Casey Kaplan is pleased to announce the highly anticipated second US solo exhibition “Wolves and the Casting of Bells” by the Italian artist, Diego Perrone. This exhibition is in response to the artist’s recent solo museum exhibitions at CAPC – Musée d’Art Contemporain, Bordeaux, France and MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna, Bologna, Italy, entitled, “La Mamma di Boccioni in ambulanza e la fusione della campana.”
“Wolves and the casting of Bells,” is a literal description of the artworks on view in the gallery. Preceded and influenced by the artists of the Arte Povera, Transvanguardia, and Futurist movements, Perrone creates films, sculptures, and photographs that reference Italian culture, and use specific Italian rural traditions to reflect the primordial aspects of our human condition.
This exhibition presents together for the first time three new, unique sculptures from the artist’s ongoing series; La fusione della campana (The Casting of a Bell), which began with a black fiberglass sculpture exhibited in 2005 at the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Torino, Italy. Composed of grey epoxy resin and quartz powder, the castings represent three different moments during the process of manufacturing a large-scale bronze bell. Each work documents the technical procedures that inform the construction: the volume of the casting pit, the negative space of the interior and exterior of the bell, and the ducts used for pouring the bronze. Individually and uniformly titled La fusione della campana, the works are inspired by the film, Andrei Rublev, 1966, directed by Andrei Tarkovsky, in which the main character, Andrei Rublev, is an artist battling an archetypal internal struggle. In the film’s climax, Rublev has a life-changing revelation upon witnessing the triumph of a craftsman who completes the difficult task of casting a bell.
La fusione della campana, 2007 represents an “empty space” in three-dimensions, a concept that evolved from Perrone’s first exhibition at the gallery in 2002 and the idea behind the photographic series I pensatori di buchi (The hole thinkers), 2002. Here, the artist creates another aesthetic paradox with the trio, “Lupi” (Wolves). Beginning with low-resolution images found on the Internet of veterinarians rescuing sick wolves, Perrone transforms what would be an empathetic situation into an imaginary history – a terrifying, archaic ritual. Pixilated and roughly edited in Photoshop, Perrone manipulates the original scenarios by replacing the human faces with the severe, black wooden masks of Mamuttones, a traditional, ancient costume of carnival in Sardegna, Italy. The images are then printed onto a closed cell, rigid foam sheet of Forex, and cut to various hand-drawn shapes. Finally, using a self-devised heat-forming method, Perrone manipulates the Forex to create organic, insect-like, forms. Displayed on metal rods jutting out of the gallery walls, the works invade the viewer’s space and remain suspended in a tantalizing tension between beautiful object and menacing subject.