ESTORICK COLLECTION: The Experience of Colour, Astrazione Oggettiva

On show until 31st July at the Estorick Collection, one of the UK’s best and most diverse collections of modern Italian art, is The Experience of Colour. This is a truly unique exhibition of abstract art by a group of six painters from Italy’s northern Trentino region, who published their Manifesto of Objective Abstraction in 1976.

Above: Chromatic Verticals, 1977, Luigi Senesi & Installation View

The artists in this group include Mauro Cappelletti, Diego Mazzonelli, Gianni Pellegrini, Aldo Schmid, Luigi Senesi and Giuseppe Wenter Marini, who used colour to explore space, gesture, order and perception in a logical, investigative manner. Each of these painters uses colour in a different way to create art which spans from minimalist compositions of vivid block colours to using colour in tonal ways to produce dramatic paintings which almost appear to be leaking light.

Above: Cinque fasi verso la fluorescenza totale, 1977, Mauro Cappelletti

United in their research in this field, they called for a renewed approach to painting, which considered abstraction a means for objective enquiry rather than subjective self-expression, and viewed the painterly process as an intellectual form of investigation, enabling the artist to test colour theories and produce new ones.

Above: Contrast Gi/AB/V, Contrast Vi/B/AR, 1977 & Untitled y2, 1976-77, Aldo Schmid

Each composition evokes a different perceptual experience from the viewer, responding to the colours and their respective arrangements within the paintings. Astrazione Oggettiva explored the potential of colour as a catalyst for psychological sensations through their skilful manipulation of simple coloured forms. The pieces produced as a result of this painterly research often create alluring optical illusions and visual effects, using basic geometric arrangements to create the appearance of colours merging into one another and relationships between bright shapes and bold patterns.

Above: Progression, Progression, 1977 & Objective-Subjective Transparency (Central Margins), 1976, Luigi Senesi

In addition to the paintings shown in The Experience of Colour, the Estorick Collection houses artwork by many other revolutionary Italian artists, including paintings, drawings, sculptures and prints by Giacomo Balla, Umberto Boccioni, Gino Severini, Amedeo Modigliani and many more.

Clockwise from top left: The Boulevard, 1910-11, Gino Severini; The City Rises, 1910, Umberto Boccioni; The Hand of the Violinist, 1912, Giacomo Balla; Dynamism of a Cyclist, 1913, Umberto Boccioni

Based in North London, the Estorick Collection has carefully curated this exhibition within their spacious, characterful venue, which is only a ten-minute walk from Highbury & Islington Station. If you are interested in colour theory, abstract painting, and vibrant geometric forms, and want to discover more about these innovative modern artists, we highly recommend a visit to this spectacular exhibition.

Clockwise from top: Surface-Structure-Colour, 6 Elements, 1977, Diego Mazzonelli; Installation View; Photograph of the Artists (from left to right: Giuseppe Wenter Marini, Mauro Cappelletti, Aldo Schmid, Diego Mazzonelli, Luigi Senesi and Gianni Pellegrini in Trento, 1976)