CHE FARE? Exhibition to Run at Galerie Lelong, 2/21-3/30
Galerie Lelong presents Che Fare?, an exhibition focused on the unique visual vocabulary and radical works of Luciano Fabro, Jannis Kounellis, and Mario Merz. The exhibition title, translated as What is to be done?, is derived from a series by Merz named after Vladimir Lenin's 1902 pamphlet on the importance of the intellectual's role in revolution. Merz, Fabro, and Kounellis's work expanded this question to challenge the artist's individual place in society and to push art's boundaries beyond traditional painting and sculpture. Che Fare? opens to the public on February 21, 2013 with a reception from 6 to 8pm, and will be on view through March 30, 2013.
Beginning in 1967, critic and curator Germano Celant championed a group of artists working in post-war Italy who used humble materials and everyday objects to intersect art and life. Influenced by a period of intense political and social change in Europe, Luciano Fabro (1936-2007), Jannis Kounellis (b. 1936), and Mario Merz (1925-2003) emerged as three significant artists of the movement who regularly showed together during the late 1960s and early 1970s in Rome, Turin, Milan, and Genoa. They protested consumerism by showing art that had an anti-elitist aesthetic in non-traditional spaces. Art and life intertwined in their practice and in the presentation of their works. Not only did these three share artistic concerns and exhibit together throughout their careers, but they also had personal friendships and a mutual respect for one another.
Luciano Fabro challenged viewers' perceptions of familiar forms by employing both unorthodox and traditional materials to create architectural forms, many of which are scaled to human proportion. Inverno (2007), created the year of his death, is a large floor sculpture resembling a broken column or ruins from an ancient building. Two raw-edged, marble components flecked with gold constellations are precariously balanced with a smooth marble ball. Fabro often contrasted concrete and metaphorical space in his work, achieving a poetry manifested in the physical. As in Inverno, the metal work Ruota (1964/2001) uses balance and weight to evoke an immanent space.