In Abstract Sculptures, a German Artist Pays Homage to Avant-Garde Italian Painter Carla Accardi

Jan 17, 2017 5:19PM

In Italian, “dimenticare, mettersi in salvo” means “to forget, to shelter.” Italian artist Carla Accardi (1924–2014) chose the phrase for the title of one of her abstract works. Decades later, it’s also the title of a new exhibition by German artist Katinka Bock.

In “Katinka Bock: Dimenticare, mettersi in salvo,” now on view at Galerie Greta Meert in Brussels, Bock sets her work in dialogue with Accardi’s practice. Accardi is perhaps best-known as a founding member of the postwar Italian avant-garde art group, Forma 1. Together with her fellow artists, she rejected Fascism by embracing the tenets of Futurism and Marxism. She expressed that vision through abstraction, developing a style characterized by dynamic calligraphic marks and an understated color palette.

Decades later, Bock pays homage to the pioneering Italian artist in a new body of work. Though her medium is different—Bock works primarily in sculpture and installation—the parallels are apparent.

Like Accardi before her, Bock makes conceptual abstract works with visual impact. And like Accardi, she experiments with materials. Accardi is remembered for her use of non-traditional materials: she often painted on Sicofoil, a transparent plastic sheeting, instead of canvas. Bock, in turn, builds her sculptures and installations out of a wide range of elemental materials, including ceramic, stone, metal, wood, and water.

Among the works on view is Bock’s Warm Sculpture (2016), a quiet piece featuring a bronze object set atop a white radiator. The artist has shaped the bronze into a thick, lopsided tube that appears to recline on the radiator, almost like a heat-seeking human being.

Segni Rosa, 1968
Galerie Greta Meert
Untitled, 1976
Galerie Greta Meert

Death and impotence, on the other hand, underlie Dead Cactus (2016). In the black-and-white photograph, a once-living plant appears shriveled and limp in the center of the frame, held aloft by the artist with a single finger. At once humorous and poignant, this image suggests the loss of virility and power.

Another work, a wall sculpture, is named after Accardi. Carla (2016) features a lump of unformed clay that’s placed within a metal square. The square couches the clay, even cradles it—it’s possible that the clay is symbolic of Accardi, an artist whose legacy and spirit sit so squarely at the center of Bock’s work.

—Karen Kedmey

Katinka Bock: Dimenticare, mettersi in salvo” is on view at Galerie Greta Meert, Brussels, Nov. 18, 2016–Feb. 18, 2017.

Follow Galerie Greta Meert on Artsy.