Beginning March 8, 2013, Luxembourg & Dayan will present Alberto Burri: Black Cellotex, an exhibition of rare late works by a profoundly influential but often overlooked 20th century Italian master. Comprising a series of paintings made in the years between 1986 and 1987, the show unveils paintings never before exhibited in the United States and suggests the less explored connections between Burri, a consummate innovator and abstractionist, and the masters whose achievements in earlier centuries continue to exert a profound influence upon art. Reaching beyond painting's conventional limits to give art a brave new repertoire, Burri was against image, interpretation, and all things except the rectilinear shape of a painting. Such fierce lyricism and technical focus position him upon the long continuum of artistic innovation and breakthrough.
On view through April 30th, Alberto Burri: Black Cellotex was organized with the support of the Fondazione Burri in the artist's hometown of Città di Castello, Italy.
Elegant and beautiful to 21st century eyes, the art of Alberto Burri (1915-1995) was nevertheless born of intense subversiveness and an ethos shaped by the terrifying whirl of creation, passion, anguish and destruction of World War II. A key early figure of the Arte Povera movement, Burri was a former military physician and prisoner of war who, along with fellow postwar artists, was intent upon burying age-old traditions of Western art. Having absorbed the traumas of war, he chose to experiment with materials endemic to reconstruction in its aftermath. In the early 1950s, Burri began using Cellotex, an industrial particleboard made of compressed sawdust and glue, as the base for his paintings. Engaged in an investigation of the modern world and its new materials, his Cellotex paintings were concerned above all with carapace -- with creating and breaking the surfaces of a plane, denying traditions of precious materials, and destroying the viewer's intellectual associations in order to replace them with pure sensation.