24.06.2017 – 29.07.2017


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 in structuring 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 physicality 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 his work. Instead of concentrating on subjects, the artist focuses on pigments, colours and substances.

Usually large-scaled, Coda Zabetta’s striking works play with different kinds of textures. Experimenting with painting processes, Coda Zabetta not only uses traditional materials and techniques, but also different natural elements such as pigments or sand, organic materials, oyster shell dust, tar, and chemical materials.


The Italian word Sostanza, that gives the title to the show, 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 seem to radiate light. The transparency of the works calls to mind traditional Chinese and Japanese watercolour landscapes actually obtained by painting with air-pressure capturing on the surfaces energy and movement.


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 working paint with a spatula, evoking the idea of laying stucco on a wall more than painting.

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