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Domenico Gnoli White bed

cm 140 x 200
Fashion designer, stage designer, but above all a painter, Domenico Gnoli, between the 1950s and 1960s, developed a style of painting focused on representing everyday objects – such as ties, armchairs, details of hairstyles and clothing – that brought him closer to the contemporary research of American Pop Art, with which he became familiar during his numerous stays in the United States. Unlike many pop artists, Gnoli was not interested in the implications of objects with the world of advertising and consumerism, but used them to create a suspended atmosphere of strong alienation, typical of certain Metaphysical and Surrealist Art, recovering the lesson of Italian Renaissance masters like Piero della Francesca. His figurative language therefore brings together Pop suggestions and traditional Italian painting. The bed is a subject often represented by Gnoli, whether empty or occupied by human figures. In the case of "White bed", it is an empty white bed, shown foreshortened and in life-size scale (the width of the canvas corresponds to the width of a double bed), decontextualized from any narrative. The attention to the detail of the linen fabric, the folds of which recall some of the "Achromes" Piero Manzoni made almost ten years previously, reveals a desire to combine an abstract pattern (the texture of fabric) with an objective representation (the bed). As with other paintings made after the late 1950s, the artist used the color of the sand in the mixture to achieve the effect of a greater materiality – a stratagem used by some European artists such as Jean Dubuffet and Antoni Tàpies – and to simulate the surface of a frescoed wall where the signs of the brush strokes are not visible.
On View
I. Calvino, V. Sgarbi, C. Spaak (eds.), Gnoli, Milan 1983, B. Mantura (ed.), Domenico Gnoli 1933-1970, exhibition catalogue (Rome, Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna), Rome 1987. W. Guadagnini (ed.), Domenico Gnoli. Lettere e scritti, Milan 2004. S. Piezzato, D. Soutif (eds.), Domenico Gnoli, exhibition catalogue (Prato, Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci), Colle di Val d’Elsa 2004. F. Bonami, M. Cattelan, R. Graves (eds.), Domenico Gnoli. Paintings 1964-1969, exhibition catalogue (New York, Luxembourg and Dayan), New York 2012.
Photo Credits
Foto Patrizia Tocci
Legal status
Purchased from Christie's, London
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