To celebrate the last day of the Giulio Paolini. “Le Chef-d’œuvre inconnu” exhibition, Sunday May 16, 2021 at 12 pm the Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea organizes the presentation of the exhibition catalog in the presence of the artist, the Director Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev and the curator of the exhibition Marcella Beccaria.
The two-volume publication was born on the occasion of the exhibition Giulio Paolini. “Le Chef-d’œuvre inconnu”, to celebrate the artist’s eightieth birthday.
Volume I Giulio Paolini. “Le Chef-d’œuvre inconnu” is dedicated to the exhibition, which is discussed through new essays by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev and by Marcella Beccaria. Richly illustrated with documentary images, the catalog also traces the artist’s exhibition history at Castello di Rivoli.
Volume II Giulio Paolini. Recital. Writings in verse 1987–2020 focuses on the artist’s poetry, introduced by a new text by Andrea Cortellessa.
Giulio Paolini designed the covers of the two volumes and created the new work Senza titolo (Untitled), 2020 for the inside of the dust jacket.
On the occasion of his solo show at Castello di Rivoli, Giulio Paolini generously donated to the Museum the large installation “Le Chef-d’œuvre inconnu”, 2020 which welcomes visitors in Gallery 18.
The installation, which becomes part of the Museum’s Permanent Collection, is based on Disegno geometrico (Geometrical Drawing), 1960, one of the primary works by the artist. Described by Paolini as his “first (and last painting),” Disegno geometrico refers to the squaring of a canvas –the first gesture an artist usually performs. Disegno geometrico is a rectangular canvas painted white, on which Paolini has “chosen to copy, according to the right proportions, the preliminary sketch for any drawing, namely the geometrical squaring of the surface.”
In the gallery at the second floor of the Savoy Residence, the long lines traced on the floor match the outline of the diagonals of Disegno geometrico, whereas each of the eight squaring points is marked by the presence of an easel with a transparent display case. Inside each case are paper fragments of sketches and cuttings from Paolini’s studio in Turin. Hanging from the ceiling at the center of the room, corresponding to a ninth empty easel, is another display case. Its presence raises the number of display cases present in “Le Chef-d’oeuvre inconnu” to nine.
“Visiting the large installation “Le Chef-d’œuvre inconnu” – writes Marcella Beccaria – is like walking among Giulio Paolini’s ideas and seeing them take shape before our eyes. The presence of this work in the collection allows Castello di Rivoli to document the fundamental path of the artist, from the beginnings in the context of Arte Povera to the present.”
Giulio Paolini was born on 5 November 1940 in Genoa and lives in Turin.
His poetics focus on themes that examine the conception, manifestation and vision of the artwork. After his inquiries on the elements that make up a painting, his attention has turned to the act of exhibiting works, to the consideration of the work as a catalogue of its own possibilities, as well as to the figure of the author and his lack of contact with the work, which either pre-exists or transcends him.
Since his first participation in a group exhibition (1961) and his first solo show (1964), he has had countless exhibitions in galleries and museums the world over. His major retrospectives include: Palazzo della Pilotta in Parma (1976), Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam (1980), Nouveau Musée in Villeurbanne (1984), Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart (1986), Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna in Rome (1988), Neue Galerie am Landesmuseum Joanneum in Graz (1998), GAM Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in Turin (1999), Fondazione Prada in Milan (2003), Kunstmuseum in Winterthur (2005), MACRO Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Roma in Rome (2013), and Whitechapel Gallery in London (2014). Among the most recent solo shows should be mentioned those at the Center for Italian Modern Art in New York (dialogue with Giorgio de Chirico’s works, 2016) and at Fondazione Carriero in Milan (2018).
He has participated in many Arte povera exhibitions and has been invited on several occasions to Documenta in Kassel (1972, 1977, 1982, 1992) and the Venice Biennale (1970, 1976, 1978, 1980, 1984, 1986, 1993, 1995, 1997, 2013).
Since 1969 he has also designed sets and costumes for the theatre, notably the projects he devised with Carlo Quartucci in the 1980s and the sets for two Wagner operas directed by Federico Tiezzi (2005, 2007).
Having trained as a graphic designer, he has always nurtured special interest in the field of publishing and writing. From the very outset his artistic exploration has been accompanied by his thoughts, collected in books he has personally edited: from Idem, published in 1975 by Einaudi with an introduction by Italo Calvino, to his most recent publications, Quattro passi. Nel museo senza muse (Turin: Einaudi, 2006), Dall’Atlante al Vuoto in ordine alfabetico (Milan: Electa, 2010) and L’autore che credeva di esistere (Milan: Johan & Levi, 2012). Many books have been published devoted to Paolini’s oeuvre: from the first monograph written by Germano Celant (New York: Sonnabend Press, 1972) to the volume by Francesco Poli (Turin: Lindau, 1990) and, lastly, the Catalogue Raisonné of his works dated 1960-1999, edited by Maddalena Disch (Milan: Skira, 2008).
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