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Masonite panels

201 x 70 cm (two parts 100 x 70 cm each)

Signed and dated on the verso of the upper panel, on a white paper square: “Giulio Paolini” (upper left), “1964” (lower left)

Fondazione Giulio e Anna Paolini, Turin

Gift of the artist, 25 October 2012, archive no. GPO-0056

Two masonite panels juxtaposed vertically (their versos joined and kept slightly apart by small adhesives in between them) imply a dilemma of identity: an ambiguity between the painting and the wall, the copy and the original.
The work is one of the eight works exhibited in the first solo exhibition of the artist's work at the Galleria La Salita in Rome in 1964, comprising simple plywood panels that when placed on the ground or hung from the wall, in the artist's words, “‘replace’ the presence of pictures on the walls and analyze the purely conventional rapports of an exhibition”(1973).
1 By expanding the gesture that merely suggests the possible vision of a painting, chosen by Paolini from the very outset as a paradigm of his own exploration, these works pave the way to the question that the painting raises at the moment of its exhibition and therefore its perception.
The presence on the verso of the panel of the photographic reproduction of a naked male arm harks back to a characteristic of the cycle of works made in 1963, which centered on the involvement of both the recto and the verso, regardless, however, of a logical correlation between the two sides of the painting.

1 G. Paolini, "Note di lavoro", in NAC 3 (Milan), March, 1973, p. 10. Cf. also Paolini's letter to Plinio De Martiis on 4 July 1964, in which, after critical considerations with respect to the triumph of Pop Art at the 1964 Venice Biennale, the artist reveals in advance to the Roman art dealer the project of his own exhibition in these terms: "My ‘exhibition’, once the Biennale ends, will finally be an explicit representation, a definitive one, of the current situation, and the intention is already there to direct my activity towards a state of simply ‘being’, with no further mediations, expedients, or any other type of aesthetic accessories" (manuscript in the Archivio di Stato di Latina, La Tartaruga Collection, Folder 26).

1964 Rome, Galleria La Salita, Giulio Paolini, from 31 October.
1998 Rome, Spazio per l’arte contemporanea Tor Bella Monaca, 20 mostre a La Salita dal 1960 al 1978. Omaggio a Gian Tomaso Liverani, 2 December 1998 - 10 January 1999, no catalogue, cited in the checklist of exhibited works in the visitor's guide.
2002 Faenza, Galleria Comunale d’Arte, Omaggio a Tomaso Liverani, 28 September 2002 - 7 January 2003, col. repr. n. pag.
2019 Rome, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Mostre in mostra. Roma contemporanea dagli anni Cinquanta ai Duemila/1, 30 May - 28 July, no catalogue.
G. Paolini, “Note di lavoro”, in NAC 3 (Milan), March, 1973, p. 10; republished in Id., Idem (Turin: Giulio Einaudi editore, 1975), p. 42.
Conceptual Art, Arte Povera, Land Art, exhibition catalogue, Turin, Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna, 1970, repr. p. 97 (caption p. 203).
G. Paolini, Idem (Turin: Giulio Einaudi editore, 1975), repr. p. 14.
Giulio Paolini (Parma: Università di Parma, Centro Studi e Archivio della Comunicazione, 1976), repr. no. 47.
Giulio Paolini 1960-1972, edited by G. Celant (Milan: Fondazione Prada, 2003), col. repr. p.114.
M. Disch, Giulio Paolini. Catalogo ragionato 1960-1999, vol. 1 (Milan: Skira editore, 2008), cat. no. 56 p. 89, col. repr.
Entry by Maddalena Disch , 23/02/2024