In the context of a constant work of the rediscovery and presentation of Franco Grignani’s work, a multifaceted figure who acted on the subtle boundary between art, design, and graphics, and who was honoured last summer with an important anthological show at the Estorick Collection in London, the Galleria 10 A.M. Art is now concentrating on the use of photography that this great Lombard artist and producer of graphics constantly undertook throughout his whole career, but with particular zeal in the 1950s.
“Franco Grignani: Subperception”
February 10 – March 24, 2018
A.M. Art Gallery Milano
Via Anton Giulio Barrili, 31, Milano
The show, curated by Marco Meneguzzo together with the Archivio Manuela Grignani Sirtoli, presents 20 works including experimental optical ones on emulsified canvas and panel, and silver bromide salt photos. Grignani’s artistic generation was the very one that “discovered” the linguistic possibilities of photography, pushing itself into a territory apparently extraneous to the discipline: in other words, abstraction.
Like other contemporaries of his, the pioneers of this “exploration” – first among them Luigi Veronesi –, Grignani saw opening up before him a world that he analysed, not as though it were detached from art practices, but as though it were embodied by them, almost as though experimental photography could be preparatory to his work as an “optical” graphic artist that characterised all his career. In fact, photography, graphics and painting are indissolubly mixed together in Grignani’s work, the work of someone who asked for photography to be able to experiment with the infinite varieties of similar patterns and textures, which he both intended to import into painting and to utilise in their original form of emulsified paper.
In this sense, “Subperception” is one of the categories which the artist used as a fallback position for looking at his works. As Marco Meneguzzo has written, “Subperception” is “a subliminal vision that exploits the ‘lateral’ capacities of the mind when observing the work. Photography, utilised according to secret and jealously guarded empiricisms, and always for regular or distorted, anamorphic or repetitive abstract surfaces, in this way becomes the equivalent of an outline, an initial sketch of the work, but at the same time it is also its essence. For this reason, in the show there will be exhibited painted surfaces derived from photographic experiments, emulsified canvases of extreme rarity and of a large size, besides numerous genuinely conspicuous photos, signed by the artist, that testify to his meticulous search for the most interesting ‘variant’ in a black and white world”.
The show will be backed by a large, bilingual volume (Italian and English), published by 10 A.M. Art, edited by Marco Meneguzzo, an essay by whom will concentrate on Grignani’s photographic practice which will be a further addition to an analysis of his figure as an artist. This is a follow-up to the more “generalised” publications of two years ago (the solo show at 10 A.M. Art) and last year (the show at the Estorick Collection in London).