DA UNA COLLEZIONE PRIVATA, BOLOGNA
The 1960s witnessed a profound linguistic metamorphosis in the work of Hans Hartung. From 1960, the artist began experimenting with everyday tools such as rakes, iron brushes or tree branches, refining the technique of grattage which consists of scraping the freshly painted surface. The configurations of wide and curvilinear, almost calligraphic brushstrokes that had characterised the previous decade now took the shape of thin undulations in the form of intricate networks. Strong black lines, traced on monochromatic backgrounds in often fiery colours leave space to fine, almost capillary graphisms, which cohabit the pictorial space with shadows, halos and dark clouds.
T1962-K13 is an archetypal work of this new phase of Hartung's artistic activity, in which strength translates into elegance, and energy into rhythm. The lines, shapes and scratches do not lose themselves in the arbitrariness of fate but expand in space like luminous trails with a rhythm determined by his creative intuition. The delicately scratched signs hover in the pictorial space, unfold in a free and vital flow, while the background that varies from light to deep petrol blue, welcomes the dynamism that springs from it. In constant tension between instinct and rigor, impulse and rationality, Hartung's "phenomenological" abstractions take root in authentic existential moments and reveal themselves as a contemporary space of events and vibrations. As the artist himself states in Autoportrait, his autobiography published in 1976, "Painting has therefore always presupposed for me the existence of reality: this reality which is resistance, momentum, rhythm, drive, but which I do not fully understand until I can grasp it, circumscribe it, immobilise it for a moment that I would like to last forever."
Immersed in his atelier-home in Antibes, Hartung fervently produced throughout his career lasting over 70 years which was punctuated by continuous technical innovations. His unique artistic vision, characterised by a genuine indifference towards set-in-stone ideas and feelings, brought him international recognition in 1960, when he received the Leon D'Oro for painting at the Venice Biennale, affirming him as an important precursor of the American lyrical abstraction of the 60s and 70s. His radical influence over younger generations still resonates today, so much so that since the last monographic exhibition dedicated to the artist in France in 1969, the Musée d'Art Moderne in Paris is currently hosting an important retrospective that traces the artist's career through over 300 works.
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