Mazzoleni will participate in Frieze Masters for the first time this October with a solo presentation of Alberto Burri (1915–1995). The display will focus on Burri’s distinctive use of celotex and will also include examples from a number of Burri’s earlier series, including catrame (tar works), muffe (molds), sacchi (burlaps), combustioni (combustions), and plastiche (plastics) to shed light on the development of Burri’s technical and material investigations since the early 1950s.
Over the course of his fifty-year career, Burri developed his artistic practice in series, each one defined and titled after a dominant material, process or colour. Celotex, an industrial insulation board made of compressed sawdust, plywood and glue, became the basis of his final series (1969–1994), which Burri spelled ‘cellotex’. Burri had first used celotex as a support intermittently for earlier series including the sacchi (sacks, 1950–1956) and the combustioni (combustions, ca. 1955–1960), and consistently for the plastiche (plastics, 1960–1970) and the cretti (ca. 1970–1979) series. The presentation will include examples from these earlier series alongside the cellotex paintings to show how Burri revisited colours and motifs in his ultimate series.
As a particular highlight, the presentation will include Cellotex (1989), an extraordinary work in acrylic and vinavil on celotex board measuring 250 x 376 cm, where an expanse of black is interrupted by sand-like portions of raw celotex in its natural golden and ochre hues.
Burri’s investigation of form and space through the use of unconventional artistic materials made him one of the most influential Italian artists of the Post-War period and his pioneering work helped shape Italy’s radical Arte Povera movement.