1st December 2021– 24th January 2022



1st December 2021– 24th January 2022

Galleria Gracis is delighted to present Là dove si assentano le parole – “Where Words Are Absent” – a solo exhibition of work by Alessandro Algardi (Milan, 1945) in the gallery in Piazza Castello in Milan.

The exhibition encapsulates the sense and the evolution of Algardi’s quest for an artistic fulfilment that is centred upon the contamination of two languages: writing and painting. The association of these two art forms gives rise to the creation of illegible stories that marks the entire length of the artist’s career. The second form, however – painting – cancels out the first form and makes it tenuous and feeble, a sort of untold story.  Layer upon layer of thoughts that induce the spectators to question themselves upon the sense of this story.

The 18 works of the pictorial cycle of the same name Là dove si assentano le parole, which is commencing with this exhibition, are marking a new objective, a new goal – or, perhaps even a point of departure? – of Algardi’s artistic career which, after decades of dense and uninterrupted writing, is now focusing upon the absence of words, on the empty spaces that they leave on the canvasses and on pieces of paper. A space which will be transformational for the spectator – a spectator who may wish to fill that space up with their own personal impressions.

In Là dove si assentano le parole Algardi is dealing with the concept of “Ma”, a concept hailing from the culture of Japan which might be translated as pause, an interval, a break or an absence.

A vacuum, therefore, treated as an aesthetic category, an element which is implicit yet also fundamental. It is solely on account of this that such forms realise their own aesthetic and linguistic potential. A vacuum as a defined form, a nothingness full of meaning, and it is this the very sense of the void and the linguistic pause of Algardi’s pictorial and sign-oriented language. There can be no artistic discourse without the pause created by words since even though they might be illegible in the artist’s works, they are nevertheless structural elements of the narrative – a narrative in which it is those actual pauses which dictate the rhythm.

Manoscritto has been chosen as an introduction to the exhibition. It is a work from 1979 and it marks the beginning of the story that the artist has decided to transcribe upon the walls of the Gallery. As a matter of fact, the works were conceived consequentially – one after the other – much like the pages of a story that unfolds as it retraces the artist’s creative process.

Works like Dalla A alla Z – “From A to Z” – (2018) are entirely build upon a void, a void hanging between the extremes of the artist’s language, and it is this very fact that clarifies the whole meaning of the work and that suggests the endless variables that spread out between the two alphabetic extremes. In the 2021 version of Là dove si assentano le parole the “conversation” starts off from above, almost as if it were a continuation of a story that had been begun by other people. In the 2020 work, Ubi verba absunt, only the first page, on the other hand, is touched by writing while the following page is still awaiting myriad gestures to be made by the artist.

Lines and squares tie words down onto the page and thoughts therefore enable those words to stick and to sink their roots into the permeability of the paper or canvas, almost disappearing as they become absorbed by the material. The continual variation of the constructive strategies, often based upon minimal and imperceptible mutations, leads the word towards sense-laden pathways and constantly original and never-before-seen symbolisms, thus representing the true opulence and the vivaciousness of Alessandro Algardi’s work.

The artist has forever been bound to the idea of working in monochrome. Here, in his works, he is experimenting with the infinite and elegant variations of shades of black and white thanks to a technical ability which reveals to us that there does not exist a mere “black”, but an endless chromatic range connected to the eradication of light.

Bitumen, graphite, oils, acrylics and lacquers – each and every instrument that the artist uses has been studied in depth and chosen on account of its own specific features. The various weights of the paper and its porosity, rigidness, the pure whiteness that has been sought (or completely denied as in the case of black paper) become an instrument in the artist’s hands – an expressive instrument that is a sort of accomplice to the artist. In all of the preliminary choices undertaken by the artist there emerges the more rational aspect of his creative ability. However, in a wholly different way from the canvas, the artist is led by the paper into a mere moment that is briefer and more immediate and that is created and that grows and that is carried out over a shorter span of time, almost as if it were spur-of-the-moment. Graphite enables him to go back to the origins of his “written” language: if not paper and pencil, what are, at the end of the day, the narrator’s true instruments? It is a return to his origins, to his creative foundations, to the very vocabulary of his entire oeuvre and, in all of this, an eraser appears for second thoughts – all of this is possible on paper and less on canvas. The eraser thus becomes both the basis for some new creation – creating the set of lines in pieces of writing – as well as a clean sheet upon which the artist may begin again. Bitumen, another material that Algardi uses in order to cancel or conceal his story lets us sense the underlying gesture but, at the same time, it isolates it. It is there but it is not shown, we are required to sense its presence, we have to trust in the artist because beneath all of this material there lies a part of the artist that exists in a sort of sub-layer that even the artist himself is not yet ready to uncover and, therefore, he seals it up forever more in this particular creative moment.

All that develops within Algardi’s works is part of a dynamic progression (forward) and while there is always a beginning, an actual involvement – just like in a story – and an end, his works do not flow through the pages but become layered upon them and are, eventually, self-repudiated.

Self-repudiation is, as a matter of fact, the common denominator of the artist’s work. It becomes unfurled within those works centred upon his life stories which end up by cancelling out themselves into a kind of sedimentation. This is why time is needed to enjoy these works and it is here, at this point, that the work is actually realised, within an encounter with what is coming next, within the curiosity for what lies in front.  This curiosity is at the very foundation of sociability, of being discovered and of striving to be discovered.

Francesca Tribò

Monday – Friday 10 am 1 pm | 2 pm – 6 pm
Opening 1st December from 10 am to 8 pm
The artist will be present from 5 pm
On days 2, 3, 9 and 10 December the artist will be present in the exhibition from 4 pm
For info:
Tel: 02-877807