Annet Gelink Gallery is delighted to present Sostanza, the first solo exhibition of Italian painter Roberto Coda Zabetta (1975, Biella, IT) with the gallery. Coda Zabetta believes it is possible to structure emotions on the painterly surface. For him, painting is a state of mind and, at the same time, a physical necessity.
Since 2014, Coda Zabetta has been working with pure abstraction, inspired by the importance of materials. The move from figurative to abstract is not necessarily an irreversible choice, but it allows the painter to take a step back and observe from a distance. Instead of concentrating on subjects, the artist focuses on pigments, colours and substances. Experimenting with textures, the artist not only uses traditional materials, but also different natural elements such as sand, organic materials, oyster shell dust, tar and chemical materials.
The title of the show comes from the Italian word Sostanza, which has different meanings. In current use, it can be translated into being the essence of something. It is also a term that, from the origins of philosophical thought, designates what remains below the changing appearances. And the word can also be used for a substance of a chemical composition that gives it particular characteristics.
In this exhibition, works from two series have been brought together. In his ‘films’ series, Coda Zabetta experiments with layers of wafer-thin pigments, creating fluid coloured paintings that almost seem to radiate. The transparency of the works, obtained by painting with air pressure, remind of traditional Chinese and Japanese watercolour landscapes. The paintings in his ‘more materical’ series look much more dense and materialistic, with the paint thickly applied in a single gesture. What looks like the expressive brush stroke is in fact created by applying paint with a spatula, evoking the idea of stucco on a wall.