Burning, Cutting, Nailing at Skarstedt Gallery
Burning, Cutting, Nailing is exactly as the title describes. Skarstedt Gallery opens its Mayfair space to this collection of works by Yves Klein, Lucio Fontana and Günther Uecker. Typically exhibiting contemporary European and American artists, each part of the title is exploited by one of the featured artists: “burning” by Klein from France, “cutting” by Fontana from Italy and “nailing” by Uecker from Germany. The process of production and creation of art from the destruction of materials aims to create a new beginning in life that is reflected in the artwork, as a response to society after World War II.
Fontana displays rectangular plates of copper and aluminium with holes, cuts and lacerations that are placed within large white frames. In addition, there are two canvases, one red, one white, which again are victims to angry slashes slicing right through them. The simplicity and cleanliness of the destructive marks creates an unusual conflict of interests. Klein’s work hangs among these pieces and similarly frames ruined materials, namely cardboard that has been burnt. The careful application of flames has created soothing patterns that have a kind of three-dimensionality to them. The largest piece, Peinteure de feu sans titre, is stunningly eye-catching for these reasons, with a flowing transition between light and shadow that evokes the characteristics of fire itself.
Uecker’s unique compositions of nails on canvas and wood are strange and alluring. As visitors alter their angle of viewing these pieces, the look of the composition is altered too due to the interchanging of light through the nails that protrude the surface. The freestanding New York Dancer IV is also exhibited here, consisting of nails extruding through cloth. With the sharp pointed end of the nails sticking out, this piece is extremely aggressive and unnerving.
The large white and spacious rooms of the gallery allow the viewer to examine the art without any clutter of the mind. The works in this collection are collectively earthy and neutral, allowing the viewer to focus solely on the sense of movement created by light, shadow and formation.
Burning, Cutting, Nailing is at Skarstedt Gallery until 31st July 2015, for further information visit here.