David Zwirner is pleased to present an exhibition of works by German artist Palermo (1943-1977) at the gallery’s 537 West 20th Street location. The exhibition, organized in collaboration with the Palermo Archive, will feature a selection of rarely shown paintings, objects, and large-scale drawings made by the artist between 1973 and 1976.
Although often associated with particular twentieth century art historical practices and discourses—including abstraction, Minimalism, and Conceptual Art—Palermo’s diverse body of work defies easy classification. Throughout his brief and influential career, Palermo executed paintings, “objects,” installations, wall drawings, and works on paper that addressed the contextual and semantic issues at stake in the construction, exhibition, and reception of works of art. His handling of form, color, and composition comprises a complex and experimental investigation of aesthetic concepts and of the semiotic possibilities of visual language.
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This fully illustrated catalogue features new scholarship by Christine Mehring and Christoph Schreier and documents the 2013 exhibition at David Zwirner in New York. It is the first publication to tackle Palermo’s late work, which is characterized by explorations of the tensions between material and color, surface and depth, and figuration and abstraction—focusing in particular on the paper works he produced between 1976 and 1977, the last year of his life. “Less a system builder than an analyst working on intuition,” writes Schreier in his catalogue essay, Palermo “explored surface, shape, and color—the constituent elements of the image—with the aim of turning them into actors with a lively and delicately balanced play of forces.” The simplicity of the artist’s vision is beautifully evinced by the catalogue’s vibrant color plates, which reveal every stroke and each grain of paper shining through from behind the pigment.