Exhibitions in Singapore: Artist Gianfranco Zappettini at Richard Koh Fine Art gallery

Italian artist Gianfranco Zappettini presents fifty years of creative process in his ongoing solo exhibition

Jul 18, 2017 | By Ilyda Chua

Gianfranco Zappettini, ‘The Weft and The Warp No. 142 (La trama e l’ordito n 142)’, 2009. Image courtesy Archivio Fondazione Zappettini and Richard Koh Fine Art

Inspired by principles of Eastern philosophy, the trademark ‘white’ works and superimposed canvasses of Genoa-born artist Gianfranco Zappettini are expressions of a genius that borders on obsession. In an exhibition that details Zappettini’s fifty-year-long career, we explore the elements of technique, theory, and creative process that, half a century ago, made the artist so far ahead of his time.

Presented at Richard Koh Fine Art (RKFA), best known for featuring South-east Asian artists, the exhibition is part of the gallery’s ongoing efforts to expose audiences to more diverse art and practices, including an upcoming show by an African artist. “It might come as a surprise, but we first started by featuring Middle Eastern artists, gradually expanding across the region to include South Asian and Chinese artists, and eventually to what you see in our programming today,” says founder Richard Koh.

Image courtesy Richard Koh Fine Art

Since his very first works in the 70s, Zappettini has held the belief that the thought behind a work is equal to the work itself; in other words, the invisible holds just as much importance as what is visible. Focusing on structure and method rather than an intentional effort towards aestheticism or beauty, his art holds a symbolism independent from their final appearance, which curator Alberto Rigoni calls a consequence rather than an aim.

Zappettini’s works are conceptualised in a way that is almost obsessively methodical — which, on further thought, is not atypical of an artist, despite the unconventionality of its expression. In his ‘white’ works, for example, Zappettini establishes a predetermined number of layers of white acrylic necessary to cover an initially black base. The final work appears little more than an empty canvas, and it would be just that if not for the amount of thought and calculation that went into its creation.

Exhibition highlights include his superimposed canvasses from the ‘Tele Sovrapposte’ series, which features different pieces of canvas stretched out and layered on each other, as well as ‘La trama e l’ordito No.117’ (2008) from his most recent series where he revisits the Genovese tradition of macramé.

Gianfranco Zappettini, ‘The Weft and The Warp No. 117 (La trama e l’ordito n 117)’, 2008. Image courtesy Archivio Fondazione Zappettini and Richard Koh Fine Art

The exhibition, is a survey of Zappettini’s earlier works from 1966 to his most recent series, titled ‘Weft and Warp’. It will run at RKFA till 27 July 2017.

ilyda chua

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