As the international art world converges on London for Frieze and auction week, the city’s major galleries are putting their best foot forward and organising exhibitions of Italian art to run concurrently with the Italian sales at Sotheby’s and Christie’s, which outperformed the post-war and contemporary evening auctions last year. Here is a run-down of the shows not to be missed:
Alighiero Boetti 4 October-27 January 2017
Tornabuoni Art, 46 Albemarle Street
One of the main names in Italian post-war art, and a fixture at auctions and art fairs, there is no shortage of Alighiero Boetti in the commercial art world. However, this exhibition includes 12 works that were part of a Tate Modern retrospective in 2012, as well as the largest work from his Tutto embroidery series available on the market, which measures around 250cm x 600cm and comes with a hefty price tag of more than £10m. The star of the show, however, is Il Muro (The Wall), an installation of 74 framed pieces, ranging from works of art to newspaper cuttings and photographs, that Boetti worked on between 1972-92. Intended for his house in Rome, the work has never been on the market and is not for sale, but provides a tantalising glimpse into the inner workings of the artist, as well as containing countless artistic references, jokes, sketches and ideas that eventually found form in his work. The gallery has also published a new book on Boetti, which contains texts by the likes of Hans Ulrich Obrist, Giuseppe Penone, Francesco Vezzoli and Bertrand Lavier. The book will be presented at the Courtauld Institute of Art on 4 October. “This is the main event,” says the gallery director Ursula Casamonti, “the exhibition actually came second.”
Fontana/Melotti: Angelic Spaces and Infinite Geometries28 September-18 November
Mazzoleni, 27 Albemarle Street
Pairing the sculptor Fausto Melotti with Lucio Fontana, who is best known for his slashed canvases but who actually started out as a sculptor himself, this show includes around 30 works. Some unusual examples of Fontana’s slashes appear along with works from his Barocchi series, which pair up attractively with Melotti’s delicate and thin metal sculptures. The curatorial link between the two is their predilection for empty space—how Fontana used his cuts to suggest infinity, and how Melotti paired space with geometry in the quest to find balance in his sculpture. The works come at a wide range of prices, from €100,000 to €6m.
Rodolfo Aricò: Line of Demarcation5 October-17 December
Luxembourg & Dayan, 2 Saville Row
Luxembourg & Dayan are going off the beaten track and presenting work by the relatively little-known Italian artist Rodolfo Aricò. The exhibition aims to put his shaped canvases into a familiar art historical context and to introduce it to the city’s collectors, some of whom are beginning to baulk at the prices for the top Italian artists, such as Fontana, Manzoni and Burri, and are looking for more affordable options for their collections. The show has been organised in conjunction with the artist’s archive and is the first major solo show of his work in London. Prices range from around €40,000 to €250,000.
Arte Programmata: Italian Kinetic Art from the 1960s4 October-20 December, M&L Fine Art, 15 Old Bond Street
The newly opened M&L gallery is presenting a group show of experimental works by Italian artists including Giovanni Anceschi, Gianni Colombo, Bruno Munari and Marina Apollonio. The common thread of the exhibition is art and technology, and it aims to show how these artists were at the forefront of the artistic experimentation of their time. The exhibition is organised in collaboration with the art historian and curator Marco Meneguzzo, and visitors will be able to interact with the works as the artists originally intended. Works are priced at €40,000 to €50,000.