Giovanni Anselmo

Italian (Borgofranco d'Ivrea, Italy, 1934)

Grigi che si alleggeriscono verso oltremàre (Grays Lightening toward...

1988
sculpture | stone, steel cable, slipknot, and ultramarine blue pigment
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  • Grigi che si alleggeriscono verso oltremàre (Grays Lightening toward...

    Giovanni Anselmo, Grigi che si alleggeriscono verso oltremàre (Grays Lightening toward..., 1988; stone, steel cable, slipknot, and ultramarine blue pigment, 108 in. x 240 in. x 24 in. (274.32 cm x 609.6 cm x 60.96 cm); Collection SFMOMA, Accessions Committee Fund: gift of Frances and John G. Bowes, Harriet G. Henderson, Helen and Charles Schwab, and Phyllis and Stuart Moldaw; © Giovanni Anselmo


This sculpture is, in effect, a landscape. At the artist's request, the final word in the title's English translation remains in Italian to suggest the work's double meaning. Oltremàre literally means "ultramarine," a semiprecious pigment made from powdered lapis lazuli that artists have used for centuries. This first meaning provides a formal description of the work, which consists of gray blocks of granite suspended by thin steel cables over a small rectangle of dark, intense ultramarine blue painted on the wall. Oltremàre also means "overseas," however, which transforms the work into a poetic landscape of gray clouds drifting over a deep blue sea. The 250-pound rocks seem almost weightless, and the abstract monochrome painting beneath them stands in for the endless horizon of the ocean.


108 in. x 240 in. x 24 in. (274.32 cm x 609.6 cm x 60.96 cm)
Acquired 1989
Collection SFMOMA
Accessions Committee Fund: gift of Frances and John G. Bowes, Harriet G. Henderson, Helen and Charles Schwab, and Phyllis and Stuart Moldaw
© Giovanni Anselmo
89.159

Tags

stones, rocks, hanging, gray, pairs


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