rosenfeld porcini is proud to present WOOD, a themed sculpture exhibition including works by Roberto Almagno (Italy), Leonardo Drew (USA), Herbert Golser (Austria), and Sebastián Gordín (Argentina). The gallery will showcase new sculptures by each artist who all sculpt with wood yet use the medium in diverse ways, both technically and from a narrative point of view. WOOD is rosenfeld porcini’s fourth themed exhibition, following Memory: International Sculpture and The Continuation of Romance, which explored the renaissance of painting in contemporary art, and The Birth of Cinema… And Beyond, an exhibition combining old masters and contemporary works challenging the idea of narrative.
Roberto Almagno was born in 1941 in Aquino and graduated at the Insituto d’Arte in Rome in 1971 under the tuition of sculptor Giuseppe Mazzullo, with further studies at the Fine Arts Academy in Rome in 1972 under Pericle Fazzini. The artist collects his wood from the forests surrounding Rome. Once back in the studio, the artists spends numerous days reducing and honing the wood into perfectly shaped pieces using an ancient technique of damp and fire. He bends the wood into the desired forms, creating works that recall the purity and timelessness of Brâncuși. Although contemporary, Almagno’s works manage to appear as if they were relics from some ancient civilisation. Roberto Almagno lives and works in Rome both as an artist and a teacher at the Estudio d’Arte. His work was included in group exhibitions at the National Museum of Fine Art (Buenos Aires) and the Carlo Bilotti Museum (Rome), while his solo shows were featured, among others, at Palazzo Venezia (Rome) and Pericle Fazzini Museum (Assisi).
Leonardo Drew was born in 1961 in Tallahassee and currently lives and works between San Antonio, Texas, Brooklyn and New York. Drew also collects his raw material from woods and forests. Similarly to Almagno, he never subjects the trees to any violent act, but only gathers his pieces from amongst the debris of nature. Their processes of transformation, however, are very different. Almagno’s raw material becomes completely unrecognizable, whereas Drew never lets us forget what they are and how they look. The artists perceives his practice as a rebirth, taking discarded pieces of wood which have terminated their natural existence, and transporting them to his studio where they undergo a new beginning, returning to life as integral elements of his sculptures. Whilst Almagno takes us to the world of Brâncuși, Drew looks towards the universe of Giacometti – Almagno searches for the absolute purity of form, whereas Drew talks to us of man. Leonardo Drew has exhibited with numerous international galleries and museums with works featured in public collections such as MOMA New York, The Guggenheim Museum (New York and Bilbao), St. Louis Museum, The Harvard University Art Museum, McNay Art Museum, The Hirshhorn Museum and The Tate in London.
Herbert Golser was born in 1960 in Austria and currently lives and works in Klein-Pöchlarn, lower Austria. He has attended the University of Applied Arts in Vienna under the direction of Prof. Bruno Gironcoli graduating with distinction (1988-93), as well as the Technical School for Wood and Stone Sculpture, Hellein (1982-1985). Golser’s sculptures also never lose sight of their raw material but as he takes the wood back to a seemingly impossibly subtle form, he manages to straddle both worlds of the other artists. At times, the wood appears like wafer thin pages of an ancient manuscript, in others it forms sculptural shapes that approach the essence of a Brâncuși. All of Golser’s sculptures contain an extreme delicacy, the wood appearing to tremble in the air, such is its extraordinary lightness. Concerned with the tone and form of his raw material, the artist takes care that their colour, knots and veins all describe what seems to be an imaginary map of the universe. Herbert Golser has won numerous awards such as the residence Maltator Gmünd (Austria, 2014), first place at the City of Pöchlarn Art Prize (2013), and the residence Fundaçion Torre-Pujales Corme in Galicia (Spain, 2012). His work is featured in multiple public spaces in Austria, Hungary and Italy, as well as in Austrian churches (Loosdorf/Melk, lower Austria, and Draßburg). In 2013, Herbert Golser was part of The-Solo-Project in Basel.
Sebastián Gordín was born in 1969 in Buenos Aires and studied at Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes Manuel Belgrano. He currently lives and works in Buenos Aires. The artist creates grand installations as if they were museums to mankind. He combines marquetry with abstract objects and magnificently worked figurative elements like complex wooden floors, books and tables. Although everything is rigorously made in miniature, he manages to reveal to us a new world view, an unsuspected universe, which is parallel to ours but yet with its own logic and vocabulary. Aside from these great theatre pieces, he has, for a few years now, been producing scenes which resemble book covers, all wittily observed with brilliant marquetry inventions. These tablets with their elements of abstraction and figuration speak of our world but Gordín turns things around with his capacity to observe and innovate. Sebastián Gordín’s work was included in group exhibitions at Poly/Graphics Triennial, San Juan, Latin America and the Caribbean, 29th Biennale of Pontevedra, Spain, while his solo shows include Retrospective: Museum of Modern Art, Buenos Aires, and Cecilia Brunson projects in London, to name but a few.
This exhibition celebrates a material which contains at its essence a palpable sense of fragility and timelessness. In recent years, the rippling effect of Arte Povera has led to a strong return of so-called ‘poor’ materials such as wood, terracotta and wax, as opposed to wealthier mediums like bronze and marble. This has been one of the principle motivations behind the organisation of WOOD.
By bringing these four artists together in the same exhibition, rosenfeld porcini hopes to contribute to the human ability to continually re-invent age old materials into contemporary forms and show how artists whilst in total respect of their history and tradition, manage to take their media into our present age. As some contemporary artists are obsessed with the new and create sculptures with unsuspecting original materials like bottles, coke cans, tube tickets, model dolls, or model cars to name just a few, there is a risk artists might forget the innate nobility and magnificence of the world’s artistic heritage. To be able to renew that heritage in sculpture, painting or drawing is, in actual fact, the greatest challenge of all.