Tate Etc. looks at a recent acquisition, currently on view at Tate Modern
Tate Etc. How did you go about making this work?
Giorgio Griffa It was made step by step - occupying a fragment of space with a fragment of action. The question for me has been: how is it possible to paint with a brush on canvas without going back to the past in a conservative way, while following the path of Jackson Pollock’s drips, Morris Louis’s staining, Lucio Fontana’s cuts and holes and Bruce Nauman’s images?
Tate Etc. How do you work with the colours?
GG Water-based colours bring me back to the idea of fresco painting, not only as an Italian tradition, but one that belongs to more or less every culture. I use liquid colours so they are elastic.
Tate Etc. When you decided to fold your work, were you thinking mainly about storage, or did you hope the creases would form a grid that was part of the composition?
GG I think the original creases are part of the composition. But this is only a formal quality, and not so important. It may change. It is important that the free fabric is a protagonist - that it is not neutral. And it is important that my work can change in time, like a living organism, and the creases may alter or disappear. I fold the fabrics because this is the normal way to store them.
Tate Etc. How do you feel about having your work on display at Tate Modern?
GG It’s an honour, a gratification and a reward after many years of work.
Giorgio Griffa (born 1936) lives and works in Turin.