Giorgio Griffa was born in Turin in 1936. In 1958 he obtained a law degree and began his activity as a lawyer who would never give up. For ten years he studied painting until in 1968 he decided to give up all representative elements. In those years he breathed the Turin atmosphere of Arte Povera. However, while the poor people abandon the brushes, Griffa strongly believes in painting and re-interprets it with the most basic traits (points, lines, signs, etc.) that have always been present in the hand of Man and therefore indispensable. He immediately eliminates the frame that limits the field, and is fascinated by the un-finished. In each of his works he never fills the canvas and this while on the one hand leaves room for imagination, on the other he makes each work the ideal continuation of the previous one. In this way he studies the strongly symbolic character of human experience that "has thirty thousand years of memory". His work is thus based on the Primary Signs and this will be his unmistakable imprint.
It starts immediately with important exhibitions first from Martano (1968) and then from Sperone (1969). Already in 1970 he was noticed by Ileana Sonnabend who set up two exhibitions, first in New York and then in Paris. After the cycle called Quasi dipinto, between 1973 and 1975 it performs almost exclusively Horizontal Lines. In the following years he began to coexist on the canvas sequences of different signs: it is the cycle of Connections. These are the years in which he makes use of a minimalist reflection for a new consideration of the imposing memory of painting. Warning: Griffa is far from minimalist. Indeed, for him memory is the foundation for which he uses precisely those simple signs "that belong to everyone's hand", to highlight his "putting himself at the service of painting", "relying on the memory of painting", "limiting himself to the simple gesture of placing the brush". In 1978 he was invited to the XXXVIII Venice Biennale. In 1980 he had a personal room at the XXXIX Venice Biennale. In the 1980s with contaminations he often flanked the signs with wide background painting, that is, he also uses color always as a memory of painting. At the beginning of the 1990s began the important cycle Three lines with Arabesque in which each work always contains, among other signs, three lines and an arabesque. The purpose of numbering is to set the time of execution. This cycle is joined by that of numbering. Here the numbers on the canvas indicate the order in which the various colors were laid. In this case, the number series emphasizes the time order and the very development of the event in space. Since 2008 he has been working at the Golden Section and introduces among the signs that irrational number without end that never proceeds or approaches the next one but instead screws into the unknown, a kind of explanatory note of his work. According to Griffa, painting has the task of making the unspeakable known, of revealing that unknown that science is unable to reveal.
Giorgio Griffa, artist-philosopher, is also the author of numerous books including: Non c'è rosa senza spine (1975), Cani sciolti antichisti (1980), Drugstore Parnassus (1981), In nascita di Cibera (1989), Il principio di indeterminazione (1994), di Segno in Segno (with M. Corgnati) (1995), Come un dialogo (1997), Approdo a Gilania (1998), Intelligence of matter (2000), In the footsteps of the Cantos (2001), Note on the representation of space (2003), Post scriptum (2005), I flaneur del paleolithic (2014), Il paradosso del più nel meno (with G. Garesio, M. Corgnati and R. Mastroianni) (2014).
Among the most recent personal ones are those at MACRO in Rome in 2011, at the Mies Van der Rohe Haus in Berlin in 2012, at Trinity College Dublin in 2014, at the Centre Art Contemporain in Geneva in 2015, at the Kunsthalle in Bergen 2015, at the Giuliani Foundation in Rome in 2016, at the Fondation Vincent Van Gogh in Arles in 2016, at the Serralves Museum in Porto in 2016 , at the Camden Arts Centre in London in 2018, and the one now close to the Lille Museum.
In 2012 for her exhibition "Fragments 1968-2012" at the Casey Kaplan Gallery in New York, Roberta Smith wrote in the New York Times: 'Her art deserves a place in the world history of abstractionism.' His works are in the most prestigious private and institutional collections, in Italy and abroad. In 2013 the Tate acquired the large canvas "Horizontal Signs", 146x188 cm, from 1975, and put it on permanent display.
In 2017 he was again invited to the LVII Venice Biennale.
Giorgio Griffa lives and works in Turin
Tags: Giorgio Griffa - Griffa - arabesque
Analytical Painting, otherwise called Painting-Painting,developed in Italy in the late 1960s on the back of similar French and German experiences. Analytical Painting is detached from the relationship between the work and its meaning, obvious (figurative) or underlying (conceptual) or expressive (abstractism), but focuses on a kind of introspective investigation of the intrinsic elements that constitute it, namely canvas, frame, color, sign, and the relationship between the work and its author. The epicentre of this movement was certainly Italian and was carried out by a large group of artists including Claudio Olivieri, Elio Marchegiani, Riccardo Guarneri, Giorgio Griffa, Rodolfo Aricò and Gianfranco Zappettini. The movement had international resonance consecrated by exhibitions at European private museums and galleries, including The Museum of Modern Art in Paris, the Venice Biennale, Documenta of Kassel. The drive that Analytical Art had in the artistic environment resulted in the Trans-Avant-garde,a movement that led to the reappreciable appreciation of painting
Tags: Analytical Painting - Painting Painting - Riccardo Guarneri - Gianfranco Zappettini