Beginning today, April 26, 2012, Luxembourg & Dayan will present Domenico Gnoli: Paintings 1964-1969, the first U.S. exhibition in more than four decades devoted to the artist. The exhibition brings together 18 of his late paintings, which will fill the gallery's townhouse at 64 East 77th Street. The exhibition also includes a small group of drawings from "What is a Monster?," a series in which Gnoli investigated the possibilities of a modern day bestiary. The works on view have been loaned from important private collections and museums, including the Fundación Yannick y Ben Jakober in Majorca; the Stiftung Museum Kunstpalast in Düsseldorf; the Fondazione MAXXI and the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in Rome; and the Fondazione Orsi in Milan.
Domenico Gnoli: Paintings 1964-1969 will remain on view at the gallery through June 30, 2012. The exhibition is accompanied by a book featuring an essay by critic and curator Francesco Bonami, and a posthumous 'interview' with Domenico Gnoli by artist Maurizio Cattelan.
Domencio Gnoli: Paintings 1964-1969 reveals the artist's ability to set himself adrift in an ocean of narrative while nevertheless maintaining exquisite control of the physical presence of his art. With such paintings as Chemisette Verte (1967), Corner (1968), and Striped Trousers (1969), Gnoli's obvious fascination with the surface of his paintings links him to a central characteristic of Italian art since the Renaissance. By mixing sand and acrylic, he achieved a striking signature texture that pushes his subjects beyond the realm of the contemporary and into an almost archaic atmosphere redolent of Mantegna and Masaccio. Gnoli observed reality not through the mechanical lens of Pop Art, but through the eyes of a skilled craftsman inspired by the Quattrocento, thereby creating such images as White Bed (1968) and Poltrona (1966), that hover above time like antique frescos of the future. Gnoli's paintings achieve their mystery and palpable tension by capturing a state of suspension between the past and the future. In each picture we see a fragment magnified in the moment just before life's inevitable progress transforms it forever – seconds before the carefully made bed is disturbed (Green Bed, 1969) or the perfectly parted coif is mussed (Capigliatura, 1965).
Alluding to the power, charm and bitter-sweetness of such timeless moments, Gnoli wrote, "I always use given and simple elements, I don't want to add or subtract anything. I haven't even ever wanted to distort: I isolate and represent. My themes are derived from current events, from familiar situations, from daily life; because I never actively intervene against the object, I can feel the magic of its presence."