press release

Richard Artschwager
October 12, 2019–February 2, 2020

Mart presents Italy’s first retrospective on the work of Richard Artschwager (Washington D.C., 1923–Albany, 2013). Of international prominence, the exhibition is curated by Germano Celant and co-produced with the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, which will host the second stage of the exhibition.

Designed as an open labyrinth highlighting the main nuclei of Artschwager’s œuvre, the exhibition features some 80 works dating from the early 1960s to the first decade of the new millennium: from his first wood and Formica structures and paintings on Celotex to his nylon-bristle sculptures and “corner pieces,” including his works in horsehair and his blps, which he began making in 1968 and displaying individually or on a citywide scale.

With the paintings and sculptures of a long and varied career, Artschwager plots a distinctive course between handcraft and industrialization, encompassing space as well as the objects and beings that inhabit it. He represents places, scenes from everyday life, and common objects such as tables, chairs, and dressers, interpreting them in industrial materials such as Formica, Celotex, acrylic paint, and rubberized horsehair. He also explores pure geometric form, particularly in his sculptures, venturing into abstraction and solid figures evoking a sense of pictorial illusionism.

Artschwager’s work continually questions appearance and essence, venturing into the realms of ontology, epistemology, and aesthetics with wit and intelligence. It offers us a delicate and realistic, humorous yet monumental interpretation of the world.