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Alberto Burri

Zurich, 15 February, following the Alberto Burri exhibition at Mitchell-Innes & Nash, de Pury & Luxembourg is proud to present the first solo show in Switzerland of Italian post-war artist Alberto Burri (1915-1995). For the first time in 26 years, De Pury & Luxembourg display the full cycle of 12 monumental Cellotex paintings that Alberto Burri was commissioned to produce in 1982 for an exhibition at the Palm Springs Desert Museum, California. This cycle of work was composed by Burri as a group, and each work interacts with the other resembling the spiritual and contemplative power of a Mark Rothko chapel. This cycle of work belongs to a transformation process that began several years earlier. Burri used Cellotex as early as the 1950's, although mostly as a support for his acrylic and acetate works. In the 1970's he started creating the Cellotex Multiplex works, but it was only within the Palm Springs Cycle that we find him reducing the material to its pure essence and simultaneously exploiting it to its full visual power. Characterised by simple compositional devices and basic colouring, these works are inherently classical. Visually referring to the history of painting, Burri has applied three specific compositional devices: a tripartite division of space, a dual or equal division and the single placement, with the Roman arch curve building the main form. The strength of this cycle of work lies in the tension between the sense and feel of an old master painting combined with the means and language of a truly contemporary artist. Although Burri continued to produce Cellotex works of no less formal and pictorial power, it is this group's unique compositional balance and stability that places the Palm Springs Cycle so prominently within his oeuvre.