Enrico Castellani (1930-2017)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more ART FOR FUTURE - SELECTED WORKS FROM THE UNICREDIT GROUPChristie’s is delighted to have been appointed by UniCredit to manage the sale of artworks from Austria, Germany and Italy. The proceeds will be primarily used to support the further roll-out of the group’s Social Impact Banking (SIB) initiatives. The remaining balance will be dedicated to other relevant projects, including the support of young artists.The selected artworks will be offered at various Christie’s international salerooms across a range of marquee week sales in 2019 and 2020, with the first pieces being auctioned in London on 4 and 5 October as part of the Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening and Day Auctions alongside Thinking Italian, taking place during Frieze Week.Led by an outstanding group of works by Gerhard Richter, this selection showcases the evolution of painterly abstraction during the Post-War period: from Ernst Wilhelm Nay’s Helle Girlande (Bright Garland) of 1957 to Sam Francis’ 1987 Erotic Arabesque. Works by Enrico Castellani and Yves Klein celebrate the new ‘ground zero’ sought by European artists at the height of the Space Age. Additional international highlights include works by Austrian artists Maria Lassnig and Franz West, as well as Nam Jun Paik’s Anonymous Crimean Tarta who saved Life of Joseph Beuys - Not yet thanked by German Folks (1993). An exquisite selection of photography completes the grouping, with works by Andreas Gursky, Vera Lutter and Bernd and Hilla Becher.Social Impact Banking is part of UniCredit's commitment to building a fairer and more inclusive society. It aims to identify, finance and promote people and companies that can have a positive social impact. As well as continuing to provide credit to projects and organisations not usually served by the traditional banking sector, UniCredit employees educate micro-entrepreneurs, social enterprises and vulnerable or disadvantaged groups, building valuable networks within our communities. SIB also focuses on monitoring and measuring outcomes, essential for sustainable growth. It is currently being rolled out in 10 additional UniCredit markets, including: Germany, Austria, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.UniCredit is a successful pan-European Commercial Bank, with a fully plugged in CIB, delivering a unique Western, Central and Eastern European network to its extensive client franchise. UniCredit offers both local and international expertise to its clients, providing them with unparalleled access to leading banks in its 14 core markets through its European banking network. Leveraging on an international network of representative offices and branches, UniCredit serves clients in another 18 countries worldwide.
Enrico Castellani (1930-2017)

Superficie bianca

Enrico Castellani (1930-2017)
Superficie bianca
signed, titled and dated 'Enrico Castellani - Superficie bianca - 1989-’ (on the overlap)
acrylic on shaped canvas
47¼ x 70 7/8in. (120 x 180cm.)
Executed in 1989
Paolo Giuli, Malgrate.
Galleria Tonelli, Milan.
Banca Popolare di Brescia, Brescia.
Bipop Carire, Brescia.
Banca di Roma, Rome.
R. Wirz and F. Sardella, Enrico Castellani, Catalogo ragionato, Tomo secondo, Opere 1955-2005, Milan 2012, no. 651 (illustrated, p. 495).
Malgrate di Lecco, Paolo Giuli Centro culturale d’arte, Enrico Castellani e Francois Morellet, 1989-1990 (installation view illustrated, unpaged).
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.
VAT rate of 20% is payable on hammer price and buyer's premium
Post lot text
This work is registered in Archivio della Fondazione Enrico Castellani, Milan, under no. 89-017.

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Barbara Guidotti
Barbara Guidotti

Lot Essay

‘The surface, which has, on various occasions, described, alluded and suggested, and has been the scene of idylls, drama and raving, is now silent.’.
Enrico Castellani

‘By way of the reliefs, the introflections and curvatures of the canvas Castellani obtains extremely singular perceptive effects, he dilates the space, he coerces and curves it…’.
Gillo Dorfles

Conceived as a meditation on the play of light and shadow, between positive and negative depth, Enrico Castellani’s visually mesmeric Superficie bianca is an elegant example of the continuing evolution of the artist’s pictorial practice through the 1980s. Constructed using the innovative technique which had dominated Castellani’s œuvre for almost three decades, the empty monochrome surface of the canvas is transformed by the addition of a carefully arranged series of nails that alternately push against and punctuate the material, generating a complex pattern of peaks and troughs that catch and absorb the light that falls on its surface. In this treatment of the canvas, Castellani sought to subvert the traditional illusory quality of the painted picture, instead creating an autonomous, seemingly authorless composition, devoid of narrative, mimesis and the gestural mark of the author.

Rejecting the romanticism of the artist’s mark and the prevailing intuitive nature of Art Informel, Castellani instead sought to create a timeless, pure, elemental art based solely on the concepts of space, light and time. Thus, there appears to be no sign of his presence in Superficie bianca, the canvas’s modulated rhythm of convex and concave volumes entirely determined by the underlying structure of the frame and the complex network of nails he has added to the composition. However, Superficie bianca is nonetheless a resolutely hand-made object, in that the struts and bars that act as the foundations of the work have been created by Castellani himself, the nails hammered into their set pattern and the canvas stretched and pulled over their framing by the artist. Although the majority of these elements remain invisible behind the canvas, their presence points to the handicraft that underpins these rigid, architectural structures, generating an inherent tension between the hand-made and the autonomous, between the artist’s presence and his absence.

While Castellani’s first experiments with three-dimensional patterns had relied on the arbitrary placement of a handful of hazelnuts, scattered across the back of a canvas and then secured in place by nails, the subsequent compositions were meticulously arranged around strict mathematical grids. Continued experimentation with the possibilities of the grid over the ensuing decades led the artist to increasingly complex three-dimensional shapes and patterns in the finished canvases, as in the present Superficie bianca, where the meticulously spaced points achieve an intricate design in which the principal lines appear to radiate from the top of the canvas in a fan-like configuration. The central line of nails running vertically down the length of the canvas, meanwhile, appears to divide the canvas into two equal halves, introducing a profound sense of symmetry that suggests the composition could be easily folded over on itself at any moment. Balance was an essential component in the construction of Castellani’s work, manifesting itself most clearly in the partnering of the nails in the canvas: ‘When I started […] I was concerned that the reliefs I was making should be placed in such a way as not to create clusters,’ he explained. ‘And so to each point, let’s say, each positive point, I juxtaposed a negative point. In other words, there is always one negative and one positive point somehow cancelling each other out and allowing the surface to remain as little violated, so to speak, as possible’ (E. Castellani, quoted in G. Celant, ed., Enrico Castellani: 1958-1970, exh. cat., Milan, 2001, p. 14).

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