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First major UK exhibition of the Italian artist Rodolfo Aricò opens at Luxembourg & Dayan
Rodolfo Aricò (1930-2002), Assonometria, 1968. Oil on canvas, 35⅜ x 77⅛ x 2⅜ in. (90 x 196 x 6 cm.). Courtesy of Luxembourg & Dayan.

LONDON.- Luxembourg & Dayan presents the first major UK exhibition of the Italian artist Rodolfo Aricò (1930–2002). Focusing on works from the 1960s and 1970s, the exhibition derives its title – Rodolfo Aricò: Line of Demarcation – from the writings of the Italian critic Giulio Carlo Argan, aiming to emphasise the importance of Rodolfo Aricò both in the historical context of Post-War Italian art, as well as a crucial link in the dialogue between American and European artistic tendencies during these decades.

Rodolfo Aricò is known primarily for his ‘object-paintings’, which he began to develop during the 1960s and which evolved throughout his entire career. Trained in Architecture, his works manifest a philosophical interest in the notions of time and space, exploring geometry, perspective, and phenomenology, hereby undermining the rigid distinction between the disciplines of painting and sculpture. Aricò is known to have been a fervent reader of philosophy and a talented writer in his own right. He was particularly influenced by the writings of Edmund Husserl on Phenomenology and Jean-Paul Sartre’s Existentialist thought. Throughout his entire career Aricò was engaged in a continuous dialogue with the history of perspective, its relation to ideology, and its potential role in art of his own time. In a similar way to his American contemporaries, Aricò was interested by the idea of shifting the main focus of attention in his work from the object of display to the relationship between the object and the perceiving subject. In order to do so, he drew on his professional formation and employed different architectural methodologies in his paintings that challenge the pictorial space. Aricò’s object-paintings invite the viewer to engage in an immersive experience, one that no longer shows an object in perspective but functions as perspective in its own right.

In his catalogue essay for Aricò’s 1967 exhibition at the renowned Galleria L’Attico in Rome, Giulio Carlo Argan noted that Aricò is exploring “the boundary between object and image. What he would like to obtain is not the diverse consistency of the two fields but the line of demarcation, the critical point of passage from the state of the object to the state of the image and the contrary”. And indeed, the works of Rodolfo Aricò challenge the very deceiving mechanisms that they set up. They invite the viewer to reside literally as well as metaphorically on the line of demarcation between depth and flatness, image and object. But perhaps most importantly in our contemporary context, these works encourage us to overcome the limiting historical and geographical categories through which we interpret much of the work produced both by his American and his European contemporaries, transform- ing the line that distinguishes the two currents into that which binds them together.

The exhibition Rodolfo Aricò: Line of Demarcation is organised with the support of the Archivio Rodolfo Aricò. The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue with new essays by Claire Gilman, curator at the Drawing Center, New York, Alex Bacon, writer and PhD candidate at Princeton University, and Francesca Pola, art-historian and curator of the Archivio Rodolfo Aricò.

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