abstract painting

Giorgio Griffa

Italy 1936

Abstract Art, Painting

Giorgio Griffa
Giorgio Griffa
November 23, 2014

Giorgio Griffa is an Italian abstract painter, born in 1936 in Turin, Italy. He is best known for his images painted on raw, unstretched canvas, linen and burlap.

Griffa showed artistic interest in his childhood, and began painting as a child, taking lessons from local painters at the Circolo degli Artisti in Turin, but he never received a formal art education.
Giorgio became a practicing lawyer after completing a degree in law in 1958. In the sixties, Griffa began working as an assistant to the Italian painter Filippo Scroppo, a member of the MAC, Art Concreta movement and a teacher at the Albertina Academy in Turin.

The format of his paintings that still characterizes his work to this day, his own personal style of abstract art was found in 1968, when he abandoned figurative painting. This is best described in a sentence ‘I don’t portray anything, I paint’, as Griffa himself stated. Painting with acrylic on raw materials, Griffa’s works are nailed directly to the wall along their top edge. The works are neatly folded and stacked into uniform sections when not exhibited, resulting creases that create an underlying grid for his compositions, which are active part of the painting as a color and lines itself.

Griffa’s idea that ‘the painting is constant and never finished’, displays in his unique composition of each of his paintings. Always created from top left corner to right, his works display a deliberate end-point, maybe most precisely described as ‘stopping a thought midsentence’. Within the finite frame of his canvas, each artwork becomes a site of collaboration between painting and the painter as the hand works to reveal a constellation of signs and symbols.

Griffa’s first solo exhibition was in New York in 1970, at Ileana Sonnabend’s gallery. Despite early associations with movements such as Arte Povera and Minimalism, Giorgio Griffa’s work was not exhibited in the United States for the next 40 years, until the exhibition named Fragments 1968-2012 at Casey Kaplan gallery in New York, which sums up four decades of Griffa’s career.

This exhibition provides the viewer an ability to oversee the ways artist’s work and inspirations developed through the decades. The artworks from the late 1960s and 1970s display the use of simple and repetitive movement of the paintbrush, creating uniform task-like marks that serve to record the process of painting. These early, minimal compositions began with ordered horizontal and vertical lines that eventually gave way to the use of sponges and fingerprints. In the 1980s Griffa’s practice evolved to include expressive forms and brighter tones, coexisting with discordant arrangements of unfinished planes of color.

Shift from ordered marks towards a broad range of gestures eventually led to the inclusion of numerical systems into his artworks in the 1990s, which are still characterizing his paintings today. This series display Griffa’s interest in mathematics and scientific structures that underlie our natural world. Infinite sequences, such as the Fibonacci series and the Golden Ratio, act as a parallel to Griffa’s practice, and additionally function as punctuations in the work’s vocabulary.

Griffa lives and works in his hometown Turin, Italy.

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group 
2014Dialoghi d'Arte. Fra Realismo ed AstrattismoGalleria d'Arte 2000 & Novecento, Reggio EmiliaGroup
2014Never Look Back When LeavingCasey Kaplan Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2014Arte Fiera BolognaStudio Guastalla, MilanGroup
2013Giorgio Griffa - Fragments 1968 – 2012Casey Kaplan Gallery, New York City, NYSolo
2013Quarantanni d- La Triennale di MilanoDesign Museum, MilanGroup
2013ForoSur Caceres 13 - Foro SurFeria Iberoamericana de Arte Contemporáneo, CáceresGroup
2013Less Like An Object More Like The WeatherHessel Museum of Art & Center for Curatorial Studies Galleries at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NYGroup
201339greatjonesGalerie Eva Presenhuber, ZurichGroup
2013Selten Oder Nie…Galerie Appel, Frankfurt/MainGroup
2012Giorgio Griffa - Golden RatioMies van der Rohe Haus, BerlinSolo
2012NO. 17Casey Kaplan Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2012Pittura '70Fondazione Albizzini, Città di CastelloGroup
2012Panta ReiGalleria Giampiero Biasutti, TurinGroup
2011Di Segni E Di NumeriGalleria Giampiero Biasutti, TurinSolo
2011Giorgio Griffa - Canone AureoMACRO Museo d´Arte Contemporanea Roma, RomeSolo
2011Giorgio Griffa - La complessa semplicità della pitturaT.A.C. Arte Contemporanea, PerugiaSolo
2011Gran Torino: Italian Contemporary ArtFrost Art Museum, Miami, FLGroup
2010Giorgio Griffa - The Divine ProportionStudio Guastalla, MilanSolo
2010Giorgio Griffa: Painting - RPHARTGaleria de arte Rafael Perez Hernando, MadridSolo
2010Spigolature (1957-2010)Galleria Giampiero Biasutti, TurinGroup
2009Giorgio GriffaGalleria d'Arte 2000 & Novecento, Reggio EmiliaSolo
2009Art of Live - for 5 000 €La Triennale di Milano. Design Museum, MilanGroup
2009AstrattaMAR Museo d’Arte della città di Ravenna, RavennaGroup
2009RedLorenzelli Arte, MilanGroup
2009Hot SpotsKunsthaus Zürich, ZurichGroup
2008AttraversamentiGalleria d'Arte 2000 & Novecento, Reggio EmiliaGroup
2008Un certain regard sur TurinGalleria Giampiero Biasutti, TurinGroup
2008DiagonalGalería Cayón, MadridGroup
2008Mostra CollettivaStudio Guastalla, MilanGroup
2008Viaggio in Italia - Italienische Kunst 1960-1990Neue Galerie Graz - Universalmuseum Joanneum, GrazGroup
2008Time & Place - Milano - Torino 1958-1968Moderna Museet, StockholmGroup
2008Stili a confronto: Gilardi, Griffa, PaulucciGalleria Arteincornice, TurinGroup
2007Pittura AnaliticaLa Permanente Milano, MilanGroup
2007VIER5CAC - Centre d´art contemporain de Brétigny, Brétigny s/OrgeGroup
2006Giorgio Griffa - Sezione aurea e qualcosaltroGalleria Fumagalli, BergamoSolo
2006Suggestioni Astratte E FigurativeGalleria Giampiero Biasutti, TurinGroup
2006As the leaf turns in the air boreas apeliota libeccioBarbara Behan, LondonGroup
2005EnigmaGalleria Giampiero Biasutti, TurinSolo
2005Je ne regrette rien (II Parte)Studio La Città, VeronaGroup
2005Arbeiten auf PapierWalter storms galerie, MunichGroup
2004Giorgio Griffa - Unsegnodopolaltro unannodopolaltroGalleria d'Arte 2000 & Novecento, Reggio EmiliaSolo
2004Nuvole rosse Studio Guastalla, MilanGroup
2004AAVV - 30Galleria Fumagalli, BergamoGroup
2004Suggestioni astratte e figurativeGalleria d'Arte 2000 & Novecento, Reggio EmiliaGroup
2004Gli Anni '80Lorenzelli Arte, MilanGroup
2003Giorgio Griffa - Opere recentiStudio Guastalla, MilanSolo
2003Collettiva 18 x 24Galleria 41 artecontemporanea, TurinGroup
2003Anni '70 '80 '90Lorenzelli Arte, MilanGroup
2002To 1902002. Manifatture artistichePalazzo Cavour, TurinGroup
1999HorizonteWaßermann Galerie, MunichGroup