NEW YORK, NY.-
55 Walker (Bortolami, kaufmann repetto, and Andrew Kreps Gallery), is presenting an exhibition of works by Carla Accardi and Elisa Sighicelli.
At the center of the exhibition is Carla Accardis groundbreaking series of paintings on Sicofoil, a commercial plastic, which she first incorporated in her practice during the 1960s. Disrupting the traditional relationship between painting and its environment, the works investigate the interplay of multiple spatial planes within an artwork. This is the central interest of Elisa Sighicellis new photographs on satin, which form both a material and conceptual response to Accardis series of paintings on Sicofoil.
Carla Accardi first encountered Sicofoil on accident, when it was included in a delivery sent to her studio. Initially incorporating the material in sculpture and installation, by 1966 Accardi began fastening the material directly to stretcher bars. As seen in the earliest work in the exhibition, Segni neri, 1967, Accardi painted her signature calligraphic marks on the Sicofoil and overlapped the material in lattice-like patterns. In doing so, she was able to achieve different depths and levels of opacity throughout the work, as well as a visible interaction between the paintings recto and verso.
By the mid-1970s, Accardis brushstrokes became noticeably less dense than in earlier works. This shift allowed the space behind the paintings to become an active part of the works composition. As seen in Grande Rosso Scuro, 1974, the largest painting on Sicofoil the artist made, the negative space between the bold marks interacts with the space behind the painting. Culminating with what was perhaps Accardis most radical use of the material are works where the Sicofoil is left unpainted, as in Grande Trasparente, 1975. A near obliteration of the picture plane, and a focus on the paintings object-ness, Accardi plainly shows both the bare material and the stretcher bar, the paintings support.
This focus on the paintings structure informs Elisa Sighicellis new works, which are created by photographing draped, recycled plastic sheets in her studio in front of a window. Initially appearing as meditations on color and light, the resulting compositions are punctuated by the stark horizontal or vertical lines of the window frame. These lines become a stand-in for the stretcher bars themselves and reference the art historical understanding of painting as a window. While abstract, the works maintain an intrinsic relationship to the real environment in which Sighicelli made them. The use of lights enable new dimensional and tactile properties within the plastic, and obscured objects show fields of color in the composition. In turn, the works present a complex layering of space as the dichotomy between a perceived inside and outside is blurred and confused. Similar to Accardis work, the shifting perceptions of depth in each work are reinforced by their medium. Sighicellis photographs are printed directly onto a pliable satin that is suspended on the wall, allowing the material to become a stand-in for what it is intended to represent.
Carla Accardi's (1924-2014) work is currently the subject of a comprehensive retrospective at Museo del Novecento, Milan, on view through June 27, 2021. Past solo exhibitions include Carla Accardi. Smarrire i fili della voce, curated by Laura Cherubini, Castelbasso, Torun, Budapest, Thessaloniki, and Athens, 2012 2014; Carla Accardi, curated by Danilo Eccher, MACRO Museo dArte Contemporanea Rome, Rome, 2004; Carla Accardi, curated by Laurence Bossé and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Musee dArt Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, 2002; Carla Accardi. Triplice tenda, curated by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, 2001; Carla Accardi, curated by Ida Gianelli and Giorgio Verzotti, Castello di Rivoli Museo dArte Contemporanea, Rivoli, 1994. Accardis work has been featured in many prominent group exhibitions. This includes six editions of the Venice Biennale (1948, 1964, 1976, 1978, 1988, 1993); Italics: Italian Art between Tradition and Revolution 1968-2008, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 2008, traveled to Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, 2009; The Italian Metamorphosis, 1943- 1968, curated by Germano Celant, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York,1995, traveled to Kunstmuseum, Wolfsburg, 1995.
Elisa Sighicelli (b. 1968, Turin) lives and works in Turin and New York. She studied fine arts in London at Chelsea School of Art, Kingston University and received her M.F.A. from the Slade School of Art. Past solo exhibitions include Lumenombra, Castello di Rivoli, Rivoli, 2019; Storie di Pietròfori e Rasomanti, Museo Pignatelli, Naples, 2019; Doppio Sogno, Palazzo Madama Museo Civico dArte Antica, Turin, 2017; Elisa Sighicelli, Gagosian Gallery, Geneva, 2013; Elisa Sighicelli, Artist Videos 2005 - 2010, screening, MAMbo, Bologna, 2011. Sighicelli has participated in numerous group exhibitions, including Futuruins at Palazzo Fortuny, Venice, 2019, Marking Time, MCA, Sydney, 2012, and the Italian Pavilion at the 53rd Venice Biennale, 2009. A new bilingual monograph titled Elisa Sighicelli 9 Years has just been published by Skira, Milan.