Luxembourg & Dayan will present Alberto Burri: Grafica, an exhibition of rarely seen prints by one of the great innovators of postwar abstraction. Set to coincide with the major retrospective Alberto Burri: The Trauma of Painting at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Burri: Graficawill highlight a lesser-known side of the artist’s defiant, process-based practice. It will posit Burri (1915-1995) not only as a painter whose works record sustained physical transformations, but as an ingenious print-maker who sought to surmount technical challenges and push the boundaries of the medium. From sooty aquatint etchings produced under heat, to embossed reliefs, incised collages, and extreme-pressure ink pressings, Burri's prints achieve astounding material effects that all but defy their two-dimensionality. Alberto Burri: Grafica brings together key series of prints made between 1971 and 1994, and presents those series in their entirety for the first time in the United States.
Alberto Burri: Grafica is the third in an ongoing series of Luxembourg & Dayan exhibitions devoted to the artist. It will remain on view through October 24.
Celebrated for his relentless investigations of processes and unconventional materials, as well as his steadfast embrace of abstraction, Alberto Burri approached printmaking as a kind of laboratory, an exciting terrain for experimentation. Working in print offered him the opportunity to collaborate with a range of legendary workshops – including the Rossi family of the Stamperia 2RC in Rome, Fausto Baldessarini in Fano, and Mixografia in Los Angeles, among others – and to democratize and extend the reach of his oeuvre to a wider public through the production of multiples.
Alberto Burri: Grafica will include one of Burri's first forays into print with his masterful series of ten Cretti, created in 1971. Part of a significant body of works featuring cracked and ridged surfaces, this series was created by Burri in response to the earthquake that devastated Sicily in 1968. Through a complex and highly controlled deployment of etching and aquatint, of acid biting into the heated metal plate and pressed, Burri was able to render negative space with remarkable tactility. In other staple series such as Oro e Nero (1993) and the 1994 series Serigrafia, which was produced a year before the artist’s death, shimmering gold leaf and arched shapes evoke the surroundings of Burri's childhood, from the Byzantine mosaics of Ravenna to Fra Angelico's frescoes in Perugia.
Throughout his practice of printmaking, which began in the 1960s, Burri never lost his playful touch. He moved back and forth between monochromatic textures to buoyant, colorful shapes, balancing forms, and adapting materials to push the boundaries of what the printed image is able to achieve.