To mark the inaugural exhibition of Piano Nobile Kings Place, Piano Nobile presents an exhibition of works from the 1960s by eminent art historian, critic, curator and artist John Golding. Piano Nobile Kings Place, the new concept space of Piano Nobile gallery, offers a complementary location in which to expand the gallery’s programme. Exhibitions will be developed in collaboration with the innovative and extensive programming of the Music Foundation at Kings Place thus offering a unique space in London for the visual and musical arts to enrich one another through proximity and partnership.
John Golding: Finding the Absolute will present Golding’s works from the 1960s, most of which have not been seen for over forty years, offering a unique opportunity to re-situate Golding’s career with the prescience of his earliest abstract enterprises. Dynamic, youthful, brimming with the influences of the great proponents of abstraction – Mondrian, Malevich, Newman, Pollock and Orozco – these works reveal Golding at the outset of his life-long pursuit to realise the ever-elusive promise of the absolute.
The chosen works represent some of Golding’s first explorations in abstraction: at first they appear bold and exuberant statements of great confidence, however they are characterised by subtlety, precision and attention to detail demanding close inspection. Layers of paint built up over time effect a depth and richness of complex colour – a multiplicity of tonal shades. Looking closely at the contour of shapes and lines it is clear to see that they underwent a process of revision, reflecting the continual presence of the artist’s hand in the works. This profound focus on materiality emphasises tactility, and a direct relation to the body.
Speaking in 1989, Golding termed his progression in the 1960s away from figuration as the “third way” into abstraction, “moving up into the image or images of an earlier [figurative] mode…the pictures themselves become metaphors for bodies”. Golding’s progression into abstraction through the body during the 1960s is palpably of its time, as the idealised ‘pin-up’ posed at the heart of avant-garde British Pop. A particular feature of British Pop, as the eminent critic Lawrence Alloway wrote in his famous essay ‘Pop Art’ Since 1949, was the emergence of a second, abstract phase of Pop Art, as artistic movements overlapped in this decade of artistic experimentation.
Opening in conjunction with the Kings Place Music Foundation’s Minimalism Unwrapped concert series, co-curator Dr Charlotte De Mille explores the shared themes and motifs between Golding’s 1960s works and Minimalist music. As Minimalist composers are concerned with processes and languages of composing, so Golding’s paintings are subtly varied in echoes of colour tones and repeated formal motifs.