Cretto G 1 (1975) by Alberto BurriLa Galleria Nazionale
In 1973 Burri made his debut with another new material and process. The "Cretti" (Cracks), created with a new blend of different dried materials, marked a return to the artist’s experimental approach towards disorder and the reactions of materials, which had been a feature of his work since the "Muffe" (Mold) period.
In the Cretti, there was no place for any spontaneity in the process of drying the materials—it was carefully controlled by the artist, who was able to balance both the chromatic and compositional aspects in these works.
The artist's creative act is eclipsed by what the viewer sees—the manifestation of the material, evident both in individual particles as well as in the painting as a whole. The fruit of his work is an effect that is, once again, intensely plastic, as the depth and thickness of the matrix of crevices create unique effects of light and form in the pure white and black of the monochrome material.
The black and white Cretti create different and mirroring effects. In the black Cretti, space forms the context, while in the white, the marks maintain the thread of the narrative, revealing its inner details. Whilst the black color absorbs fragments, the white amplifies the mosaic-like edges, creating a frenzy of tiny, uncontrollable events. They are two performances of the same score (Tomassoni 1996, p. 35). In "Cretto G 1," as in the other white Cretti, the light seeps into the craquelure lattice, creating an almost graphic effect.
("Cretto G 1" was first exhibited in the 1976 Alberto Burri retrospective at the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna)
The network of cracks does not evoke the painful scar of an injury; rather, it magnifies the craquelure detail, which is a sign of deterioration in the condition of many works of art from previous eras, particularly oil paintings.
Following on from the dizzy heights of his "Plastiche" (Plastics), these works from the 1970s and 1980s exemplified the formal sense of balance the artist had come to achieve.In 1985 Burri accepted the mayor of Gibellina's invitation to produce the "Grande Cretto" (The Great Crack) in the old town, which had been destroyed by an earthquake in 1968. He produced a one-of-a-kind work of landscape art that is of unparalleled importance in comparison to similar endeavors.By transforming the remains of the city into the alternating blocks and voids of the Cretto's cracks, Burri was able, through the transformative power of art, to breathe fresh hope and life into the ruins of Gibellina.