T he Contemporary Art Online sale in Milan offers a dazzling array of exceptional contemporary pieces from Italian artists and their international colleagues. Read on to discover five highlights from the sale that deserve further attention.
Alighiero Boetti’s geometric tapestries, executed by Afghan weavers between 1971 and 1994, are among the artist’s most beloved works. The bright colours of this tiny, beautifully preserved tapestry from circa 1988 make it one of the undeniable jewels of this sale. The letters which spell out the title of the work are arranged in a meticulous geometric framework, in line with Boetti’s obsession with order and mathematics. When creating these tapestry works, Boetti chose phrases ranging from common Italian sayings to humourous vulgarities. The light-hearted appearance of this particular multicoloured mosaic is apparently at odds with the earnest title, a typically Boettian juxtaposition.
Unlike Boetti, Sol Lewitt’s work must be read horizontally. In the above piece, lavishly thick brushstrokes in gouache overlap one another and continue to move beyond the confines of the paper. The work, from 2005, is almost entirely dominated by powerful black waving lines, yet there is a refreshing hint of green and white amongst the chaos. This is a wonderful opportunity to own a large-scale piece by this internationally respected master of minimalism.
Diego Perrone’s photographic depictions of the residents of his hometown of Asti in Piedmont draw inspiration from the landscapes and individuals that he encountered when growing up. The comparison between the vulnerable ageing humans and the timeless organic materials they hold lends the works a sense of the primeval even in the contemporary medium of photography. A work from this same series (which translates to ‘As if fascinated by what remains still in the background’) can be found in the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York.
Hans Hartung returns to Sotheby’s Milan where he achieved a world record in April of 2019 when his magnificent work T1962-E31 sold for €612,500. This work on cardboard is a lovely example of the artist’s gestural, abstract style, in which a powerful and energetic electric blue contrasts with a more brooding black. This year is set to be a triumphant one for the artist, who is currently the subject of a major retrospective at the Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris.
Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan is a contemporary sensation whose star has been on the rise for the last ten years, culminating in the recent sale of a masking-taped banana titled Comedian. One of three works by the artist in the sale, Grammatica quotidiana (Daily Grammar, 1989) features a calendar bearing the word ‘Oggi’ (‘Today’) in bright red letters, an invitation to ‘seize the day’. Cattelan’s irreverent appropriation of this Old Master gallery’s calendar “stresses the idea that each day we need to start from scratch, facing the same problems and issues that defeat the idealistic sense of moving forward inscribed in the chronology of a real calendar”, as Francesco Bonami elucidated in Static on the Line: The Impossible Work of Maurizio Cattelan.