Cris Gianakos, “Recent Work”

Stockholm, 17.6–16.8  2009

Since the sixties, Cris Gianakos is part of the New York art avant-garde, active on the minimalist och abstract expressionist scene. His art moves with ease between sculpture, installations and painting, but focus remains the geometrical forms related to the urban landscape and architecture around us. Thursday the 14 May an exhibition with steel sculptures and acrylic paintings on mylar film opens at Galleri Andersson/Sandström in Stockholm.

Cris Gianakos, born 1934 in New York, studied art at the School of Visual Arts, but says that he is mostly self taught.  In the sixties he started experimenting with what still is the central theme in his art: simple geometric forms applied on, but also abstracted from, the urban landscape. A much talked-of installation was carried out at a crossing in Central Park in 1969. Gianakos spread flour on the asphalt in the shape of a giant X and let cyclists and pedestrians who were passing over it carry the flour with them to change the shape in a haphazard way.

At Galleri Andersson/Sandström, works from two series are shown. In Metropolis, Gianakos’ starting point is how cities are often drawn on maps, like hard, polygonal shapes. These shapes are cut with laser in steel plates. Mounted in relief on the wall they form a peculiar, minimalistic world map.

While Metropolis geometrically delineates the boundaries of the city, Signal symbolizes all the graphic images within an everyday urban environment: stop and go signal lights, subway or transportation symbols and all types of signs. Living in New York City, these images influence Gianakos a great deal. In this series, these bright works themselves have become signals. Their exuberance reflects Gianakos’ embrace of his graphic sensibility.

In the US, Cris Gianakos is represented in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian and the Brooklyn Museum of Art, among others, but his work can also be found in several Swedish collections, such as Moderna Museet, Göteborgs konstmuseum and Malmö konstmuseum.