Louise Giovanelli - Whitechapel Gallery Art Icon Charity Auction London Wednesday, March 16, 2022 | Phillips
  • Equator, a new painting made specifically by Louise Giovanelli for Whitechapel Gallery, continues the artist’s interest in hair explored in her solo exhibition at GRIMM Gallery, New York in 2021. As is typical of her luscious and light-filled paintings, Equator delights in texture and sheen. The artist comments: “I am not interested in the human form, per se, but rather the colour meeting the light that meets the texture,” she said. “And sometimes they happen to contain figures.”i

    Light plays a central role in Giovanelli’s work, which often appears glittered and glitzy, reflecting the sheen of shirts, hair, gemstones, curtains and glitter derived from images she sources from the cinema and Instagram. While seemingly glamorous, her work also contains a dark underbelly. Giovanelli is interested in thresholds, often cropping her representations of hair or curtains that imply a lack of access – in this case, to the subject. We see the hair but not the person behind it. Who is she? Is she on the stage or off the stage, on display in some way? Is it a wig? The work is intentionally left ambiguous, creating space for a range of narrative possibilities. The artist’s interest in thresholds is further emphasised by the central dividing line – the equator – that suggests a further boundary.


    Installation view, Auto-da-fé, GRIMM, New York. Photo: Pierre Les Hors

    Working in the studio to create her glittering compositions, in each painting Giovanelli builds up five or six layers of paint in a manner reminiscent of Old Master painters:

     “My process is quite similar to that of the Old Masters, with a thin glaze of underpainting which, when left untouched, lets light reflect through the white gesso.”ii   Each painting requires five or six layers of paint. 


    Louise Giovanelli in her studio. Photo: Michael Pollard

    Louise Giovanelli is one of the most exciting painters working in the UK today. Recent exhibitions include Mixing It Up: Painting Today at the Hayward Gallery, as well as solo exhibitions at GRIMM Gallery (2021 and 2020), Workplace (2020 and 2019) and Manchester Art Gallery (2019). Her work is held in numerous international collections including the Government Art Collection, Kunstmuseum Den Haag, Akzo Nobel Art Foundation and Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, FL. In 2021, Giovanelli was selected as one of 20 artists for The Artsy Vanguard.


    i Osman Can Yerebakan, The Artsy Vanguard 2021: Louise Giovanelli, Artsy, 1 December 2021, online 
    ii Ibid. 

    • Description

      Image: Michael Pollard

      Condition reports, Lot descriptions and information in respect of Lots included in this Online-Only Auction have been prepared exclusively by Whitechapel Gallery following Whitechapel Gallery’s assessment of the Lots. Phillips and its staff are not responsible in any way for such statements, representations or opinions or for any other information provided in respect of the Lots, whether by Whitechapel Gallery, on Phillips website or in any other form.

    • Provenance

      Donated by the artist and GRIMM, Amsterdam | New York



signed and dated 'Louise Giovanelli '22' on the reverse
oil on canvas
42.5 x 20.5 cm (16 3/4 x 8 1/8 in.)
Painted in 2022.

Full Cataloguing

£6,000 - 8,000 


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