GIANFRANCO PARDI. ARCHIPITTURA is the new exhibition dedicated to Gianfranco Pardi on view from 30 March to 31 May 2023 at Cortesi Gallery in Milan.
Created in collaboration with the Archivio Gianfranco Pardi and the Galleria Gió Marconi, it is an ideal pursuit of research on the artist’s work presented by the gallery in the important exhibition Gianfranco Pardi. Autoarchitettura, in 2018.
On the occasion of the 90° anniversary of the artist’s birth, the pioneer of the Milanese scene of architecturally inspired abstract art inaugurates a retrospective that intends to retrace the main stages within the artist’s creative path, highlighting the relationship between the final results of this research and the first examples of projects made in the Sixties.
The exhibition itinerary begins with the last two decades of Pardi’s production and proceeds backwards, displaying three large groups of works in the three rooms of the gallery space.
The title of the exhibition Archipittura, as the curator Marco Meneguzzo explains, takes up a term created by Osvaldo Licini and then reused by several figures close to Gianfranco Pardi in the Seventies.
It indicates the artist’s intent to create an “architectural” construction of space through painting; it is the desire for freedom that architecture can only experience in painting, which is free of temporal or physical constraints. Always interested in the “architectural” construction of space, Pardi elaborates these themes and subjects, which are both universal and timeless, in a personal way.
This important exhibition illustrates the eclecticism and complexity of a great artist who, to all intents and purposes, is difficult to pigeonhole into a single artistic paradigm, electing him as a solitary traveller.
Since the 1960s Gianfranco Pardi’s research has been interested in studying space and the relationship between abstraction and construction through a personal reinterpretation of the historical avant-gardes such as Abstractionism, Suprematism, Constructivism and Neoplasticism. The first results of this investigation are the Giardini Pensili, representations of architectural exteriors characterised by a tremendous formal rigour and a simplification of shapes and volumes. Real projects that the artist first studied through drawing and then translated into painting and sculptural-like forms, highlighting the link between these different areas, bringing them together and giving each a different and unprecedented artistic result. Pardi reveals dynamics and relationships of form and matter, in this case also through a more pop reading which does not translate into a representation of immediately recognisable objects but leaves room for curious visions that determine an unusual perspective space.
This constructivist organisation of the pictorial surface leads to the cycle of Architetture in the 1970s where architecture takes over nature, effectively eliminating it from the context of the work. It is the moment in which Pardi introduces real elements – such as steel cables, turnbuckles and light metal structures – with precise symbolic functions aimed at delimiting the space. Reality (the wires) breaks into the space of fiction (the canvas). This new relationship forces us to rethink the meaning of painting as well as that of architecture, determining extremely original and autonomous expressive possibilities.
There was a heightened interest in painting and symbolisation in the early Eighties, and even further in the space freed from its physical-constructive aspect. The works entitled Casa and Museo belong to this period, characterised by a strong abstraction which nevertheless does not forget the architectural references. Here large white surfaces give way to thin coloured strips with yellow, red and black monochrome backgrounds, which could be reminiscent of design drawings.
This liberation from physical-constructive conventions finds its climax in even more rooted research; the regular rectangle of the canvas of previous works now takes an irregular shape, thus abandoning any architectural residue. Nagjma, a fantastic large-scale work (from the Arabic title “star”), welcomes the visitor at the space entrance and refers to Pardi’s extended stays in Tangier.
The same irregularity and expressive freedom can be found in Box, an iconic sculpture that derives from a famous series of works made from cardboard boxes. This specimen made of corten, an industrial metal with a brown colour, perfectly exemplifies the decomposition of shapes and volumes that fascinates the artist so much and that he seeks in all his work.
GIANFRANCO PARDI. ARCHIPITTURA is a project presented at the Cortesi Gallery Milano, which intends to give the key moments and ideas that attest to the role of Gianfranco Pardi within the post-war Italian art scene, enhancing his versatility. Artist capable of fitting into the panorama of his time, albeit always maintaining an individual coherence in his language, thanks to which he ranks among lonely travellers, who are not such because they are few, but because they go alone.