Giorgio Griffa

Giorgio Griffa

Turín, 1936

A key artist in the post-war transformation of Italian art, and at the same time a singular figure, Giorgio Griffa was born in Turin in 1936 and started painting when he was a child. Initially trained as a traditional painter, he began to paint abstract works and develop his personal poetry from the late sixties.

He belongs to a group of artists, working in Turin in the mid-60s, who transformed the Italian art of the period:  Giovanni Anselmo, Gilberto Zorio, Giulio Paolini, and Mario and Marisa Merz. Griffa himself received little international acclaim until well into his career —despite exhibiting at the São Paulo Bienal in 1977 and the Venice Biennale in 1978 and 1980. In the 21st century, his work has received greater recognition; he had solo exhibitions at the Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève in 2015, at the Serralves Foundation in Porto in 2016, at the Venice Biennale in 2017, at the Camden Art Centre in London in 2018, and more recently at the Centre Pompidou in Paris in the spring of 2022.

The emphasis in Griffa’s work is on materiality. He reduces his materials and processes to their essential elements —raw canvas, colour, and brushstrokes that take the form of rhythmic lines and flourishes. His simple, unstretched canvases often reveal creases that have formed during storage, adding the suggestion of a grid to his compositions. Even though he has been associated with movements such as Arte Povera, Pittura Analitica and Minimalism, Giorgio Griffa’s artistic career nevertheless remains mainly solitary, outside a specific current. After more than 50 years Griffa still follows the same path as a painter, with continuity and consistency, vitality and poetry.

Exhibitions and fairs

"I never finish my work. Physically it is finished but mentally it’s not; the key to a work is its suspension in time".

 

Giorgio Griffa