Giorgio Griffa at Casey Kaplan

‘Fundamentally, music, poetry, and painting have all worked with the first element of human knowledge, which is rhythm’. Giorgio Griffa once said to Apollo Magazine. Mathematical rhythm definitely punctuates Griffa’s geometric and undulating shapes on fabric. The nature of the canvas, whether linen, cotton, hemp or jute, also play an important part in the final works which often reach exhilarating levels of poetry and harmony. 

At 83, the Italian artist, often associated with Arte Povera, continues a practice which records “the memory of material,” allowing brush, colours and texture to dictate the resulting work. Driven by concepts of time, and memory, Griffa reflects on anonymity and gesture through his remarkable work. 

From the artist’s words: “In the series “Three Lines with Arabesque,” each work contained three lines and an arabesque, as well as a progressive number distinguishing each from the other, where the first was number one, the second, number two, and so on. In the series “Numbering,” the numbers indicated each time the order in which the signs were placed on the canvas. In both those series, an order was given, where each number marks a before and an after in time and in space. I’d say that these works mark the passage from indeterminate thought to our configuration of space-time.”

Paintings from the 1990s are currently on view in an online exhibition presented by American gallery Casey Kaplan until 21 August 2020. Don’t miss it.