'From show to show, you never quite know where Enrico David is going to land, but it’s almost always in the vicinity of figures of a mystical or fantastical sort.'
-- Roberta Smith, The New York Times
The Hepworth Wakefield presents a new exhibition by Enrico David, introducing recent works, plus a new series of sculptures specially commissioned for The Hepworth Wakefield. Featuring over 20 works created in the past two years, this is the artist’s first solo show at an institution in the UK since his exhibition at the ICA in 2007 and his Turner Prize nomination in 2009.
David’s work encompasses painting, sculpture, textiles and installation with the act of drawing being key to his exploration of form. Mining a space between figuration and abstraction, the artist consistently returns to the body as a point of departure, exploring the human figure as a metaphor for transformation.
David's interest in British and European modern sculpture has come to the fore in his work of the past two years, exploring affinities with the work of Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore and Alberto Giacometti among others, whilst at the same time retaining an idiosyncratic aesthetic language which remains purposefully varied and full of provocative ambiguity.
For this new exhibition, the artist has created several new works which will be installed in the light-filled, David Chipperfield-designed gallery spaces at The Hepworth Wakefield. Cast in bronze, fibreglass and jesmonite, these large human figures assume various poses, many relying on the building’s architecture for support – hugging the floor, leaning against walls or suspended from the ceiling and floating in space. The sense of metamorphosis that pervades their forms through allusions to cocoons or chrysalis-like forms lends these new works a close affinity with the natural world. This suggestion of continual change is further emphasised by David’s manipulation of materials, the final works often being the result of a sequence of modelling and casting processes that divert our understanding of their material truth.
The exhibition also features a series of recent smaller sculptures, produced over the last two years, which stay close to the scale of the drawings on which they are based, pulling viewers in to their more intimately-scaled details. Installed so as to punctuate the installation of the more monumental works, the works will occupy the galleries like elements populating a landscape, each occupying their own space while engaging in dialogue across a shared environment.
David’s exhibition opens alongside a new exhibition of the work of British modernist artistGertrude Hermes, with both artists exploring a critical dialogue between drawing and sculpture.