More than Zero – Glass tallks to Stefano Cortesi owner of Cortesi Gallery which opens in London this week

More than Zero – Glass tallks to Stefano Cortesi owner of Cortesi Gallery which opens in London this week

The London branch of the Cortesi Gallery opens this week, two years after their first gallery in Lugano, Switzerland. The gallery project started after quite a long journey for Stefano Cortesi as a collector. Cortesi began collecting in the 1980s with figurative paintings for the first ten years and then taking a different direction, as London Gallery Director Andrea Cortesi explained speaking about his father’s collection to Glass.

The turning point for Cortesi’s collection arrived in the 1990s with the acquisition of one of Alighiero Boetti’s Maps, one of the most representative work from the coloured tapestry series. This piece represented a significant change in Cortesi’s interests in modern and contemporary art.

There is no doubt the taste of the gallerist has affected and still affects predominantly the gallery. All of the past and upcoming exhibitions hosted by the gallery have a central thread of European culture of the 1960s and 1970s translated in the artistic movements like Spatialism, Arte Povera, Kinetic art, and Nuveau Realism. Many artists representative of these artistic movements joined the ZERO Group in the beginning of the 1960s.

More than Zero Cortesi Gallery

Founded in Düsseldorf in 1957 by Otto Piene and Heinz Mack (Günther Uecker joined in 1961), ZERO designated a new beginning in artistic and historical terms to leave received principles of art behind. In the 1950s, still in the wake of the oppressive experiences of wartime and in distinction from the gestural painting of Europe’s brand of Abstract Expressionism, Art Informel, ZERO consciously elaborated a monochrome pictorial language suffused with light. According to ZERO, art should be void of colour, emotion and individual expression.

During ZERO’s brief life (1957-1966) components such as Lucio Fontana and Yves Klein focused their own artistic practice on pure colours, translating their ideas into monochrome canvases. Others were using fire and smoke and new technical achievements like vibration and movement. Artists like Piero Manzoni were experimenting with the use of every day materials.

Together with groupings of artists forming concurrently and with other individually working artists artists working individually in Italy, France, Belgium and the Netherlands, ZERO revolutionised post-war art far beyond Europe’s limits with their new grammar of form and image.

The upcoming show at Cortesi Gallery, Great Expectations #2, represents a specific focus on this time-period curated by Marco Meneguzzo displaying 21 works from 18 artists representative of the ZERO group.It is a show in continuity with the journey that the gallery started in 2013 and that looks towards the niche of market that the gallery is point on.

Andrea Cortesi seems to have it very clear in mind what is going to be the leitmotiv of the London gallery and how they want to go further on their research. “We are trying to differentiate ourselves from the competitors, and the way we are doing it is being very specific with our research and our offer. We started with Arte Italiana from 1960s and 1970s, then a show about Scheggi, then Great Expectations #1, with a focus on kinetic art. We will inaugurate the new London gallery with Great Expectations #2, with a focus on Azimuth and ZERO group and soon we will switch a bit towards the German side which, according to us, is still very underestimated by collectors and the market in general.”

by Fausta Maria Bolettieri

Cortesi Gallery, 41 & 43 Maddox St, London W1S 2PD

Tel: +44 20 74 93 6009