One of Italy’s leading postwar sculptors, Pietro Consagra (1920-2005) worked primarily with metal, often cutting, curving and welding together sheets of iron. His thin, roughly carved sculptures—with abstract shapes sometimes suggesting the encounter of several figures—have been collected by some of the most important collectors of the twentieth century. Nonetheless, Consagra worked in opposition with the traditional idea of sculpture, understood as an elevated, magniloquent language. In his hands, sculpture slowly set aside its primary features (three-dimensionality, weight, multiplicity of views) moving towards a more dialectical form, where the artist is in constant dialogue with the material. In THENnow, Consagra’s statement on the nature of sculpture is paired with a similar statement by a younger sculptor, Luca Monterastelli. The materials that come into play in his production are numerous and varied—from wood to metal, chalk to cement—modeled to adapt to a contemporary context but without ever forgetting the debts owed to the classical traditions. His sculptures bring to mind ruined obelisks, biomorphic columns, and fragments of ancestral or futuristic constructions. Rather than dialoguing with the material though, Monterastelli seems more genuinely interested in undertaking an open and productive dialogue with the exhibition space, placing his sculptures in comparison, if not in contrast, with the outer boundaries, reawakening and stimulating new readings and configurations.

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