On Giorgio Andreotta Calò’s Primordial, Totemic Forms
In his first solo show at London’s SPROVIERI, Calò, an Italian sculptor, photographer, and performance artist, presents “La scultura lingua morta III.” No doubt referencing a 1945 text by sculptor Arturo Martini, the exhibition’s title translates to “Sculpture a Dead Language III,” and indeed Calò’s work appears like something hauled from an archaeological dig or an ancient tomb. The materials he uses are plain—wood, bronze, clay—and the forms look corroded and archaic, as well as totemic. As Calò once explained, “I am more interested in the paradox of adopting a system so old that it stems from the origins of figurative art to create a contemporary vision of the present, and to do it in a place given over to the art of our times.”
Calò’s work carries an air of mystery, refusing to resolve into references to artifacts or incidental ruins. Two artworks, Clessidra (Hourglass) (2007–2015) and Clessidra (Hourglass) (2013), are large pillars made from a great post whittled at the middle to form a thin waist. The latter is cast in bronze; the former is wood and clay. Knots in its body have been retained, revealing themselves as memories of branches sprouting from the trunk. Clay has been applied to its form, and the entire thing form appears weathered and decayed. It recalls the work of sculptor
Some pieces, such as Untitled (2015), hark back to the work of artists from earlier periods: here, to the surrealism of sculptor
Medusa (2015) is a similarly haptic sculpture—you can feel it with your eyes. Its bust-like form looks like a head, the
The sculptures, pulled into the present from another time, represent possibilities for human life in the future. In an era when mass-produced goods are widely available and civil leaders worry about spiritual decay, Calò’s blend of mystical pre-modern images presented as contemporary totems resurrect a sense of primordial humanity, essential to life on Earth.
“Giorgio Andreotta Calò: La scultura lingua morta III” is on view at SPROVIERI, London, Mar. 5–Apr. 25, 2015.
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