Control Freak

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Infuriating. It’s good to inflict a little bit of discord every so often and observe the resulting consternation. Giorgio Griffa made a career of it. Painted on raw un-stretched canvases with their unfolding still showing, his works are pinned limply. There are no frames and they never seem quite complete or finished. They are simple linen hangings or banners in the manner of medieval room-warming tapestries – mere provincial ‘arte povera’ accoutrements.

Very few artists in whatever medium walk away from their creation and declare that it is the complete and perfectly realised object they intended from the get-go. And so it is with the work of Giorgio Griffa. You can see a pattern emerging, a sequence of colours or broad-brush strokes. Magenta, red, blue, ochre and again repeated in thin arcs for several sequences until they inextricably halt. The artist deliberately stops the process – the rhythm, the beats stop. All the works are abandoned invariably it seems at that infuriating 2/3 equilibrium point. Why didn’t he just finish the damn thing?

But of course that is the very point. The idea that a perfect realisation will never pertain. Nothing can ever be complete, fixed, or finished to perfection. We start so many endeavours but never reach completion. But it is the very task of making and creating that is ultimately the crack-cocaine to keep us doing it again and again.

These are very simple, basic works with an obvious minimalist quality but prepare to be infuriated.

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Douglas Hyde Gallery, Trinity College, until the 30th July.

all images courtesy of the Douglas Hyde Gallery.

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