carson 
Domenico Gnoli Posts














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