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WOOD: A themed sculpture exhibition opens at rosenfeld porcini
Leonardo Drew, 29i, 2014. Mixed media, 66 x 58 x 18 cm.

LONDON.- rosenfeld porcini presents 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, which follows Memory: International Sculpture; 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, which challenged the idea of narrative.

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.

Roberto Almagno collects his wood from the forests, which surround Rome. Once back in the studio, he 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 Brancusi. Although contemporary, they also manage to appear as if they were relics from some ancient civilisation.

Leonardo 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 unrecognisable, whereas Drew never lets us forget what they are and how they look. He 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 Brancusi, Drew looks towards the universe of Giacometti; Almagno searches for the absolute purity of form, whereas Drew talks to us of man.

Herbert 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 Brancusi. All of Golser’s sculptures contain an extreme delicacy, the wood appearing to tremble in the air, such is its extraordinary lightness. So concerned is he with the tone and form of his raw material that with their colour, knots and veins, each piece look like an imaginary map of the universe.

Sebastián Gordín creates grand installations as if they were little 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 worldview, 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 of observation and innovation.

Bringing these four great artists together in the same exhibition will hopefully give a contribution to the human ability to continually re-invent age old materials into contemporary forms and how artists whilst in total respect of their history and tradition, manage to take their media into our present age. In our current world, we are obsessed with the new and create sculptures with unsuspecting original materials: bottles, coke cans, tube tickets, model dolls, model cars just to name a few; we forget the innate nobility and magnificence of our artistic heritage. To be able to renew that heritage in sculpture, painting or drawing is, in actual fact, the greatest challenge of all.

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