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Chaos and Metamorphosis: The Art of Piero Lerda

This exhibition presents a cross-section of the work of Italian collage artist and painter Piero Lerda (1927–2007). Examining philosophical and literary themes, Lerda wove together recognizable shapes and cryptic recurring symbols to form personal alphabets that he returned to throughout the course of his life. He concerned himself with juxtapositions, seeking to find a balance between order and chaos, good and evil, pessimism and witty irony. Working meticulously in a variety of media such as India ink and wax, acrylic paint and innumerable collage materials from candy wrappers to corrugated cardboard, Lerda created abstract works that are at once playful and cerebral.

Consisting of 38 works in various media, this focused exhibition is organized around four themes that recur in Lerda's work. In the 1950s and 1960s, he used India ink and wax resist and focused on human violence as a theme. By the mid-1960s, he began incorporating kites and children’s toys in his art. These works seem more optimistic, yet the kites represent only an illusion of freedom, as they are unable to escape the chaotic world. His “merry-go-round cities” depict a world reconstructed by children after being destroyed by adults. His final series of works, which he created from the 1990s until his death in 2007, examines themes of chaos, creation and metamorphosis.

The Georgia Museum of Art published an exhibition catalogue that venues may purchase at wholesale rates and that is the first work in English on the artist. It includes full-page, full-color images of all works in the exhibition. Read more about the catalogue here.