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Burri was among the advocates of art informed who proposed a break with traditional notions of order and composition and pursued spontaneous, non figurative forms. His use of so-called poor materials, like the torn and stained burlap bags, makes him a precursor of Arte Povera, Italy’s most radical movement after Futurism. In 1960 he was awarded the critic’s prize for his solo show at the Venice Biennale. Grande Cretto Nero is the largest work made by Burri. It is composed of more than seven hundred pieces of ceramic tile, each one painstakingly assembled by Italian craftsmen. When an oil painting ages, the surface of the picture often splits into a web of fine cuts, known as craquelures. Burri’s Cretti are reminiscent of that effect.
Curator, Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts
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