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The George Economou Collection opens En Grisaille Nowadays

The George Economou Collection presents En Grisaille Nowadays an exhibition on view 8 March–17 May 2013.

Andreas Gursky
Andreas Gursky, Untitled VI, 1997. C-print in artist’s frame, 186.5 x 238.5 cm. Courtesy: Spruth Magers Berlin London © VG Bild-Kunst/OSDEETE 2013.

The exhibiton explores the variety and depth of the possibilities of grey painting in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Curated by Skarlet Smatana, director of the George Economou Collection, with the collaboration of writer Frances Guerin, the exhibition features works by Adam McEwen, Andreas Gursky, Yayoi Kusama, Heinz Mack, Jim Dine, Cady Noland, Charles Ray, Agnes Martin, Martin Kippenberger.

In its use through the centuries, grey has been a medium and colour for experimentation and reflection. Grey is neither and both black and white, it is the only colour that has the capacity to absorb and reflect light, extending infinitely between warm and cool. It is the only colour in a constant process of transformation. All of the works on exhibition here embrace this ambiguity when they ask questions: What is painting? What is representation? What is the relationship of both to the historical moment in which we live? Each work challenges the boundaries of its medium, whether it be Andreas Gursky’s photograph of a well-known painting by Jackson Pollock, or Charles Ray’s exploration at the interface between representation, advertising, and the industrial production of the aluminium in which it is made. These works all inhabit a materiality that is neither and both, a powerful uncertainty that is given them by their colour grey.

Visitors will notice the recurrence of aluminium and other metals. From Adam McEwen’s Big Stretcher (2011) on the ground floor, through Heinz Mack’s and even Cady Noland’s pieces on the second floor, all the way up to Charles Ray’s Sunflower Relief (2011) on the third, the exhibition gives voice to the conversation with industry that has inspired and often been the raison d’être of art in the twentieth century. Again, this conversation is most convincing when brought to life by grey. Because grey is the colour that mirrors the materials, the mood, and the method of the industrial and post-industrial cultures in which we live.

En Grisaille Nowadays illustrates the vital role of grey in the dynamic development of the history of art. We see this in the obvious reference to abstract painting in Gursky’s photograph. Agnes Martin’s Untitled, no. 5 (1985), for example, also takes us back to the painted expanse inviting contemplation toward Romantic landscapes of the mid-nineteenth century. Indeed, the three sections of the exhibition, corresponding to the three floors—Painting/Abstraction; Identity/Portrait; Landscape/Still life—remind us, for all of its understanding of the modern, industrial world, representation in grey begins and carries through it, the classical genres of painting.

The George Economou Collection
80, Kifissias Ave. & 77 Grammou Str., 151 25 Marousi, Athens, Greece
Hours: Monday–Friday 10–6pm, Thursday 10–8pm
Admission free
T +30 2108090595
[email protected]

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