Pietro Consagra

Ferro Trasparente Rosa, 1966

painted iron

64.5 x 40 x 3 cm

Edition size: 4


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Artwork
Description

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The series of works entitled ‘Ferri trasparenti’ perfectly summarises Consagra’s vision of art and his artistic practice. Pietro Consagra was a forerunner of abstractism in post-war Italy. He belonged to the Gruppo Forma 1, an artistic movement whose aim was to rejuvenate the antiquated Italian artistic scene, by promoting a synthesis of Formalism and Marxism.

In perfect Consagrian style, this almost bi-dimensional, monochromatic sculpture is deprived of all the adornments which veil its essential form. ‘Ferro trasparente rosa’ aims at establishing an intimate dialogue with the viewer, not as an object of art, but as an object among many. In Consagra’s sculptures, art has lost its supremacy as the Futile par excellence, becoming – in accordance to the Marxist tenets – a useful instrument at the disposal of the viewer’s needs, being they aesthetic or practical. In this way, divested of the arrogance of traditional art, Consagra’s objects can entertain a sincere dialogue with the observer, stimulate his curiosity through the ambiguity of their forms and colours, be constantly shaped and reinterpreted by his state of mind.

However, such a dialogue is possible only once the sculpture’s adornments have fallen apart, leaving the naked Form speak the primordial, universal language of the Essential.

About
the artist

Pietro Consagra (b.1920-d.2005) was born in Mazara del Vallo in Trapani. He studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Palermo before founding the ‘Forma I’ group in 1947 in Rome, a formalist and Marxist collective which rejected the popular metaphysical romanticism and distortion of the time. Exhibiting at various galleries in Italy and taking part in the Venice Biennale eleven times between 1950 and 1993, Consagra enjoyed international acclaim, including exhibitions at the Peggy Guggenheim collection, Venice, the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Tate Gallery in London.

Consagra was one of Italy’s most renowned post-war sculptors whose work rejected the tradition of three-dimensional sculpture to embrace a more direct mode of interaction between art and audience. Primarily interested in liberating sculpture from the burdens of any historical legacy, Consagra worked in bronze and iron to create sculptures that were flattened and almost two-dimensional. In this way, he disposed of a normative authoritarian centre in favour of a frontal outlook that established a far more open ‘tete-a-tete’ between work and viewer. For Consagra, “placement became meaning”; his works used abstraction to expose meaning that would otherwise never have been revealed. From 1952, he established the ‘Colloqui’ series, a collection of bronze sculptures that were defined by the plasticity of their flattened surface: overlapping planes, gaps and varying texture destabilised any semblance of a ‘conventional’ viewpoint.

In the sixties, colour became an essential element of Consagra’s sculpture. His ‘Transparent Irons’ series saw monochrome works of pink, violet, blue and crimson take on the issues of a frontal perspective by becoming mobile, rotating at the touch of a hand. Ultimately, the curving fragments and defiant colours of Consagra’s works were the most vital part of his rejection of traditional sculptural canons. In the words of the artist: “Art is the only way to keep oneself suspicious, susceptible, nervous, intolerant, evasive, enthusiastic, balanced, unbalanced, attentive, aggressive, lazy, imaginative, libidinous, free, ungraspable.” The tension that arises from these contradictions is what makes Consagra’s works retain a psychological power for the audience to engage with.


Consagra was one of Italy’s most renowned post-war sculptors whose work rejected the tradition of three-dimensional sculpture to embrace a more direct mode of interaction between art and audience. Primarily interested in liberating sculpture from the burdens of any historical legacy, Consagra worked in bronze and iron to create sculptures that were flattened and almost two-dimensional.

In the sixties, colour became an essential element of Consagra’s sculpture. His ‘Transparent Irons’ series saw monochrome works of pink, violet, blue and crimson take on the issues of a frontal perspective by becoming mobile, rotating at the touch of a hand.

In the words of the artist: “Art is the only way to keep oneself suspicious, susceptible, nervous, intolerant, evasive, enthusiastic, balanced, unbalanced, attentive, aggressive, lazy, imaginative, libidinous, free, ungraspable.


Pietro Consagra
on Artuner

Part of the
exhibition

June 29th, 2017 until
September 16th, 2017
Curated by ARTUNER