RIBOT is pleased to present the first solo show in Italy by Christian Gonzenbach (Geneva, 1975), a selection of recent works made with a creative process developed by the artist over the past few years.
The title of the show, Serut Plucs, in other words “Sculptures” written back-to-front, is an explicit reference to the method used by Gonzenbach, which mainly consists of overturning forms, inverting the balance between fullness and emptiness, and determining in the viewer a change in perspective and a new observation point.
In order to make the mirroring enamelled ceramic sculptures seen in the show, the artist made use of models from the tradition of classical portraiture. The busts of these historical figures sculpted in marble and very familiar to us, are reproduced by Gonzenbach with the use of a silicon mould which, turned inside-out, becomes the matrix for a new and previously unseen face. The distinctive characteristics of Homer, Plato, Apollo or Caracalla are in this way seen from an unusual point of view; the noses seem excavated, as do the ears, and hair; all the features of the personalities exhibited undergo an inversion and the idea of a bust, as a symbol of power, strength, and unchangeable beauty, is questioned. The aesthetic standards are literally overturned and the portraits take on a new identity.
For the show the artist has also realised two works specially for the Milanese public, titled respectively Mr. Idrev, who is no one other than the great musician Giuseppe Verdi as immortalised in the famous bust by Vincenzo Gemito, and Mr. Icniv, which is a tribute to the genius of one of Milan’s emblematic figures, Leonardo da Vinci.
The exhibition project is rounded off by the series Salmigondis, which confirms Gonzenbach’s interest in the possible transformations of form and materials, something recently inquired into during his residency at CERN, Geneva. The organic forms of these cement sculptures, produced by chance and by the changing states that various materials undergo, offer us images that evoke the idea of nature and the free and almost “grotesque” expression of it that in Italian gardens and, conceptually, in this show too, often cohabits with the decadent fascination of portrait sculptures.
This same experimental spirit has also given rise to the special project that the artist has devised for Serut Plucs, a limited edition in ten exemplars. These are metamorphic sculptures made from aluminium with agitated and complex surfaces and that follow up the artist’s interest in inversion to create, through a poetic vocabulary, abstract and mysterious forms.
Christian Gonzenbach lives and works in Geneva. He studied at the Haute école d’art et design in Geneva and at the Chelsea College of Art and Design, London. He has taken part in solo and group shows in prestigious international museums and galleries, among which: La Maréchalerie, Centre d’art contemporain, Versailles (2015); Musée des Beaux-Arts, La Chaux-de-Fonds (2013); Essl Museum, Vienna (2012); Museo Cantonale d’Arte, Lugano (2011); San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco (2011); MUDAC – musée de design et d'arts appliqués contemporains, Lausanne (2011); Musée Maillol, Paris (2010). His works are to be found in such important private and public collections as the Essl Museum, Vienna; Fonds Cantonal d’art contemporain (FCAC), Ginevra; MUDAC – musée de design et d'arts appliqués contemporains, Lusanne; Museo Cantonale d’arte, Lugano; Musée Royal de Mariemont, Belgium, and many others. In 2013 the artist also won the prestigious Chevrolet Centennial Artwork contest.