This series of cast bronze objects is Marino's third, following two previous series produced in 2012 and 2014. The new boxes are finished in a variety of patination techniques: gilded, silvered, and blackened.
In this new series, Marino reveals his deep connection to the traditions of bronze metal work. One of the first and best documented materials in human history, the use of bronze permeates art-historical traditions, from devotional musical bells and coinage to weaponry and statuary. In his third book of Odes, the Roman poet Horace spoke of a creation “aere perennius,” meaning “more lasting than bronze,” now a prophetic saying attesting to the durability of art. About ten years ago, Marino was gripped by the discovery of a boat that sank in 350 BC off the Turkish coast en route from Greece to Italy. Original bronze works, more than two thousand years old, were recovered from the ancient vessel. Captivated by the idea of a material that outlasts entire civilizations, Marino began to work with bronze, combining the architectural with the ornamental, obdurate materiality with ephemeral gesture.
In “Fire and Water,” six different boxes in limited editions feature designs inspired by organic and mythical forms such as water ripples, dragon scales and rough stone. The boxes, which are functional storage objects, and can take up to a year to produce, are handmade at the Atelier St. Jacques, part of the Fondation de Coubertin, the French national institution for crafts, manual work, and trades.
As a passionate collector, Marino has also developed an extensive repository of bronzes. With an emphasis on Renaissance works, as well as French and Italian bronzes of the High Baroque, his collection includes masterpieces by some of the greatest exponents of the medium, including Giambologna, Pietro Tacca, Ferdinando Tacca, Giovanni Battista Foggini, Robert Le Lorrain, and Corneille van Clève. The refinement and intense emotion in many of the bronze statuettes in his collection is in contrast with the fluent solidity of Marino’s own creations.
Marino’s first bronze boxes were shown at the 26th Biennale des Antiquaires in Paris in 2012, and featured eight designs made in cast bronze and leather. The second series from 2014 featured nine designs based on tree bark, reed, stone and other patterns.