Skip to navigation Skip to main content
Back to all fairs

TEFAF Spring

Park Avenue Armory, New York

Fair description

Axel Vervoordt’s presentation at TEFAF Spring 2019 includes the works of artists: Raimund Girke, Lucio Fontana, Tsuyoshi Maekawa, Yuko Nasaka, Roman Opalka, Kazuo Shiraga, Takis, Jef Verheyen, Jiro Yoshihara, Yun Hyong-Keun and José Zanine Caldas.

The stand explores concepts of infinity and limitlessness, omnipresence and ubiquity, spatiality and dimensionality. The starting point for this is the sculpture Concetto Spaziale. Natura - 59/60 N7 by Lucio Fontana. The work is a meteorite shaped bronze sphere with a crater in the middle. Fontana believed that the incision signalised “a desire to make the inert material live.” The Natura series was partly inspired by thoughts of the “atrocious unnerving silence awaiting man in space,” and the need to leave a “living sign” of the artist's presence.

Such a notch was made by José Zanine Caldas, who sculpted a circular cavity out of a cube-shaped pedestal. By combining the cube, the symbol of the earthly, with the circle, the symbol of the infinite, Caldas created his own kind of solar system. He used the wood’s natural curves to create an organic sculpture.

A strongly contrasting material choice applies in Takis' work, although the theme is similar: the Greek artist makes works that sensitively deploy the forces of nature. “Energy is everywhere. Energy floats, it is circular, it spirals, it surrounds us.” Takis charges the void, in order to make it eloquent.

Jiro Yoshihara’s may be characterised by a similar emptiness. By painting a black background, a white remnant remains, resulting in an endless circle. Additional work from artists of the Gutai Art Association will be presented, in particular, Tsuyoshi Maekawa, Yuko Nasaka and Kazuo Shiraga. Nasaka's circular forms can be seen as lunar landscapes or wheels of life, while the work of Maekawa and Shiraga were about the repetitive action of the art practice itself. Nevertheless, Shiraga's work BB20 is centripetal: he applied the paint with his fingers from the centre of the work to the contours. A similar shade towards the outside can be seen in the work of Yun Hong-Keun, with which the artist wants to arouse an enduring appreciation, inspired by the cycle of nature. “I want to make paintings that, like nature, one never tires of looking at.”

Roman Opalka was inspired by the idea of infinity throughout his life. Upon his death, he reached “the finite defined by the non-finite”, when his series of painting numbers in perpetuity was limited by the number 5607249. An urge for repetitiveness can be found in Raimund Girke's work, in which white takes on an almost meditative character. The German painter did not want to represent anything except the elementary. Elementary is also what remains in the purified landscape painted by Jef Verheyen. Verheyen placed himself in the tradition of Constant Permeke and Gustave De Smet, albeit completely abstracted.

Next to all of this is a marble head of the god Helios, dating from the second century AD. Helios is the personification of the Sun, responsible for the sunrise and sunset. This makes the sculpture, which is almost two millennia old, representative of the idea of heavenly bodies, of eternal omnipresence and of cyclical repetition.

Related content

Fair images

  • Lucio Fontana, Concetto Spaziale. Natura - 59/60 N7, 1959-1960, later cast in 1962-1963. Bronze, 80cm
    © Courtesy of Axel Vervoordt Gallery