Project Description

Alberto Burri (Città di Castello 1915 – Nice 1995), Crack Black D

Etching and aquatint on Fabriano Rosaspina paper 67 x 96 cm signed in pencil (Burri) lower right and numbered XV / XV lower left, made in 1971 by the RC printing house, Rome.

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Burri is applied to Cretti (Tuscan word for “ckacks”), perhaps the most important invention of the Umbrian artist (not by chance, exploded in the epochal and monumental Cretto di Gibellina, one of the artistic “monuments” of the twentieth century), starting from the early Seventies and up to 1976 They are surfaces that recall the fissures of the clayey lands, when the drought reaches its peak. On cellotex surfaces, square or rectangular, it spreads a poultice of white, zinc and vinyl glues, adding colored earth in case the work has to show different shades or colors. The rest entrusts it to the drying process. In reality, these “treatments”, which express a sophisticated level of decoration, are structures that attract the eye towards the surface, calling the viewer inside the painting, as in the Byzantine reversed perspective.

A special word deserves the Cretti blacks, because, as Cesare Brandi wrote, here also the short border that encloses them is black. Thus the diffuse light of the white sheet is lost, and a dense shadow rises up in its place, blurring the cracked surface, rising up like a dense tide, and seems to stand between the cracks. But it is clear that the spraying that receives the incision is the same, albeit with a negative sign. The shadow, like an extinguished light.

Alberto Burri

The succession of the Otto Cretti folder (7 blacks 1 white) of 1971 is emerging. In comparison with the single work, it is noted that the definite and sharp, almost sharp fragmentation is matched by the nuanced cracking, refined in the emergencies of the paper material. Everything is softer and more rounded, so that light plays a different role, of clear clarification in the first case, creator of material aggregates emerging from the space in the second, which recall recurrent forms in the artist’s painting. Indeed, the graphic “translation”, carried out with etching and aquatint, combined with relief printing on very thick paper dates back to that year. This is the case of the work presented here, a black crack made by treating Fabriano Rosaspina paper, a machine-made cotton support in the round. The research conducted by Burri on the cracks will reach its apogee after three years when in 1974, he will create the Nero Cretto, inspired by the vision of the desert taken from the window of his cell in a prison in Texas.