Gallery 1


Scultura italiana

16 May 2023 - 8 October 2023


Continuing the CASTED series of exhibitions, several pieces of Italian Modern Sculpture from the Huberte Goote permanent collection are featured. In appreciation of this expressive artistic period that transformed, and even transfigured anthropomorphic representation, we bring you CASTED – Scultura italiana.

This selection of mid-20th century sculpture challenges the viewer with forms that are often disquieting, aggressive, bold, and textured. With a focus on experimentation and expressive mark-making, the aesthetics of the surface is foregrounded. These Modernists rejected the tropes of representational art along with typical views of historic, religious, and romantic ideals. Disenchanted by the times and struggles they had witnessed, these post-war sculptors searched for freedom and new approaches to artistic production.

We are greeted by varied approaches to sculpture, all produced during 1950s and 1960s, from the structural presence of Franco Garelli’s striking piece Difficult Europe, which stands in contrast to the playful and intimate characters created by the female Italian sculptor – Guliutte Scalini. The petite and fragile is encountered again with the work of Basaldella Mirko’s playful creations. The patina and unusual attention to the surface echoes the ancient as the sculptures almost appear as archaeological artefacts. The equestrian theme so familiar in times of war was a recurring one for Marino Marini. The horse and rider become at once a symbol of harmony with nature and a play on power and control.

The level of experimentation across themes, mediums and techniques is laid bare in the works by Berto Lardera and Pietro Cascella through to the quirky yet emotive life size figures by Augusto Perez. Aldo Calò’s Bi-Form dares to blend bronze and crystal, his motifs of dualism and opposition demonstrate a dynamism of its own. The play at semi and full abstraction is testament to the confidence of these sculptors in their unique creations of once-off works in radical mediums.

Although several of these artists were accomplished in the mediums of painting or collage, they each had a love of sculpture. Many of them were contemporaries and among those regularly invited to multiple instalments of the Venice Biennales to showcase their latest sculptural endeavours. The nearly 30 sculptures by 14 artists, though vastly different in appearance, share a commonality in their approach to materiality. The mediums are celebrated in their raw and brutal form, exposing rough edges and welds to this purpose. As they embrace the new, so they reference ancient and even biblical figures and themes. Bringing these artists’ work to light in the twenty-first century reminds us that the principles of experimentalism in applied art offers continuous opportunity to transgress the boundaries of art practice.

Sculptures featured by: Marcello Mascherini, Francesco Somaini, Pietro Cascella, Marino Marini, Roberto Crippa, Angelo Canevari, Giacomo Benevelli, Augusto Perez, Quinto Ghermandi, Luciano Minguzzi, Aldo Calò, Berto Lardera, Franco Garelli & Guiditta Scalini.