C1760 is pleased to present “Alviani X Ancient,” a new exhibition featuring a dazzling display of abstract art and jewelry by Getulio Alviani (1939-2018), a key figure in Zero, and Optical, in dialogue with antiquities from three millennia. The most exclusive of Alvin’s works will be on view, including never before shown artworks from his private estate and some only displayed in the most prestigious institutions. “Alviani X Ancient” will be on view at 38 East 70th Street from Thursday, April 7 to Sunday, May 22, 2022.
The exhibition, a luminous play of light, metal, and stone from across continents and centuries, features Alvin’s radical abstract sculptures and statement jewelry from the 1960s to the 1980s, alongside works by ancient creators who manifested a similar approach to form, space, and motion. The display includes several key examples of Alviani’s “vibratile textured surfaces,” a term coined by Italian poet an critic Carlo Belloli to describe the artist’s metal forms that appear to be in perpetual movement.
Other works that showcase Alviani’s experimental approaches include Rilievo speculare a element curve (1962-64), a dramatic symphony of interwoven steel forms that is nearly three feet high; positivo ~ negativo model (1962-64), eye-tricking stripes created from red and green enameled iron; cerchi virtuali (1967), lyrical circular sculptures in steel, and works in wood and steel painted red, yellow, and blue.
Another highlight is Alviani’s jewelry; dramatic necklaces, created with interlocking and slashed circular forms, and a spectacular gold-and-steel brooch that shows how the artist adapted his geometric vocabulary for the human body.
Spanning the Cycladic and Bronze ages to classical Greece and Rome, the ancient works on view create suggestive correspondences with Alviani’s art.
Particularly striking is the dialogue between Alivani’s jewels, with their dynamic circular shapes, and the elaborate ‘spiral’ fibulae, created with bronze wire during the European Bronze Age (late 2nd – early 1st millennium B.C.). A gray marble bowl, precisely carved by a Cycladic artist (Early Cycladic II, middle of the 3rd millennium B.C.), communes with Alviani’s mesmerizing aluminum disc, created 1965.
Additional works highlight different ways that ancient artists created the illusion of movement. These include a marble dancing maenad (Roman, Neo-Attic, ca. 2nd century A.D.); sensuous marble crouching Aphrodite (Graeco-Roman, 1st century B.C. – 1st century A.D.); bronze figure of Mercury, messenger of the Gods (Roman, 2nd century A.D.) and the sea goddess Tethys captured mid-gesture in a floor mosaic (Roman, 3rd – 4th century A.D.), A fragmentary relief frieze carved in limestone (Greek, Tarentine, second half of the 4th century B.C.) shows fluttering robes as women in a sanctuary flee from danger. There are also several striking examples of realism: a Roman magistrate is depicted in marble portrait bust (mid-1st century A.D.) and a bronze Mercury (Roman, 2nd century A.D.), appears as a naked and athletically built young man.
Together, the works from different eras offer a distinctive tour through the doors of perception and the issues that have preoccupied artists for millennia ~ how they craft their materials to shape their forms, and how they harness the power of light to create illusions that trick the eye and the mind.
About Getulio Alviani ~ born in Udine, Italy in 1939, Alviani was a key figure in the Zero group, along with other global postwar movements that explored abstraction and perception. Fascinated by optical effects ~ he wrote an influential manifesto that investigated space and form between the eye and the object ~ Alviani worked with mostly metal, but also with wood, water, and fire, using a mix of hand-crafting, technological advances, and conceptual formulas. He’s best known for his shimmering works that are activated by complex light effects that make the surface change continuously, depending on the visual angle.
One of these works, an undulating aluminum sculpture, was featured in “The Responsive Eye,” the influential 1965 exhibition of optical art at the Museum of Modern Art. Alviani went on to represent Italy four times in the Venice Biennale, appeared in Documenta and other major influential shows, and is represented in important museum collections around the world.
Along with his artistic career, Alviani was a celebrated educator, museum curator, and museum director. He served as the head of painting at Italy’s Academy of Fine Arts of Carrara; director of the Jesús Soto Museum of Modern Art in Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela, and spent the final years of his career working as a curator at the Múzeum Milana Dobeša in Bratislava, Slovakia, focusing on modernist architectural projects for residential and commercial buildings.
About C1760 ~ To meet the evolving demands of our community, Colnaghi Ltd, the world’s oldest commercial art gallery, launched C1760, a new and transformative department for Modern and Contemporary Art that helps audiences navigate ~ and shape ~ the market.
From its Upper East Side headquarters at 38 East 70th Street, C1760 is committed to promoting innovative, cross-cultural programming and collecting and bridging the worlds of Modern and Contemporary Art with Antiquities and Old Masters.
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