A while back, the pioneering Italian artist Alberto Burri had slipped into the shadows, so to speak. But now with the Guggenheim Museum’s ‘Alberto Burri: The Trauma of Painting’ – the first retrospective in more than three decades – opening today and the Upper East Side Luxembourg & Dayan gallery also spotlighting his distinctive oeuvre, the artist is rightfully front and centre.
‘There’s a resurgence of interest in Burri... what’s distinctive about his work is the degree to which he explores unconventional materials as well as techniques while creating an entire new vocabulary,’ says Daniella Luxembourg, whose show ‘Alberto Burri: Grafica’ features the artist’s editioned works on paper and cardboard.
Especially riveting are Burri’s Cretti series, in which he applied gesso and chalk to a bronze plate, which cracked under heat, resulting in an extraordinary sense of multi-dimensionality. Then with his Oro e Nero silk-screens poised above a black background are geometric shaped thin gold leaf sections providing a shimmering effect, akin to Byzantine mosaics. For the artist’s multi-layered collages, he turned to cardboard.
Yet there’s another appeal to this body of work, says Luxembourg. ‘They’re comparatively inexpensive or really less than the cost of a not so great photo,’ she notes. With the artist’s 1960 Combustione plastica in plastic and acrylic soaring to a tad over $7,690,000 million at Christie’s but a year ago, his works on paper appear a relative bargain. Collectors are bound to be lining up at the doors of Luxembourg & Dayan.