Pieter Vermeersch in Milan
Pieter Vermeersch presents a monumental site-specific installation at Antonini Milano, in collaboration with Galleria P240 of Bologna through January 12, 2024.
Pieter Vermeersch takes over gallery spaces in the historic Palazzo Borromeo in Milan, the showroom of Antonini, the historic jewellery maker that has been an important part of Milanese tradition and luxury since 1919. The site specific exhibition includes a monumental installation of twenty canvases, totalling eighteen-metres in length, in dialogue with several paintings on marble and a small wall painting.
“I have been creating a frieze which functions as an illusionary horizon. I see it as a way of looking further ahead in time towards an indeterminate future, as a reply to the historical context of Palazzo Borromeo where we have the opportunity to look back in time,” writes Vermeersch.
The frieze, installed high up on the wall, between the door frame and the ceiling, includes twenty-paintings echoing the colours of the remains of the only surviving fresco in the palazzo. Moving from shades of sky blue through deep to light violet, dusty pink to orangey-peach ending on an almost fleshy tone, the colour palate invariably evokes a feeling of the sky as the sun rises or sets over the horizon. But one can imagine it across the palazzo as well, reflecting the sun and embracing its history. Vermeersch wanted to create a chromatic connection between his work and the palazzo. As for the unusual placement of the frieze, this was something new in Vermeersch’s work. He explains, “The frieze functions more in relation with the whole space. it interacts and envelops [the space] more. During the lockdowns I started to develop some series of paintings, some of them up to 50 paintings in the series, and I thought the palazzo would be a good place to try out a new idea. The height also relates to a frieze that we might see in an old church or palazzo, not to create an ornamental illusion but spatial one”.
The paintings on marble are something the artist has been developing for many years as a way to play with a hard surface that connects to the earth and the illusion of painting. “I see marble as the most pictorial result of a geological history. It’s a crystallization of time through matter. In painting the rock, I am also taking away some of its more tangible qualities to become more illusory”.
Opposite the suite of marble paintings is a quick gestural brush stroke in a mauvy tone, the colour comes from a mix of all of the colours found across the frieze and, as Vermeersch notes, “it is a sort of implosion of the width of the frieze into a moment in time.
Born in Belgium, Vermeersch lives and works in Turin, Italy. He often works in site specific contexts, collaborating with architects including Office Kersten Geers David Van Severen, and pushing the ground between abstraction, painting, silkscreen and photography.
Pieter Vermeersch’s solo exhibition is on view at the Palazzo Borromeo, Antonini, Milano through January 12, 2024.