Margherita Manzelli - Contemporary Art Evening London Thursday, February 11, 2010 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    greengrassi, London

  • Exhibited

    London, greengrassi, Margherita Manzelli. Paintings, 26 September - 24 October, 1998

  • Catalogue Essay

    As one of the leading figurative painters of her generation, Margherita Manzelli’s acclaimed oeuvre consists primarily of large-scale paintings and delicate works on paper depicting haunting, oddly ravishing images of solitary women isolated within an abstracted, pictorial dream space. Although the Milan-based artist, who has been active since the mid-90s, claims her works are not intended as self-portraits, they nevertheless bear both a physical and psychic resemblance to her. Manzelli herself admits ‘I would like them to be different to me. And yet I realize that this very desire is symptomatic of the fact that something of myself remains in them’ (the artist, quoted in H. Kontova, ‘Margherita Manzelli, Giving Sense to the Senseless’, Flash Art 33, no. 210, Jan/Feb 2000, pp. 102–03). Manzelli’s mute, still women, with their emaciated and subtly deformed bodies, are engaged in no activity other than staring, their penetrating eyes locked in a weirdly knowing confrontation with the viewer. The present lot, an early work from 1998, depicts a vulnerable and naked androgynous female emerging from the darkness of a pitch-black background. Her furrowed brow, intense stare and awkward posture make the viewer feel ill at ease when confronted with this monumental canvas. The figure is painfully aware that she is on display creating a psychological and erotic tension between artist, sitter and viewer.
    “These women [the figures in Margherita Manzelli’s work] are, in many ways, ciphers for the artist’s own conscious and unconscious anxieties. By abstracting aspects of her identity into a series of nameless, placeless, indistinct women, Manzelli is able to transfer her emotional and personal concerns onto another, deflecting attention from herself and ultimately eluding all forms of apprehension. In this sense Margherita Manzelli’s intensely mediated exchanges with the world, whether in the form of live actions, paintings or drawings, are designed to conceal as much as they reveal.”
    (Exhibition catalogue, Margherita Manzelli, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, 2004, n.p.)



Oil on canvas.
220 x 150 cm. (86 x 59 in).
Signed, titled and dated 'Diencephale Margherita Manzelli 1998' on the reverse.

£80,000 - 120,000 ‡♠

Sold for £97,250

Contemporary Art Evening

12 Feb 2010