Ida Barbarigo: Cafes

Cafés is a solo exhibition by the Italian artist Ida Barbarigo, which marks the first time the artist has exhibited in Hong Kong since his death at the age of 97 in 2018. Presented in collaboration with the Archivio Barbarigo-Cadorin-Music and the artist's estate, the exhibition includes 22 works from the late 1960s and 1970s, preserved in the artist's Venice residence for nearly 50 years, recently restored, and for the first time disclosed to the public.

The theme of the chair is a prominent feature in the artist’s fascinating work. Ubiquitous in her oeuvre, it remains her subject and becomes a personal script, a form of handwriting. Her replica of the chair captures unseen energy. In seemingly conscious and unconscious ways, the chair acts as a primary motivation for acquiring deep emotions, only to transform and evolve into something entirely different. She felt the atmosphere and energy of life in the city square and intended to express this materially.

In each series, the artist uses the most learned techniques she has ever mastered, possibly dating back to her childhood. She used a stiff brush scattered with turpentine to paint the surface to lighten the material. Her canvases become richer in substance and paint without ever being overcharged. Often violent brushstrokes in all directions show random breaks, cuts, streaks of solid color, bright red, emeralds, which are also sometimes glazed on the surface like embossed droplets, ordered chaos almost like life itself.

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