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LÚvy Gorvy mourns the loss of seminal postwar Italian artist Enrico Castellani
Enrico Castellani in his studio, Celleno, c. 1977-78. Photography by Franco Pasti. Courtesy Fondazione Enrico Castellani and LÚvy Gorvy.

NEW YORK, NY.- Dominique LÚvy, Brett Gorvy, Emilio Steinberger, and the staff of LÚvy Gorvy deeply mourn the loss of Enrico Castellani. A seminal postwar Italian artist, he passed away on December 1 at the age of 87. We extend our heartfelt condolences to Lorenzo Castellani and the Castellani family.

Castellani was a catalytic figure in the European postwar avant-garde, co-founding the experimental journal, Azimuth, and the Galleria Azimut with Piero Manzoni. Together, they organized innovative exhibitions and published essays that provided alternatives to the dogmatic ideologies of Tachisme and Art Informel, which dominated the European art scene at the time. Through his art and writings, Castellani advanced an approach to painting that refuted the traditional conception of the canvas as a transparent window, opening his work onto a new space of topographical abstraction that engaged notions of space, time, infinity, and flux.

Born in Castelmassa, Italy, in 1930, Castellani studied art and architecture at Belgium’s AcadÚmie Royale des Beaux-Arts and ╔cole Nationale SupÚrieure d’Architecture et des Arts DÚcoratifs de la Cambre in the early 1950s. After moving to Milan in 1956, he began to make art that challenged the conventional separation of painting, sculpture, and architecture, searching instead for a paradigm that combined aspects of all three. In 1959, he completed the first of his celebrated Superficie, a series defined by the rhythmic protrusions and recessions of a monochrome surface. Following a string of successful exhibitions throughout the 1960s, he settled in the small hamlet of Celleno, Italy, in 1973, where he would live and work for the rest of his life. While the purview of his practice expanded to include a variety of materials and formal concerns, his pursuit of a poetic coalescence of painting, sculpture, and architecture never wavered.

Castellani’s works are included in numerous major public collections, including the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Fondazione Prada, Milan; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Roma (MACRO), Rome; the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice; and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. He represented Italy at the Venice Biennales of 1964, 1966, and 1984. In 2010, he became the first Italian artist to receive the Praemium Imperiale for Painting, an honor awarded by the Emperor of Japan. Castellani’s work was centrally featured in ZERO: Countdown to Tomorrow, 1950s-60s, a 2014-15 exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, that focused on Group Zero, an international network of artists who pioneered new approaches to light, movement, and space in the aftermath of World War II.

We have had the extraordinary privilege of working with Enrico Castellani since 2007. The gallery has curated several exhibitions of his work in New York and London, including Local History: Castellani, Judd, Stella in 2014-15. We have also published books, including Enrico Castellani, which features a 2009 interview between the artist and Hans Ulrich Obrist, offering meaningful insights into the themes and concepts that informed his oeuvre. While mourning his passing, LÚvy Gorvy is committed to championing Castellani’s legacy, ensuring that his art and his vital spirit live on.

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