At Artissima 2016, a Group Show Draws Inspiration from the Iron Age

Nov 4, 2016 7:17pm
Where does prehistory end and history begin? In short, with the Iron Age. Beginning around 1200 B.C., advancements in ironworking led to the invention of weapons and tools, and ultimately to writing and literature via the creation of alphabets. Generally, prehistory encapsulates the Stone Age and the Bronze Age, before written records, whereas anything after the Iron Age and the advent of writing is considered history.
At this weekend’s Artissima fair, five artists explore our modern connection to this distant archaeological era with a group show that focuses on what made the epoch so pivotal: metalwork.
For “Iron Age,” the group show featured in the fair booth of Piero Atchugarry Gallery, each piece incorporates iron or, in some cases, its contemporary cousin, stainless steel. The five artists come from a variety of backgrounds, though they share a minimalist aesthetic and an interest in abstraction.
For his industrial sculptures, Riccardo De Marchi uses various tools to drill, hammer, and perforate monochromatic planes, resulting in a unique visual language reminiscent of ancient alphabets or old scriptures. Another Italian, Raffaele Rossi, reinterprets traditional Venetian art and frescos with hammered industrial materials such as lead and iron plate.
American-born Brookhart Jonquil creates abstract sculptures as well, but they’re more delicate and geometric, made of household materials like mirrors, lights, paper, broken glass, chewing gum, and, of course, steel. Meanwhile, Artur Lescher, a native of Brazil, investigates movement and balance in spare brass sculptures.
Like the gallery, Verónica Vázquez hails from Uruguay. In Chapas y clavos (2013), an assortment of rust-tinted pieces are connected with nails and wire, while her MURAL (2014) stacks various slabs of iron nearly five feet high, showing how, even after thousands of years, we’re still living in an age of iron.

—Bridget Gleeson

Piero Atchugarry Gallery’s booth at Artissima 2016 is on view in Turin, Italy, Nov. 4–6, 2016.