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Alberto Burri // Guggenheim, New York

Installation View: Inaugural Selection, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, October 21, 1959– June 19, 1960 Third from left: Alberto Burri's Legno e bianco 1(Wood and White 1, 1956) Photo: © Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York

Installation View: Inaugural Selection, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, October 21, 1959– June 19, 1960
Third from left: Alberto Burri’s Legno e bianco 1(Wood and White 1, 1956)
Photo: © Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York

Premiered on October 9, 2015 and lasting til January 6, 2016, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum hosts a retrospective — the first in the United States in more than thirty-five years and the most comprehensive in this country — devoted to the work of Italian artist Alberto Burri (1915–1995). Exploring the beauty and complexity of Burri’s process-based works, the exhibition positions the artist as a central protagonist of post–World War II art and revises traditional narratives of the cultural exchanges between the United States and Europe in the 1950s and ’60s. Burri broke with the gestural, painted surfaces of both American Abstract Expressionism and European Art Informel by manipulating unorthodox pigments and humble, prefabricated materials. A key figure in the transition from collage to assemblage, Burri barely used paint or brush, and instead worked his surfaces with stitching and combustion, among other signal processes. With his torn and mended burlap sacks, “hunchback” canvases, and melted industrial plastics, Burri often made allusions to skin and wounds, but in a purely abstract idiom.

Bringing together more than one hundred works, including many that have never before been seen outside of Italy, the exhibition demonstrates how Burri blurred the line between painting and sculptural relief and created a new kind of picture-object that directly influenced Neo-Dada, Process art, and Arte Povera. 


// Inaugurata il 9 ottobre e in programma fino al 6 gennaio 2016, il Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum ospita un’importante retrospettiva dell’artista italiano Alberto Burri (1915– 1995), la prima in oltre trentacinque anni e la più completa mai allestita negli Stati Uniti. Esplorando la bellezza e la complessità del processo creativo che sta alla base delle opere di Burri, l’esposizione elegge l’artista a protagonista della scena artistica del secondo dopoguerra, rivedendo la tradizionale letteratura sugli scambi culturali tra Stati Uniti e Europa negli anni ’50 e ‘60. Burri prese le distanze dalle superfici pittoriche e dallo stile gestuale propri sia dell’Espressionismo astratto americano sia dell’Arte informale europea, rimaneggiando pigmenti singolari, materiali umili ed elementi prefabbricati. Anello di transizione tra collage e assemblaggio, Burri raramente ricorreva all’uso della pittura e del pennello, prediligendo la lavorazione della superficie per mezzo di cuciture, combustioni e lacerazioni, per citare alcune delle sue tecniche. Ricorrendo a sacchi di juta strappati e rammendati, tele con gobbe in rilievo e plastiche industriali fuse, le opere di Burri alludono spesso a corpi umani, membrane e ferite, ma lo fanno attraverso un linguaggio totalmente astratto.

Raggruppando oltre 100 opere, molte delle quali mai esposte al di fuori dei confini italiani, la mostra sottolinea come Burri abbia attenuato la linea di demarcazione tra dipinto e rilievo plastico, creando una nuova poetica di dipinto-oggetto che influenzò direttamente il Neodadaismo, l’Arte Processuale e l’Arte Povera.

Installation view: Alberto Burri: The Trauma of Painting, October 9, 2015-January 6, 2016, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Photo: David Heald (c) Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.

Installation view: Alberto Burri: The Trauma of Painting, October 9, 2015-January 6, 2016, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Photo: David Heald (c) Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.

 Installation view: Alberto Burri: The Trauma of Painting, October 9, 2015-January 6, 2016, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Photo: David Heald (c) Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.


Installation view: Alberto Burri: The Trauma of Painting, October 9, 2015-January 6, 2016, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Photo: David Heald (c) Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.

 Installation view: Alberto Burri: The Trauma of Painting, October 9, 2015-January 6, 2016, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Photo: David Heald (c) Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.


Installation view: Alberto Burri: The Trauma of Painting, October 9, 2015-January 6, 2016, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Photo: David Heald (c) Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.

 Installation view: Alberto Burri: The Trauma of Painting, October 9, 2015-January 6, 2016, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Photo: David Heald (c) Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.


Installation view: Alberto Burri: The Trauma of Painting, October 9, 2015-January 6, 2016, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Photo: David Heald (c) Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.

Installation view: Alberto Burri: The Trauma of Painting, October 9, 2015-January 6, 2016, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Photo: David Heald (c) Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.

Installation view: Alberto Burri: The Trauma of Painting, October 9, 2015-January 6, 2016, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Photo: David Heald (c) Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.

 Installation view: Alberto Burri: The Trauma of Painting, October 9, 2015-January 6, 2016, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Photo: David Heald (c) Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.


Installation view: Alberto Burri: The Trauma of Painting, October 9, 2015-January 6, 2016, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Photo: David Heald (c) Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.

Installation view: Alberto Burri: The Trauma of Painting, October 9, 2015-January 6, 2016, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Photo: David Heald (c) Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.

Installation view: Alberto Burri: The Trauma of Painting, October 9, 2015-January 6, 2016, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Photo: David Heald (c) Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.

Alberto Burri // The Trauma of Painting

October 9 – January 6, 2016
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
1071 Fifth Avenue (at 89th Street)
New York, 10128
T: 212 423 3500
visitorinfo@guggenheim.org.
Fri // Wed 10 am – 5.45 pm
Sat 10 am – 7.45 pm

For further infos please refer to the gallery website.


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