Sandro Chia: I Think Therefore I Paint

London, 21/01 -10/12, 2016

Jerome Zodo Gallery is proud to announce a solo exhibition by the highly respected Transavanguardia artist: Sandro Chia.

If the thought of modern man can be expressed in the Cartesian expression, “Cogito ergo sum” (I think therefore I am), for an artist like Sandro Chia, a central figure in the Transavanguardia movement and among the greatest exponents of international contemporary painting, artistic thought cannot be separated from the gesture of painting. Do not be misled by the hasty distinction made between those who use canvas and brush, and those who prefer methodologies ​​seemingly more intellectual and cold. All current pictorial productions, in fact, are founded in a conceptual revolution, and thus it is no longer possible to consider art without regard to the primacy of intelligence and cognitive logic.

Penso quindi dipingo (I Think Therefore I Paint) is the title of one of the most significant works created by Sandro Chia, part of a solo exhibition that signals his return to London after many decades and recommences his pictorial exploration of work in a grand format, created during the period between 2000 and today.

Chia’s monumental, evocative, and sensual paintings prove consistently faithful to an idea of ​​pure, direct, substantial art that researches through images and figures the real inspirational essence of myth and history. He uses figures with massive bodies, titans, and giants, contrasted with suspended, thoughtful, and sometimes melancholy features. He uses men and women borrowed from a distant past, but Chia places them into a reality still in flux, suspended between heaven and earth, and between metaphor and paradox. His paintings celebrate the triumph of chromaticism; if on the one hand the gestures refer to classicism, and on the other the vibrancy of the colors and bright contrasts, they reveal the peculiarities of an increasingly original but equally recognizable vision.

Chia approaches painting in a direct and even manner, placing himself above all else at the center of his reflections. His iconographic images are now familiar to us: dancers, athletes, musicians, thinkers, angels, and Harlequin masks: with these figures/symbols the painter is not suspended in time, but accepts the challenge of presenting a contemporary sensibility that also reflects specific archetypes and references. The giant figures are enclosed in spaces which, though they appear large and colorful, are hardly able to support the majesty of these bodies and, perhaps even less, their spirit.

– Luca Beatrice

Born in Florence, Italy in 1946, Sandro Chia is an Italian painter, draughtsman, printmaker and sculptor.

Chia studied at the Istituto d’Arte and then at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence where he graduated in 1969. After graduating, Chia travelled around Europe and to India before settling in Rome. He began exhibiting his work in 1971, a year after moving to Rome, later referring to his early productions as ‘mythical conceptual art’. In the late 1970s he returned to painting and quickly established himself as a major artist of the movement in Italian figurative painting known as the Transavanguardia.

He has exhibited at the Biennale of Paris and San Paolo and three times at the Venice Biennale. His work has been part of internationally acclaimed museum group shows. Amongst his most important personal shows are exhibitions at the Stedelijk Museum of Amsterdam (1983), the Metropolitan Museum of New York (1984), the National Galerie of Berlin (1984, 1992), the Museum of Modern Art of Paris (1984); the Museums of Dusseldorf (1984), Antwerp (1989), Mexico City (1989); Palazzo Medici Riccardi in Florence (1991); the Museums of Karlsruhe (1992), Palm Springs (1993), Villa Medici in Rome (1995); Palazzo Reale in Milan (1997), the Boca Raton Museum of Art, Florida (1997), the Galleria Civica of Siena (1997), the Galleria Civica in Trento (2000), the Museo d’Arte of Ravenna (2000); Palazzo Pitti and the Museo Archeologico Nazionale of Florence (2002); and most recently the Duomo of St. Agostino in Pietrasanta (2005) and Galleria Nazionale di Arte Moderna of Rome (GNAM) (2010).