now on view

cover-01-1f37c79bfb294857106a4cd8fec2a301 cover-02-60b97a2d492fa0c5e176f644a9795363 cover-03-2de9b2fb16c693e0de4ece99f0c5f9e0 cover-04-09eb5f27d7e68b5b6d489f99441bb2c5 cover-05-e78a766904d30148766ff5e8e516d31f cover-06-a2084a2474d1f2c1f4fd9c03280dd9a3 cover-07-4556bdd6521bb7599ceefa98257ee13e cover-08-3aef8eaf90e77327529d4f9b6e6b205f cover-09-abb6e3bc3b5da2e38eee177ddb38bf13 cover-10-6494e65ea56245dc0c5ab03d86363f3a cover-11-84cc5e9f6f181346a702db11107dbb57 cover-12-2f183f15184989d848a8426391ee72af cover-13-2b8dbced223b2865b87ac6ca3e8e8f32 cover-14-547a158280bc13b90d6306d14a9dedf6 cover-15-2b5f82e645bd161fa4530df4d9b074a1 cover-16-b59b91e11031f0efd718eb229c171da7 cover-17-7b4b378a88429847b949cb6bea8f53da cover-18-445556869d9305f0d6cd31d0fac18842 cover-20-071533ac1b437bf0cf5262be26760166
cover-01-8de10d34d13703a7eeec8eb58c467bb2 cover-02-6f5c3a84206cbe25dbf5be8101e3bef8 cover-03-2cfe6060b45153508f2fe5b4fbe453ac cover-04-46a0f2929763b61859bc4b52f3b28a94 cover-05-259c09f27286dd7b1381690d9948a8d3 cover-06-87f3ebd48ef1c12ac7d82e7712feb7ce cover-07-823685c7d0edc768b52ec88a932f5968 cover-08-2f8ff89ead19d35773cd0d90ab8b58a2 cover-09-11f170047bae6b536d8fdc29258d0906 cover-10-ca3b293b45925a6d9ae6721841898d14 cover-11-514fbb21088c6203cf1d9324e39a8bd1 cover-12-bacf6f6ab0801ab9177d009fa9ce8ff6 cover-13-79155fdcef602be49a53f8bf610b5c10 cover-14-360010d12d6404b88e9756e56f3f64e4 cover-15-7bbab5ca8021bcc773b056783b53a97f cover-16-f1708bd9b48a2b33a0ae82a180d4fe34 cover-17-61c70290acbac1eec5c4f82fe8923006 cover-18-f769dc4727bfce46eff6d73a5d8e594c cover-20-9feb160edf32349fde35053b09c135ab

Curator Talk

Frances Morris discusses her approach, alongside Skarlet Smatana, director of the Economou Collection and Gutai artist Yuko Nasaka at 8pm on 13th October

New Beginnings: Between Gesture and Geometry

The George Economou Collection Space

13 OCT. 2016 —
13 APR. 2017

Greece
Press Release
EN GR

The George Economou Collection is pleased to announce New Beginnings: Between Gesture and Geometry, an exhibition bringing together work by nineteen artists who emerged in the years following World War II. Looking beyond the canonical Paris–New York axis, the show focuses on the geographically more dispersed but no less groundbreaking practices of artists in Europe and Asia whose radical innovations were the result of dialogue and exchange among a rich network of individuals and groups that transcended national borders.

After World War II, many artists felt that figuration had become impossible and turned to physical gestures and material processes as well as the immaterial qualities of light, space and movement to create a new and dynamic relationship with the viewer. Alberto Burri, Lucio Fontana and Yves Klein were all, in different ways, enormously important in liberating painting from its conventional pictorial role – bringing time, space and matter into the frame and thus into the consciousness of the audience. For many artists their example provided an important catalyst.

In Japan, a younger generation were exploring similar ideas and founded the Gutai Art Association in Osaka in 1954. Aware of developments in American painting, these artists deliberately sought to extend the potential of the medium through innovative techniques and unconventional materials. Kazuo Shiraga, for example, invented a technique of painting with his feet, while other artists incorporated non-artistic materials such as pebbles, cloth and sawdust into their work. Gutai was introduced to Western artists and audiences via their internationally distributed journal and through the intervention of the French critic and gallerist Michel Tapié, who began showing their work in Turin in the late 1950s.

Another related and almost simultaneous break with the past was initiated by the group Zero, founded in Düsseldorf three years after Gutai. Zero was a network of artists from across Western Europe with connections to Latin America and Japan as well as informal links to other groups in Europe such as the Dutch Nul group. Artists including Jan Schoonhoven and Heinz Mack rejected the language of gestural painting, proposing in its place a refined vocabulary of geometrically organised forms and a preference for the monochrome. This is echoed in the work of Korean artists associated with the Dansaekhwa movement and their own explorations, starting in the 1970s, of the materiality of non-figurative abstraction.

The works in New Beginnings are remarkable not only for their formal and conceptual innovations, but in how they trace the outlines of a global art world that has been too often overlooked in favour of a New York–centric art history. The belief shared by many of the artists that international exchange could be a vehicle of progressive innovation offers a new perspective on the history of postwar art and offers a fascinating model for intercultural collaboration and dialogue today.

-Frances Morris, 2016