Led by Bewegtes Feld by Gunther Uecker from 1964, the present selection testifies to the visionary character of a couple who was daring enough to acquire works by artists who had not reached the legendary status they are known for today. Uecker’s harmoniously dynamic Nagelbild stands in perfect dialogue with Lucio Fontana’s perforated Concetto Spaziale, whose composition is simultaneously vibrant and refined, and these converse with the likes of Luciano Fabro and Giovanni Anselmo, whose sculptural practices continuously challenge the viewer’s perception of space whilst investigating the very materiality of their own production. Uecker, Fontana, Anselmo and Fabro showed complete disregard for materials previously considered sacred to artists, tearing, perforating, hammering into or disregarding the canvas altogether in favour of other media such as plastic or found materials. Ephemera come alive at the hands of many of the artists in the collection, and in particular at the hands of Mimmo Rotella whose work Materia Viva from the 1950s was one of their first acquisitions. Rotella’s rugged collage is accentuated by Francois Dufrêne and Raymond Hains, who took to the streets as inspiration and source for their artwork, incorporating posters that had been forgotten and tearing them to create compositions that gave them new meaning. It is by looking at these artworks holistically a that common thread can be identified; an underlying interest in the material, the formal aspects of the artwork, a fascination with textures, shapes, and an exceptional eye to make unexpected links between artworks of different periods and movements in a seamless way.
The European post-war contingent is met by their American counterparts; John Baldessari’s Black Shape (Large)/Blue Shape (Small) (With Onlookers) is archetypal of his use of found imagery, also transforming the photographs he appropriates by adding text, or by blocking parts of the composition with coloured shapes such as in the present work. Baldessari’s conceptual minimalism is met by Sol LeWitt’s inventive and poetic use of the line and Dan Graham’s architectural Gate of Hope that seems to want to defy the space around it.
All of these works coexisted in a beautifully curated home, giving one another new and unimagined meanings. Their owners built relationships and friendships with many of the artists they collected, such as Lucio Fontana or Giuseppe Penone who would even create a work on the very grounds of their home. Executed between 1983 and 1988 I Colori dei Temporali was first installed in their garden with a living tree as a support. A sort of ‘intervention’ ensued, with the tree growing organically into the finished work of art. Overall, what transcends the works themselves is the fearless curiosity of the collectors, their singular taste, and a desire to live with and enjoy works that were acquired patiently and in the most discerning way over many decades.
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