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Like a number of his contemporaries, Manzoni wanted to banish narrative content from painting. For Manzoni, this meant removing even colour from his works. In 1957, he began to produce the achromes, which he described as ‘a single uninterrupted and continuous surface from which anything superfluous and all interpretative possibilities are excluded.’ He began by soaking his canvases in kaolin, a soft china clay used in making porcelain. The kaolin eliminated colour to the point of his desired ‘nothingness’. The weight of the material caused it to sag, creating folds across the surface of the canvas.

July 2008