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Unprimed canvases

160 x 230 x 230 cm (six parts 112 x 160 cm each)

Signed, titled, and dated on the verso of the vertical canvas on the left, top: “Giulio Paolini / Narciso / 1966”

Fondazione Giulio e Anna Paolini, Turin

Gift of the artist, 25 October 2012, archive no. GPO-0095

Three square primed canvases, each of which divided into two rectangular triangles, mirror the three perpendicular planes forming the corner of a room, while at the same time creating the image of an open cube. The specular doubling of the canvases is highlighted in the title, which evokes the myth of Narcissus, who fell in love with his own image reflected in a body of water.
The work is part of the research that distinguished the artist's output in 1966. Starting from the same premise – canvases juxtaposed so that they mark the corner of a room, seen as the elementary point of origin of a space – many different optical configurations were developed, calling into play the gap between the logical assumption – the elementary and rational given – and the illogical and mutating complexity of the perception. Within this series of works,
Narciso is a variant of Ut-op (GPO-0094), with which it shares the same structural design, segmented in a different way.

1967 Turin, Teatro Stabile, Sala delle Colonne, Proposte 1. Giulio Paolini, 2 March, no catalogue.
1967 Venice, Galleria del Leone, Giulio Paolini, from 7 August, cited in the checklist of exhibited works, not repr.
1967 Turin, Galleria Christian Stein, Giulio Paolini, from 8 November.
1968 Rome, QUI arte contemporanea, Fabro, Kounellis, Paolini, from 24 April, cited in the checklist of exhibited works, not repr.
G. Celant, “Prima della ‘pittura’, Giulio Paolini”, in Marcatrè 30-33 (Milan), July, 1967, repr. p. 271.
M. Volpi Orlandini, “L’art pauvre”, in Opus International 16 (Paris), March, 1970, repr. p. 43.
“QUI incontri”, in QUI arte contemporanea 7 (Rome), December, 1971, repr. p. 5 (exhibition view Venice 1967; erroneously cited as exhibited in the solo show “Vedo”, Rome 1970).
Giulio Paolini, vol. Images/Index (Villeurbanne: Le Nouveau Musée, 1984), repr. p. 23.
Giulio Paolini. "Tutto qui", exhibition catalogue, Ravenna, Pinacoteca Comunale, Loggetta Lombardesca (Ravenna: Agenzia Editoriale Essegi, 1985), repr. no. 7.
G. Paolini, Suspense. Breve storia del vuoto in tredici stanze (Florence: Hopeful Monster editore, 1988), repr. p. 66 (exhibition view Venice 1967).
Giulio Paolini 1960-1972, edited by G. Celant (Milan: Fondazione Prada, 2003), repr. pp. 174, 197 (exhibition view Venice 1967).
M. Disch, Giulio Paolini. Catalogo ragionato 1960-1999, vol. 1 (Milan: Skira editore, 2008), cat. no. 95 p. 124, repr.
T. Migliore, “Ritratti ‘portratti’. Giulio Paolini e l’identikit dell’artista”, in L’immagine che siamo. Ritratto e soggettività nell’estetica contemporanea, edited by M.G. Di Monte, M. Di Monte and H. de Riedmatten (Rome: Carocci editore, 2014), p. 125, not repr.
Imagine. Nuove immagini nell’arte italiana 1960-1969, exhibition catalogue, Venice, Peggy Guggenheim Collection (Venice: Marsilio Editori, 2016), repr. p. 220 (exhibition view Venice 1967).
Giulio Paolini. Del Bello ideale, exhibition catalogue, Milan, Fondazione Carriero (London: Koenig Books, 2019), repr. vol. 2 p. 20 (exhibition view Venice 1967).
Entry by Maddalena Disch , 23/02/2024