Fondazione Prada presents an anthological exhibition devoted to Gianni Piacentino (Turin, 1945), curated by Germano Celant.
The exhibit, hosted on the two levels of the Podium, comprises more than 90 artworks and retraces the career of the artist in anti-chronological order, starting from his most recent works from 2015 to those dating back to 1965.
Piacentino’s research has begun in an artistic and cultural background characterized by an increasing detachment from the subjective dimension which had animated Action Painting and Informalism, as well as by the development of a new visual language mixing the attention to pop and consumeristic imagery and the appreciation for both geometrical and primary forms.
The work of Piacentino did not embrace either of the dominant tendencies of those times - Pop art and Minimal art - but, according to the original reading of his work provided in this exhibition, operated an osmosis between the two. In order to research the ground where these two currents converge, Piacentino has turned to the world of velocity and transportation including cars, motorcycles and planes, all products of pop culture which, despite not belonging to the realm of pure art, are expressions of industrial aesthetics.
Through the presentation of his vehicles in the 1970’s and 1980’s, carrying cultural and aesthetic symbols, and the further production of decorated bars and canvases inspired by the world of aeronautics, from Combine Paintings to the metallic structures of the more recent Cantilevers, Piacentino has revealed his attraction to constructive disciplines entailing elegance and perfection as well as a preference for the absolute control of the physical and chromatic properties of materials. Throughout his career, the artist has led his own creative process following all the different phases implied in a given industrial production scheme, as happens in the realm of design. As Germano Celant states, his artistic path represents “an absolute escape from the imperfection, instantaneity and randomness of making art, in order to access a universe of perfection, calculation and concentration that can compete with a motor or flight vehicle, on both sublime and absolute levels”.