A. G. Rizzoli
JANUARY 29–MAY 23, 2010
Achilles G. Rizzoli was a draftsman who created finely detailed pictures of grand buildings as portraits of people he knew. He understood his architectural renderings as "symbolically portraying" his subjects, though the connection between the buildings and the people remains a mystery to the viewer. Rizzoli lovingly dedicated his drawings to the people he depicted, suggesting that he saw in them something other than outward appearances. The sincerity of his messages combined with the majestic character of his buildings creates the sense of a beautiful soul.
Achilles Rizzoli (1896–1982) was born in Marin County, California. He worked at a San Francisco architecture firm for 40 years, never marrying and living with his mother until her death in 1937. After he died, his enigmatic drawings were discovered and preserved by his nephew. He is now recognized as an outsider artist.
A. G. Rizzoli's exhibition was one of six exhibitions focused on the metaphysics of the human figure grouped under the title Looking for the Face I Had Before the World Was Made. The artists included: Michaël Borremans, Samuel Beckett, Eric & Heather ChanSchatz, Lorraine O'Grady, A. G. Rizzoli and William Stockman. Each of the artists explored how depicting the human figure can offer something more consequential than a simple catalogue of physical features. Each work in the exhibition told a human story while de-emphasizing the likeness of any particular person. Using a wide variety of styles, the artists were joined by an interest in creating a sense of a phenomenon deeper than the surface image, capturing a presence prior to the appearance of the fully formed individual. The line "Looking for the face I had before the world was made," is a quote from the late poet and dramatist, William Butler Yeats, from his poem "A Woman Young and Old." It can be understood as either a statement of faith or a philosophical riddle related to the formation of the self.
Looking for the Face I Had Before the World Was Made opened January 29, 2009 at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver. The exhibition was sponsored in part by Amber & Michael Fries, Emily Sinclair & Jay Kenney, and MCA Denver?s Director?s Vision Society.
image: A. G. Rizzoli. Alfredo Capobianco and Family Symbolically Sketched/Palazzo del Capobianco (detail), 1937, ink on rag paper, 25 x 38 in (63.5 x 96.5 cm). Courtesy The Ames Gallery.