Enrico Castellani (1930-2017)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE COLLECTION, MILAN
Enrico Castellani (1930-2017)

Superficie Bianca (White Surface)

Enrico Castellani (1930-2017)
Superficie Bianca (White Surface)
signed, titled and dated 'Enrico Castellani - Superficie bianca - 1981-' (on the overlap)
acrylic on shaped canvas
47 ¼ x 39 3/8in. (120 x 100cm.)
Executed in 1981
Centro Culturale d'Arte Bollora, Milan.
Galleria La Crocetta, Gallarate.
Private Collection, Milan (acquired from the above circa 1991).
R. Wirz & F. Sardella (eds.), Enrico Castellani. Catalogo ragionato, Tomo secondo, Opere 1955-2005, Milan 2012, no. 519 (illustrated, p. 461).
Special notice

Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.
Post lot text
This work is registered in the Archivio Enrico Castellani, Milan, under no. 81-008.

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Lot Essay

‘An indefinitely repeatable rhythm of monochrome surface is necessary to give the works the concreteness of the infinite and subject them to the influence of time’
–Enrico Castellani

An intricate play of light and shadow flits across the monochromatic expanse of Enrico Castellani’s painting, Superficie Bianca (White Surface), 1981. The work is from his illustrious body of Superficie paintings, which dominated his practice from 1959. In signature style, Castellani would modify the appearance of his surfaces by stretching canvas over nails at varying degrees, creating rhythmic patterns of indentations and protrusions which undulate like waves across the work’s pictorial plane. Indeed, Superficie Bianca exhibits a delicate topography of peaks and troughs, which both catch the light and cast shadow alternately. In such a way, Castellani toys with traditional boundaries of painting and sculpture, burgeoning a practice which evades neat classification by nestling somewhere between the two.
Castellani’s Superfici (Surfaces) were the culmination of, and material response to, the artist’s call, first voiced in the radical art journal ‘Azimuth’ that he founded in Milan with Piero Manzoni in 1959, for an elemental art based solely on the concepts of space, light and time. Concerned less with painterly expression and more with the evocation of his contemporary moment, Castellani sought to rid his artworks of the artist’s touch, and suffuse them instead with an impartial detachment which swept away any hint of figurative representation. In ‘[eliminating] the mark of the artist’s hand,’ Castellani aspired to wipe the slate clean and start afresh; to create, in every sense of the phrase, a blank canvas (M. E. Vetrocq, Enrico Castellani: Space, Light, and the Painter, New York, 2012, p. 7). This mesmeric purity is exemplified in Superficie Bianca’s minimalistic, white façade: as Castellani declared, ‘A white empty surface is the most abstract thing one can possibly imagine’ (E. Castellani, quoted in G. Celant (ed.), Enrico Castellani, exh. cat., Fondazione Prada, Milan, 2001, p. 17).

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