Opening reception: Monday, 26 March, from 6 to 8pm
Major show at Gagosian brings together Giacometti, Fontana, Serra and Twombly.
An important exhibition which brings together for the first time works by Alberto Giacometti with those by Lucio Fontana, Richard Serra and Cy Twombly will go on show at Gagosian Gallery, Britannia Street.
Working directly with the Alberto and Annette Giacometti Foundation, Paris, a number of outstanding works by Giacometti have been selected for the exhibition including Femme de Venise III and three Têtes d'homme (Lotar I, II, and III) which depict the former avant-garde photographer Eli Lotar. These works have been chosen for their interaction with space and light; the bronze retains the mutating fragility of the human models as captured in clay or plaster, while displaying intense strength and materiality.
These will be shown with a series of sculptures by Lucio Fontana from the late 1950s, entitled Natura. These combine natural with human forms so that the simplicity of the materials accumulates layers of meaning. A small group of ethereal sculptures, made in 1957–58, which resemble butterflies or flowers on a thin, elongated stem will also be shown. These works retain something of Giacometti's emaciated human figures, although the path that brought Fontana to produce them is an investigation of the material themselves.
Richard Serra has made works in steel since the 1960s, which are about movement and equilibrium, stasis and balance. The emphasis of the pieces is on the process of creation, raw physicality combined with a self-conscious awareness of material and an engagement with the space in which it is placed. The works shown include the early lead piece, Sign Board, 1969, and a number of 'corner props', in which massive plates of steel are propped through the force of gravity.
Cy Twombly's sculptures, cast in bronze from rough elements of wood and plaster, are fundamentally abstract, often alluding to mythological subjects or to artefacts of the ancient past: temples, altars, or reliquaries. The fragility of the forms belies their monumental or memorial character.
All the works in the exhibition are characterised by a powerful material presence that activates space. The inert matter—whether plaster or bronze, steel or found materials—comes alive in the hands of these artists, whose work retains a physical intimacy, a human scale, and an intense authority. These sculptures are to do with "living, looking and making" (David Sylvester on the work of Cy Twombly, 1997).
A fully illustrated catalogue will accompany the exhibition.
For further information please contact Georgina Cohen +44(0)207 841 9960 or [email protected]
Note to Editors:
Alberto and Annette Giacometti Foundation
The Alberto and Annette Giacometti Foundation is a private institution created by government decree in December 2003. It is the residuary legatee of the artist's widow, Annette Giacometti, who died in 1993. There are nine board members including two representatives of the French Government and one member from its sister foundation in Zurich, Alberto Giacometti-Stiftung.
The Foundation owns a permanent collection of paintings, sculpture, drawings, prints and decorative arts. A part of its inventory is designated since its creation to be sold to benefit the Foundation's activities.
Last year the Foundation organised exhibitions in museums in Japan and Sweden, and lent pieces to nine museum exhibitions in France, the UK, Greece, Ireland, Spain and the US. It is planning two major exhibitions from its collections in 2007 at the Centre Pompidou and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris.
The Foundation oversees an extensive archive providing information about Giacometti's work. This includes manuscripts, photographs and a library, which includes part of the artist's personal library. At the end of 2007, a research centre will be open to the public by appointment.
The Foundation regularly updates the catalogue raisonné of works by Alberto Giacometti and work is progressing on putting the full catalogue online for the benefit of Giacometti scholarship worldwide.