For many years, Roberto Almagno's mastery with wood produced works of a classical simplicity that in some way recalled the timelessness and purity we find in Brancusi. The artist's preoccupations have always been concerned with lightness and a seemingly impossible precarious balance. His dream was to see his works suspended in space as totally free spirits. Almagno’s most renowned piece being a 24 metre installation shown in the Palazzo Venezia Museum in Rome (2006) where 7 metre sculptures appeared to be like animals flying in the air; this sense of an almost unreal experience was increased by the ashes which covered the floor of the installation. His participation however, in rosenfeld porcini’s 'WOOD' exhibition (2014), represented an extraordinary departure for Almagno. The artist produced a very large installation specifically for the gallery, ‘Jungle’, where the wood took on all kinds of strange contorted shapes; the simplicity was now replaced by a baroque wildness. Previously most viewers had mistaken Almagno’s black pieces of wood for metal and expecting heaviness were amazed to discover the complete opposite. In ‘Jungle’ there could be no mistake although one was just as stretched to imagine that these rich and hugely contorted shapes could be wood.
Almagno's lifelong obsession with wood has given him an absolute mastery over his chosen material. He works alone and is concerned with every part of the creative process from finding his raw materials in the forests which surround Rome, the city where he lives, to the finished object. The wood in Almagno’s new sculptures appears no longer as metal but almost as painted string. His piece ‘Jungle’ has taken his art in a completely new direction. Only truly great artists manage to successfully reinvent their art in later life and Roberto Almagno can now be counted amongst this rarefied group.
Almagno’s new exhibition ‘Suspended in Space’ will feature his latest sculptures and whilst some still hark back to the breath-taking simplicity of his earlier works, the majority will show, for the first time in a solo exhibition, this new really indescribable freedom and baroque wildness; to imagine that both type of sculptures are fruit of the same mind is rare indeed. There is a constant, however, and that is the continuing obsession with lightness and air. These new works appear to be 'suspended in pure space' with only the tiniest connection to a hard surface. Almagno’s dream of creating a sculpture that is floating in air defying all commonly held views of gravity is edging ever nearer.