The Exploratory Modernism of Bice Lazzari and Alfredo Volpi

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Launch Slideshow

From 16 February to 29 March 2018, S│2 London will present the first UK solo exhibition of Italian artist Bice Lazzari. Born in 1900 in Venice, Lazzari carved a singular path in the history of post-war Italian art. 

In gallery 2 this February, S|2 London will exhibit a selection of works by the Brazilian artist, Alfredo Volpi. Born in Italy in 1896 and raised in São Paulo from an early age, Alfredo Volpi was one of the most significant artists working in Brazil during the early 20th century. Click ahead to view the slideshow.

Bice Lazzari
16 February–29 March 2018 | London

Alfredo Volpi
16 February –29 March 2018 | London

The Exploratory Modernism of Bice Lazzari and Alfredo Volpi

  • Alfredo Volpi, Composição “Laços” (Composition "Ties"), circa early 1970s
    Discovering a love of painting at an early age, Volpi quickly established his own signature style. Drawn towards the picturesque surroundings that filled his childhood, Volpi’s bold works simplify the complexities of nature into abstracted geometric forms.

    Drawing on his own emotional response through colour, he embraces the synaesthetic powers of his chosen medium, lending his work an element of endearing naivety. Such patterned works as this reflect Volpi’s past as a designer, enlightening the artist’s consideration of the colours and forms that he creates.

    Alfredo Volpi
    16 February–29 March 2018 | London
  • Alfredo Volpi, Concretos (Concrete), circa 1950s
    Having worked as an apprentice decorator, Volpi had a distinctly modern notion of uniting fine art with design. The angular forms that make up this work exemplify the artist’s mode of exploring clean geometric abstraction, whilst simultaneously referring to the cultural landscape of his environment.

    The red triangular forms stand out from the background of the canvas, by virtue of the artist’s unabashed embrace of contrasting colour. The suggestive forms recall the decorative flags commonly used to adorn buildings during fairs and festivals, incorporating local culture and tradition in to these otherwise seemingly detached abstract works.

    Alfredo Volpi
    16 February–29 March 2018 | London
  • Alfredo Volpi, Cinéticos/Mosaicos (Kinetics/Mosaics, circa early 1970s
    Through his thoughtful and evocative consideration of form and colour, Volpi’s practice during the height of modernism in Brazil has earned significant acclaim. Works such as this exemplify the way in which the artist took inspiration from his surroundings, the familiar forms of the environment evolving into geometric explorations of the local architecture and culture.

    As he deconstructs daily life in to his explorations of paint and composition, Volpi embraces his own unique approach to painting, moving beyond the restraints of established modern art practices.

    Alfredo Volpi
    16 February 2018 - 29 March 2018 | London
  • Alfredo Volpi, Fachada Com Bandeirinhas (Facade With Flags), circa 1960s
    The inclusion of forms such as these rudimentary flags, or bandeirinhas, indicate the artist’s desire to explore the surrounding landscape in his abstracted works. Flags such as those depicted here are common decorative elements often seen adorning the facades of buildings in Volpi’s adopted home town of Cambuci.

    Though born in Italy, Volpi moved with his family to Sao Paulo as a young child and subsequently came to embrace the culture as his own. Whilst his works can appear as paired-down celebrations of paint and colour, the artist’s oeuvre does undeniably embrace his environment, exploring the forms available to him in a geometric, abstracted fashion.

    Alfredo Volpi
    16 February 2018 - 29 March 2018 | London
  • Alfredo Volpi, Faixas E Mastros (Banding And Masts), circa 1960
    Here the artist allows us an almost intimate view of the rising architecture, looking toward the warm glow from the windows suggestive of a bustling community that fills the streets and buildings.

    The strike of blue across the rusty surface of the building could be seen as a reversal of the building’s view, looking out towards the streets, and to the sky. Even in such a paired-down manner, Volpi encourages the viewer to study his works, looking in to the places he was depicting, feeling an essence of the culture that prevailed amongst the community.

    Alfredo Volpi
    16 February 2018 - 29 March 2018 | London
  • Bice Lazzari, Untitled, 1952
    With training in the decorative arts, Lazzari’s painterly compositions combine stylised abstraction with elements of ornamentation and design. She sought to re-evaluate notions of composition as it was traditionally taught, uniting line and form in lieu of figurative subject.

    Here her contemplations of line, form and colour are evident, as the bold tones of the coloured planes stand out from the canvas, playing with illusions of space and depth as the lines and shapes relate to one another.

    Bice Lazzari
    16 February–29 March 2018 | London
  • Bice Lazzari, Untitled, 1968
    By the 1960s Lazzari’s practice had matured, as she appeared to have renounced representation all together in her search to understand what constitutes colour and form. Works such as this exemplify her confidence in the power of the line, and its prominence once placed within a composition.

    This work typifies Lazzari’s practice, as she sought to move beyond cultural reference, the consequences of history, of time and of space through the reduction of representative forms, rather embracing the simplest expressions of form.

    Bice Lazzari
    16 February –29 March 2018 | London
  • Bice Lazzari, Quadrato Bianco 1 (White square 1), 1974
    Lazzari’s practice came to revolve around a search for purity of vision, freeing her artistic self and practice from implications of physicality and space in time. Works such as this show her determinedly linear focus, moving beyond compositions suggestive of concrete form. The artist rather sought simplicity and detachment from the external world and the emotional circumstances of existence.

    Bice Lazzari
    16 Februar– 29 March 2018 | London
  • Bice Lazzari, Superfice e Segni n. 3 (Surface and Signs n. 3), 1974
    In this 1974 work, line dominates over form. This was a long-lasting preoccupation for Lazzari, owing to her desire to move beyond traditions of representation tied to the realities of daily life. The focus of the piece is determinedly linear, all the while composed with consideration for balance and harmony. 

    Lazzari has perfected an understanding of the power of forms and the relationships between them, lending each work a sense of emotion linked to the artist’s own humanity and desire to escape cognisant time and place.

    Bice Lazzari
    16 February–29 March 2018 | London
  • Bice Lazzari, Acrilico n. 6 (Acrylic n. 6), 1975
    Along with her career-long consideration of line and mark making, Lazzari’s work also values colour and the emotional impact it’s understood to have. The bold hue of this canvas grabs the viewer’s attention, drawing them in to the work and the eloquently posed lines that fill the centre of the space.

    Bice Lazzari
    16 February–29 March 2018 | London 






  • Bice Lazzari, Misure E Segni 1 (Measure And Signs 1), 1966
    Lazzari’s linear focus pervaded through her mature career. Determined to refine representation in favour of simplified space and line, the vertically-oriented lines fill the space of the canvas.

    The inclusion of lines and shapes in alternate sizes breaks up the monotony of the space, creating a symphony of sorts, almost like a piece of music waiting to played. The red strips stand out bold, contrasting with the softness of the thin lines that make up the body of the work, adding an element of depth to the otherwise flat linear painting.

    Bice Lazzari
    16 February–29 March 2018 | London
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