Albers and Morandi: Never Finished will put each artist’s distinctive treatment of color, shape, form, morphology, and seriality in dialogue. Looking specifically at the stunning palettes of Morandi’s celebrated tabletop still lifes depicting humble vessels and vases and Albers’s seminal Homage to the Square series, the exhibition will elucidate how the two artists’ careful daily acts of duration and devotion allowed each to highlight the essence of color and the endless possibilities of their respective visual motifs.
This shared aesthetic intensity links both artists and underscores their deep commitment to their forms. As Morandi once said, “One can travel the world and see nothing. To achieve understanding it is necessary not to see many things, but to look hard at what you do see.”
Though both Albers and Morandi created formally unique approaches to painting, their individual explorations of color reveal visual connections that resound throughout the exhibition. Both artists had a novel understanding of how the quantity and interaction of color within a structured serial format could result in distinctive, visually vibrant compositions.
As Heinz Liesbrock, director of the Josef Albers Museum Quadrat Bottrop, notes, “Anyone who makes contact with Morandi’s and Albers’s pictures quickly discovers the central importance of color in the constitution of their pictorial cosmos. For Morandi, color defines forms and space—that is, it differentiates both planes and at the same time brings them closer together.… Albers’s color fields, on the other hand, although they are linearly defined and thus seem clearly separated from each other in the individual picture, merge into each other in the process of seeing, forming new connections and thereby blurring the levels of surface and space.”