ZERO Atmosphere - Great Expectations #2 is the inaugural exhibition in the new space in London of the Switzerland-based Cortesi Gallery.
Bernard Aubertin, Agostino Bonalumi, Enrico Castellani, Dadamaino, Lucio Fontana, Hermann Goepfert, herman de vries, Walter Leblanc, Adolf Luther, Heinz Mack, Piero Manzoni, Christian Megert, Gruppo MID, Francois Morellet, Henk Peeters, Otto Piene, Tomas Rajlich, Paolo Scheggi, Jan Schoonhoven, Gunther Uecker, Paul Van Hoeydonck, Grazia Varisco, Nanda Vigo.
Cortesi Gallery is delighted to present an overview of the Zero movement as their inaugural London exhibition.
Including a number of works by Europe’s top ‘Modern Masters’, including Enrico Castellani, Lucio Fontana, herman de vries, Jan Schoonhoven, Gunther Uecker and Paolo Scheggi, this exhibition will provide a valuable insight into the conceptual and formal affinities that crossed Europe’s contemporary art scene in the 1960s and 1970s, a period that lies at the heart of Cortesi’s interests. In the light of the recent exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York that is currently housed within the Martin Gropius Bau in Berlin, the relevance of the Zero movement has of late become far more evident.
Consisting of a network of intellectuals and artists, the Zero group was officially founded in 1958 in Düsseldorf by artists Heinz Mack, Otto Piene, and Günther Uecker. For its followers, Zero suggested ‘a zone of silence and of pure possibilities for a new beginning’: leaving behind their memories of World War II and its aftermath, Zero promoted new forms of expression and media often drawn from everyday life and nature, revealing an inclination to use pure colors next to new materials and technological advancements. The unpredictable results using tools such as light and movement were characteristic of the works of these artists.
Essentially European, Zero soon became the centre of what curator Marco Meneguzzo calls “a perpetually-moving galaxy of artists”, especially among the Dutch, Germans, Belgians, French, Swiss and Italians. "Zero was like a fluid that moved incorporating all those who showed the aspiration to freedom at all costs, even at the expense of the proper concept of artwork…We could define Zero as a futuristic version of Dada, where materials, forms and actions respond to new contemporary parameters of society and its hope for the future…There is a familiarity among these artists, who built expressive codes from the desire not to have codes.”
In the free trials of these artists we can find the beginnings or, at least, the first traces of numerous movements that will follow, such as Minimalism or Land Art. Having been ahead of their time in the past makes them relevant today, and the exhibition at Cortesi aims to present in London the cultural atmosphere (l’atmosfera) they shared.
Cortesi Gallery, London
Cortesi Gallery in London will focus on Post War and contemporary art. Its programme will continue and complement the gallery’s successful work in Switzerland.
Cortesi Gallery was founded in 2013 in Lugano by collector and art dealer Stefano Cortesi. Alongside his experience as an entrepreneur and manager in the financial sector, Stefano Cortesi has developed a passion for modern and contemporary art, assembling a major collection that has been the starting point of the activity of the gallery. Since the first exhibitions, Arte Italiana 60-90 - with works by Italian artists from the 1960s to the 1990s, ranging between Conceptualism, Arte Povera and the Transavantgarde - and OUT OF THE BLUE - that included artworks by internationally renowned artists of our era - Cortesi Gallery has been proposing a research on the art of the last fifty years. “The idea behind Cortesi Gallery is to build a meeting ground for collectors, scholars, and art lovers, striking a balance between the cultural world and the market” (Mousse Magazine, April/ May 2013).
Supporting Stefano Cortesi in running the gallery are his sons Lorenzo and Andrea Cortesi, who share the same passion for contemporary and modern art and bring their own experiences in this field to the gallery. Andrea Cortesi will be the director of the gallery in London.
Andrea Cortesi comments: “After opening and establishing Cortesi Gallery in Lugano, London is the perfect city for our second exhibition space, being the capital of European Post War to contemporary art and an important cultural centre. Considering the growing interest in Italian and European artists from the 1960s and 1970s – I am thinking of Paolo Scheggi and Agostino Bonalumi, just to mention a couple of them – we are sure that our programme of exhibitions has much to offer to the public and professionals alike wanting to learn more about this period. We are thrilled to have found this exhibition space in the heart of Mayfair, close to many of the major galleries and auction houses.”
Located at 41 & 43 Maddox Street, just off New Bond Street, Cortesi Gallery, London will occupy the ground floor of the building. The space is 125 square meters with street-facing windows, which will be renovated by Studio Albera Monti from Milan, who designed the gallery’s lakefront venue in Lugano.
History: after the first exhibitions, Arte Italiana 60–90 (May–July 2013), curated by Michele Robecchi, and OUT OF THE BLUE, curated by Alberto Salvadori, the gallery presented a group of works by Paolo Scheggi in juxtaposition with Lucy Skaer, in a show curated by Eva Fabbris. In September 2014 the gallery presented Great Expectations #1, curated by Marco Meneguzzo. The exhibition aimed to analyse and convey the mood of anticipation about the immediate future experienced by a generation of artists that emerged in this decade. The next show in Lugano, Filo rosso - 1960/2015, will be a solo by the Italian artist Grazia Varisco, curated by Claudio Cerritelli. In 2015 the gallery participated in ArteFiera (Bologna) and artgenève (Geneva), Miart (Milan).
Cortesi Gallery will also participate in the third edition of ART15, London, 21–23 May 2015.