2024.03.12 | 2024.05.08

François Morellet

On the occasion of the thirty years of activity of the gallery, A arte Invernizzi opened with the gallery Annely Juda Fine Art in London, respectively on Tuesday 12 March and Thursday 7 March 2024, at 6 p.m., a major anthological exhibition of François Morellet (1926-2016), one of the most significant international artists of the 20th century, realised in collaboration with the Estate Morellet.

Active since the early 1950s in the sphere of geometric abstraction, Morellet revolutionised and constantly reinvented its theoretical and linguistic coordinates, with the realisation, in over six decades of activity, of pictorial, object, kinetic and installation works constantly aimed at eliminating the individual subjectivity of the artist, as well as conventional notions of composition, surface, structure, space and experience. His art has always been based on the interweaving of an extreme systematic rigour with an inexhaustible and demystifying freedom and irony. From the first works characterised by the optical and kinetic activation of surfaces and spaces, to the later ones characterised by the plastic and installation interference of steel, neon, iron, adhesive tape, wire mesh, wood, Morellet has always intended to deconstruct and recreate the abstract language in an open, dynamic, pulsating image, in which the dialogue between systematicity and randomness continually regenerates the artistic operation as a space of relationship with an active and participating spectator. A forerunner, pioneer and protagonist of the programmed and minimalist research of the 1950s and 1960s, Morellet is today also unanimously and internationally recognised as a forerunner of a generative and immersive vision of the image, which in the most recent artistic generations constitutes one of the most innovative declinations of abstract and digital creativity.

The anthological exhibition, consisting of more then forty works, is articulated in a twofold parallel path through the two galleries: exhibition spaces in which the artist has realised numerous solo shows and interventions, over long and fruitful decades of collaboration; on six occasions at Annely Juda Fine Art in London, where the artist has exhibited since 1977, and on eight occasions at A arte Invernizzi in Milan, the first of which was in 1994 on the occasion of the gallery’s inaugural exhibition (Dadamaino Morellet Uecker), the 30th anniversary of which falls this year.

A arte Invernizzi in Milan presents the large neon installation π Weeping neonly bleu n° 1 (2001), exhibited at Art Basel Unlimited in 2017: it forms the centrepiece of the lower space, where it dialogues with works on canvas and neon with inclined, disclosed and expanded geometric shapes (2012-15) and with an aluminium work (2004). A space is dedicated to the significant 1965 kinetic work Néon 0°-90° avec 4 rythmes interférents characterised by the intermittent and alternating rhythms of the luminous pulsations of neon on black background.

The upper floor presents neon works on black canvas including La fuite nocturne n° 10 from 2016 in dialogue with neon works on white canvas such as Farandole blanche from 2009. The following rooms present a selection of historical works on canvas and on panel (1969-76) in which the iterative and dynamic proliferation of surfaces in grids and optical textures is related to some works from the “Reinforced concrete” cycle (2006).

Annely Juda Fine Art in London exhibits on the third floor of the gallery the large triptych Sous-Prématisme n° 1, n° 2, n° 3 (2010), as well as three other neon works created between 2009 and 2011 that expand the geometric archetypes of the square and the rectangle. In the following room there are works from 2015, including 3D concertant n° 14: 77°-90°-81°, in which we recognise his characteristic destabilisation of the geometric rigour of the image in displacements, inversions, iterations, amplifications. The itinerary culminates on the upper floor with significant historical works from the 1960s and 1970s in which the artist declines his research into the perceptual dimensions of colours and textures (1961-74) and with large-scale works created between 2012 and 2015, including Rococoncret n° 6 (2012).

The anthological exhibition constitutes an unprecedented and significant opportunity to recognise and reaffirm the centrality of Morellet’s work in the international context, both in its historical significance and in its fertile inspirational topicality.

On the occasion of the exhibition, a bilingual catalogue with essays by Francesca Pola and Jonathan Watkins has been published. In addition to accurately documenting the exhibitions in Milan and London, it will be accompanied by iconographic and documentary material, aimed at retracing Morellet’s exhibitions during the long and intense decades of collaboration with A arte Invernizzi and Annely Juda Fine Art.