Featuring the work of 17 international artists, Materia reflects on the idea of hierarchy of materials, historically a cornerstone yet today made obsolete by the radical ‘democratisation’ of media which took places across last century. Attempting to offer a glimpse on the ever more blurred line of demarcation between art and design, the exhibition juxtaposes practices based on the use of traditional materials with works which would only recently achieve the status of contemporary art.
Historically, the value and prestige of a sculpture was determined both by the artist’s celebrity but also by his or hers choice of material. Although many artists during the Renaissance and Pre Renaissance made extensive use of terracotta’ which was often painted, it was the so-called ‘noble’ materials of marble and bronze which were always viewed as having greater value compared to ‘lesser’ surfaces such as plaster, wax and terracotta itself. In fact these were often used just for ‘bozzetti’ (preparatory studies).
Already in the early twentieth century these divisions were broken down as the second ‘Cubist’ school and later on ‘Arte Povera’ amongst others introduced a whole range of new possibilities of what could constitute a sculpture. The contemporary art world with its atavistic hunger to consume and provide an endless source of ‘newness’ has consistently enlarged its borders now including a range of materials which were previously considered to be the exclusive realm of the ‘decorative’ arts.
There will be 17 artists in the show ranging from very established names such as the American Leonardo Drew, the Brazilian Arthur Lescher and the Argentinians Sebastian Gordin and Marie Orensanz’s to young artists who are early on in their careers.