Very often artists are responding to a request, living and working to fulfill expectations, but artists should establish alternatives instead of following expectations.
Gagosian is pleased to present Suddenly, in the middle of the summer, an exhibition of new works by Piero Golia.
Though vastly different in medium and process, Golia’s artworks feature a simple, usually deceptive, arithmetic: one event has led to another, and then another, initiating a chain reaction at the end of which an artwork is left as evidence. Often, the manufacturing becomes the work itself, coming together in situ—as with The Painter (2016), a robot programmed to create abstract paintings whenever it detects movement in the room; or the Chalets in Hollywood and Dallas, communal settings activated by visitors, events, artists, and objects.
However, in Suddenly, in the middle of the summer, works seem just to have materialized in the gallery. Engaging in slow and meticulous technical processes, Golia pursued artistic craft in direct counterpoint to mass production. Like precious artifacts in a museum, these works provoke questions about their individual histories, together with admiration for their detailed, mysterious beauty. Instead of appearing and disappearing like so many of Golia’s other works, they have completed a full cycle of production.
Approximating familiar objects—lamps, fruit bowls, paintings—Golia’s new works wittily straddle form and function, never privileging one over the other. As in the Intermission paintings of 2015, the “lamps” are made of the leftover materials from his exact-scale replica of George Washington’s nose from Mount Rushmore. Thus Golia repurposes the contours of the president’s nose to create artisanal prototypes, each moving closer to “perfection” yet never forsaking its handmade singularity. The “fruit bowls” are made by carving the “NAE” shape—the arbitrary intersection of a sphere and a rectangle, conceived by Golia with Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer—into solid blocks of decorative marble, carefully chosen for their patterns, colors, and surface variations. Rigid yet adaptable, the elegant forms incite the beholder to think of the objects of today as the ancient artifacts of tomorrow.
Paintings, too, become luxury objects that are adapted, fine-tuned, and put on display. Golia’s Ferragosto Paintings (2018)—originating from a modernist chair upholstered with blue-and-white striped fabric—are the crisp summer version of the red-and-cream striped Christmas Paintings (2013) conceived for the holiday season. Nodding to Alighiero Boetti’s Zig Zag chair (1967), these works are fashioned by dismantling an object of preexisting design value and then stretching its upholstery over wooden supports to create compelling new abstract shapes. Their modest scale relates to that of the “fruit bowls” and “lamps,” contrasting with the monumentality of much contemporary painting.
Piero Golia was born in 1974 in Naples, Italy, and lives and works in Los Angeles. Collections include the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Marciano Art Foundation, Los Angeles; Museo Jumex, Mexico City; Fondazione Morra Greco, Naples, Italy; Nomas Foundation, Rome; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, Spain; and Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. Recent institutional exhibitions include Double Tumble or the Awesome Twins, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2011); 56th Biennale di Venezia (2013); Chalet Hollywood, Los Angeles (2013–14); Chalet Dallas, Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas (2015–16); To be continued, Académie de France à Rome, Villa Medici (2016); The painter, Kunsthaus Baselland, Muttenz/Basel, Switzerland (2017); and Solutions to mortality, Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita State University, KS (2018).