Oct 4, 2008 – Nov 30, 2008
Opening: October 4, 2008, 18:30
Curated by Helmut Friedel Giovanni Iovane
The word “camouflage” comes of common use in Europe during WWI. It seems that its etymologic origin, dated from the ‘700, meant “to blow a gust of smoke at someone’s face in order to disorientate him”.
In England, it was Daily News that first used the term camouflage, on the 25th of May of 1917, to indicate the action of hiding something from the enemy. The word was immediately transferred from the military uses into daily life through the expression “eggs camouflaged in a scramble”, or often to ironically denounce a bluff: “he is nothing but camouflage ”.
In the artistic context, the wish or the need to become ‘smoky’ or invisible has a quite curious but at the same time significant origin, in an expression used by Franz Marc in a letter he wrote from the battlefront to his wife (quoted in “Transformations: Camouflage and Land Art” from Helmut Friedel). In this letter, the artist expressed the need to build some “Kandinskys” in order to make invisible the trenches in which he and his soldiers were hidden.
Exactly 70 years later, before starting his series of “Camouflages”, Andy Warhol asked the following to one of his assistants: “What can I do that is abstract, but not really abstract?” In other words, it seems that mimicry, in its most appropriate and fiercely assumption of camouflage, can offer a different point of view from that of the artistic abstract models of the ‘900 (and obviously contemporary), including those radical experiences such as monochrome, located between a farewell and a suspension in the inner definition of painting.
Camouflage is the title of a show that is developed in two stages at the Gentili Gallery in Prato. Curated by Helmut Friedel and Giovanni Iovane, the first exhibition has exhibite d works by Enrico Castellani, Isa Genzken and Imi Knoebel.
The show will open on the 4th of october, presenting works by Carla Accardi, Herbert Brandl, Franz Gertsch, Sol LeWitt, Maurizio Nannucci and Sean Scully.
A memory of the previous exhibition (including a historic video on Land Art by Gerry Schum ) will be on view in one room of the gallery, demonstrating how camouflage is an important element for comprehending the process and language in general of contemporary paintings.
A catalogue and a book of the show will be available from November of 2008.