Pearl Lam Galleries presents the first solo exhibition of works by Pino Pinelli in Asia. Titled Pittura, Italian for the very act of “making painting” in terms of craftsmanship, the exhibition presents 12 of the artist’s works, which are unified by a fundamental colour, red, and a neutral colour, grey.
The works on show span nearly forty years of the artist’s career and include both important and historical works from the 1970s and 1980s, all of which will be presented in Asia for the first time. Pino Pinelli (b. 1938, Catania, Sicily, Italy) studied art in Catania and moved to Milan in 1963, where he is currently based. He started teaching art in various art academies in Milan while working as an artist. From the moment he moved to Milan, Pinelli was deeply influenced by Fontana, Manzoni, Castellani, and other German artists belonging to the Zero Group. Zero was a group of artists founded by Heinz Mack and Otto Piene that reacted to Abstract Expressionism by arguing that art should be void of colour, emotion, and individual expression.
Originally a magazine founded in 1957 that later evolved into an art movement, Zero represented “a zone of silence and of pure possibilities for a new beginning,” as expressed by Otto Piene. Following their example, Pinelli engaged in a period of reflection and research at the beginning of the 1970s. During the period of reflection, he focused on the essential link between tradition and innovation, and he paid particular attention to the painted surface and the vibrations of paintings. This period of reflection resulted in his “Topologies” and “Monochromes” series. The surfaces of the paintings are driven by a subtle uneasiness, as if showing the breath and tension of the works. These works have made Pinelli one of the leading artists of Analytical Painting, an artistic trend defined by the art critic Filiberto Menna.
Starting from 1976, Pinelli began to drastically decrease the size of his paintings. These works are juxtaposed against each other and scattered into the space as if an explosion had invested his large canvases and generated a dissemination of their fragments. The artist abandoned the canvas and frame to focus on the concept of painting itself, challenging the idea of a painting limited by edges and opening up the perspective of a constantly moving painting inside the phenomenal changing world. Pinelli developed a new conception of painting that explores an absorbing and never-ending space. He produces works that paradoxically squeeze to expand, and hide to reveal.
Pinelli’s works are unsettling particles that wander through space in wide or small combinations, showing tactile physicality and the visual beauty of colours. Exhibition highlights include Pittura R (1974), which represents Pinelli’s reflection on the essence of painting in the early 1970s that eventually led to the Analytical Painting trend, as well as Pittura 86 (1986), which is representative of the artist’s reduce-sized works after 1976. The exhibition also features more recent works by Pinelli, including Pittura R (2005, 2007, 2008, 2009). These fundamental red, simple geometrical works showcase Pinelli’s consistent engagement in deep reflections about the meaning of painting itself. Such reflections and mental thoughts of the artist allow us to define Pittura as a “conceptual” exhibition.
“My aim is to spread my work which represents the main feature of my research: from the Monochromes dating from the 1970s, to the Disseminations from 1976 characterised by elements scattered in the space as if they are rewriting a new ‘syntax of making painting’.” — Pino Pinelli