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GPO-0010

Untitled

Primed canvas, cotton thread, stretcher, polyethylene

120 x 150 cm

Signed on the verso, at the centre of the lower stretcher bar: “Giulio Paolini”

Private collection

Since the 1980s the artist has preferred to install the work on the floor, on a platform, rather than on a wall.

The first large-scale work, it consists of an "empty wooden stretcher, which by convention circumscribes a space”, as the artist explains; “the canvas is replaced by a sheet of transparent plastic, but a smaller canvas is strung up in the void of the stretcher as though it were the 'subject' of the painting'".1
The same theme was also developed in two variants made at the same time (GPO-008, GPO-009), smaller in size and with an unnailed canvas trimmed along the sides.
Paolini had originally, to the left of the canvas, applied some paint tubes and a paintbrush to the polyethylene sheet; these too were wrapped in transparent plastic. Soon afterwards – the artist does not remember when exactly, but in all likelihood before entering the work in the Premio Lissone exhibition – Paolini chose to omit these elements.
The work is part of the study on the relationship between the support and an object that by convention is preliminary to or implicit in the realization of a painting. In the artist's words: “The goal was to come to terms with the painting
vis-à-vis what the idea of the picture could stimulate or suggest. Indeed, in the sense of trying to grasp the reason for the physical presence of the picture as an object. […] It was the attempt to provide a work with a form, without the disappointment of seeing it completed. Without the intimidating burden of its meaning”.2

1 G. Paolini in G. Celant, Giulio Paolini (New York: Sonnabend Press, 1972), p. 22 (revised translation); republished in Giulio Paolini 1960-1972, edited by G. Celant (Milan: Fondazione Prada, 2003), p. 100; reprint (Cinisello Balsamo: Silvana Editoriale, 2019), p. 22.
2 G. Paolini in an interview with N. Orengo, in Fuoricampo 1, no. 2 (Turin), June, 1973, p. 5; republished in Giulio Paolini. La voce del pittore – Scritti e interviste 1965-1995, edited by M. Disch (Lugano: ADV Publishing House, 1995), p. 165.

1961 Lissone, Palazzo del Centro del Mobile, XII Premio Lissone internazionale per la pittura, from 23 October, repr. n. pag. (detail); wall installation.
1970 Prato, Palazzo Pretorio, Due decenni di eventi artistici in Italia: 1950-70, October November, cat. no. 56, repr. n. pag.
1973 Rome, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, X Quadriennale Nazionale d’Arte. 3: La ricerca estetica dal 1960 al 1972, 22 May - 30 June, repr. p. 62.
1989 Milan, Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea, Verso l’Arte Povera. Momenti e aspetti degli anni Sessanta in Italia, 20 January - 27 March, touring to: Lyon, ELAC Espace Lyonnais d’Art Contemporain, 24 June - 5 September, col. repr. p. 115; wall installation.
2003 Milan, Fondazione Prada, Giulio Paolini 1960-1972, 29 October - 18 December, cited in the checklist of exhibited works p. 397, col. repr. p. 47; floor installation.
2018 Milan, Gallerie d’Italia, Piazza Scala, Arte come rivelazione. Opere dalla collezione Luigi e Peppino Agrati, 16 May - 19 August, col. repr. pp. 98-99.
G. Paolini in G. Celant, Giulio Paolini (New York: Sonnabend Press, 1972), p. 21; republished in Giulio Paolini 1960-1972, edited by G. Celant (Milan: Fondazione Prada, 2003), p. 100; reprint (Cinisello Balsamo: Silvana Editoriale, 2019).
G. Paolini in the interview with N. Orengo in Fuoricampo 1, no. 2 (Turin), June, 1973, p. 5; republished in Giulio Paolini. La voce del pittore – Scritti e interviste 1965-1995, edited by M. Disch (Lugano: ADV Publishing House, 1995), p. 165.
C. Lonzi, “Giulio Paolini”, in Collage 7 (Palermo), May, 1967, p. 44, not repr. (some parts of the text were omitted in successive republications of the interview); republished among others in C. Lonzi, Scritti sull’arte (Milan: Et al./Edizioni, 2012), pp. 520-521.
G. Celant, Giulio Paolini (New York: Sonnabend Press, 1972), pp. 21-22, repr. no. 5 pp. 20-21; republished in Giulio Paolini 1960-1972, edited by Id. (Milan: Fondazione Prada, 2003), pp. 96, 100; reprint (Cinisello Balsamo: Silvana Editoriale, 2019).
T. Trini, “Giulio Paolini”, in Art press 4 (Paris), May-June, 1973, p. 14, not repr.
I. Calvino, “La squadratura”, in G. Paolini, Idem (Turin: Giulio Einaudi editore, 1975), pp. VIII-IX, not repr.; republished in Semiotiche della pittura. I classici. Le ricerche, edited by L. Corrain (Rome: Meltemi editore, 2004), p. 226, not repr.
F. Menna, La linea analitica dell’arte moderna. Le figure e le icone (Turin: Giulio Einaudi editore, 1975), repr. no. 61.
Giulio Paolini (Parma: Università di Parma, Centro Studi e Archivio della Comunicazione, 1976), repr. no. 5.
Identité Italienne. L’art en Italie depuis 1959, edited by G. Celant (Paris-Florence: Centre Georges Pompidou and Centro Di, 1981), p. 74, repr.
G. de Marchis, “Giulio Paolini”, in Thoughts and Action. Joseph Beuys, Daniel Buren, Dan Graham, Bruce MacLean, Giulio Paolini, exhibition catalogue, Tokyo, The Japan Foundation, The Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, and Laforet Museum (Tokyo: Flex Co. Ltd, 1982), pp. 119-120, not repr.
M. Bandini, “Giulio Paolini: un itinerario critico”, in Giulio Paolini. ‘Tutto qui’, exhibition catalogue, Ravenna, Pinacoteca Comunale, Loggetta Lombardesca (Ravenna: Agenzia Editoriale Essegi, 1985), pp. 156-157, not repr.; republished in Giulio Paolini, exhibition catalogue, Stuttgart, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, 1986, vol. 3, p. 8.
G. Celant, Giulio Paolini. Tra Telaio e Paolini (Turin: Gruppo GFT, 1988), pp. 5-6, repr. p. 5.
F. Poli, “Note di lettura”, in Id., Giulio Paolini (Turin: Lindau, 1990), p. 25, not repr.; republished in Giulio Paolini. Von heute bis gestern / Da oggi a ieri, exhibition catalogue, Graz, Neue Galerie im Landesmuseum Joanneum (Ostfildern-Ruit: Cantz Verlag, 1998), p. 39, not repr.
G. Celant, L’inferno dell’arte italiana. Materiali 1946-1964 (Genoa: Edizioni Costa & Nolan, 1990), repr. p. 308.
G. de Marchis, Scusi ma è arte questa? Guida illustrata all’avanguardia e alla neoavanguardia (Milan: Arnoldo Mondadori Editore, 1991), p. 264, not repr.
D. Semin, Arte Povera (Paris: Éditions du Centre Georges Pompidou, 1992), p. 41, not repr.; republished in 2016, p. 54, not repr.
A. Zevi, “Three Artistic Generations in Contemporary Italy” in Three Artistic Generations in Contemporary Italy, exhibition catalogue, Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Helena Rubinstein Pavilion for Contemporary Art, 1993, pp. 88-87 [sic], repr. p. 88.
F. Poli, “Giulio Paolini”, in Giulio Paolini al Palazzo della Ragione, exhibition catalogue, Padua, Salone del Palazzo della Ragione (Milan: Fabbri Editori, 1995), p. 30, not repr.
F. Poli, Minimalismo, Arte Povera, Arte Concettuale (Bari: Editori Laterza, 1995), p. 66, not repr.
Enrico Castellani, exhibition catalogue (Milan: Fondazione Prada, 2001), repr. p. 300.
G. Celant, Un folle amore. La Collezione Luigi e Peppino Agrati (Milan: Skira editore, 2002), col. repr. p. 277, cat. no. 388 entry p. 403 (idem in the English edition).
D. Lancioni, “Squadratura, quadro, quadrante”, in Giulio Paolini: Quadrante. Viaggio intorno a un’idea di esposizione, exhibition catalogue, Rome, Villa Medici (Rome: Edizioni dell’Oca, 2002), pp. 55-56, not repr.
M. Bandini, 1972 Arte Povera a Torino (Turin: Umberto Allemandi & C., 2002), p. 12, not repr.
A. Zevi, Peripezie del dopoguerra nell’arte italiana (Turin: Giulio Einaudi editore, 2005), p. 187, not repr.
P. Vagheggi, Contemporanei. Conversazioni d’artista (Milan: Skira editore, 2006), col. repr. no. XXX (upside down, with incorrect technique).
Color Chart: Reinventing Color, 1950 to Today, exhibition catalogue, New York, The Museum of Modern Art, 2008, p. 86, not repr.
M. Disch, Giulio Paolini. Catalogo ragionato 1960-1999, vol. 1 (Milan: Skira editore, 2008), cat. no. 10 pp. 54-55, col. repr.
A. Portesio, “’Quello che per il pittore è la squadratura della tela, per lo scrittore è l’incipit’. L’arte di Giulio Paolini raccontata da Italo Calvino. Con un’intervista a Giulio Paolini”, in Avanguardia 14, no. 40 (Rome), June, 2009, p. 80, not repr.
D. Lancioni, “Profilo biografico”, in Giulio Paolini. Gli uni e gli altri. L’enigma dell’ora, exhibition catalogue, Rome, Palazzo delle Esposizioni (Milan: Skira editore, 2010), p. 70, not repr.
L. Conte, Materia, corpo, azione. Ricerche artistiche processuali tra Europa e Stati Uniti 1966-1970 (Rome-Milan: MAXXI Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI secolo and Mondadori Electa, 2010), p. 73, not repr.
G. Lista, Arte Povera. Interviste curate e raccolte da Giovanni Lista (Milan: Abscondita, 2011), pp. 170, 206 (with incorrect title “Il telaio”), not repr.
G. Celant, “1960-2000”, in “Hypothesis for an Exhibition” edited by B. Yasar, exhibition catalogue, New York, Dominique Lévy Gallery, 2014, p. 15, not repr.
J. Meinhardt, Giulio Paolini. Senza titolo, 1961. In collezione 3 (Turin-Mantua: Fondazione Giulio e Anna Paolini and Corraini Edizioni, 2015), pp. 18, 52, col. repr. p. 20.
A. Zanchetta, Peripezie del Premio Lissone (Lissone: Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, 2016), pp. 72-73, repr. p. 73.
I. Bernardi, Giulio Paolini. Opere su carta: un laboratorio gestuale per la percezione dell’immagine (Turin: Prinp Editore, 2017), pp. 204-205, col. repr. p. 204.
I. Bernardi, “Giulio Paolini 1963. Un autore (ancora) sconosciuto”, in Arte italiana 1960-1964. Identità culturale, confronti internazionali, modelli americani, edited by F. Fergonzi and F. Tedeschi, proceedings of the study day promoted by Museo del Novecento and Gallerie d’Italia, Milan, 25 October 2013 (Milan: Scalpendi Editore, 2017), p. 40, not repr.
F. Fergonzi, Una nuova superficie. Jasper Johns e gli artisti italiani 1958-1966 (Milan: Mondadori Electa, 2019), pp. 169-172, col. repr. p. 170.
Entry by Maddalena Disch, 21/01/2022