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Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Day Auction

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Arnaldo Pomodoro
B. 1926
SFERA
incised with the artist's signature and numbered 2/6 on the Plexiglas base 
bronze and Plexiglass
diameter: 50.2 cm. 19 3/4 in.
Executed in 1987, this work is number 2 from an edition of 6, plus 1 artist's proof.
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Provenance

Irving Galleries, Palm Beach
Acquired from the above by the present owner

Literature

Flaminio Gualdoni, Arnaldo Pomodoro. Catalogo Ragionato della Scultura, Milan 2007, p. 669, no. 810, illustrated

Catalogue Note

Executed in 1988, Sfera majestically articulates Arnaldo Pomodoro’s highly skilled craftsmanship and masterful handling of the medium of bronze. The extraordinary presence of the work in situ exhibits the Italian artist’s celebrated sculpture in the round, or tutto rondo, which he began in 1956 after a lengthy period preoccupied with two-dimensional reliefs. The year 1988 was particularly formative for Pomodoro as he participated in the 43rd Venice Biennale, cementing his reputation as one of the most influential and eloquent artists of his time. For Pomodoro, the discovery of three-dimensionality suggested a new sense of dynamism and innovation, ultimately setting his sculpture free from stasis, and leading to his most celebrated corpus of spheres. As the title of the work suggests, Sfera exhibits a luminescent, reflective sphere powerfully bifurcated by a deep void, which in turn manifests a distorted negative space within the sculpture’s core. The work’s reflective qualities and spherical shape invite a heightened sense of spectatorship, compelling viewers to walk around its lustrous form and observe its mirrored surroundings upon the surface of the polished bronze. Thus Sfera is both stunning and irresistible, achieving the lightness and liquid kineticism intrinsic to the artist’s monumental, heroic orbs.   

While the sleek, voluptuous external surfaces of Sfera might evoke the abstract sculpture of Constantin Brancusi and Jean Arp, Pomodoro divergently sought to invest abstraction with deeply human elements. During the post-war years, he considered “the perfection of the form in our time inappropriate; it has to be destroyed. For me the ‘destruction’ element in form was my most important discovery, and the most authentic both in terms of myself and my times” (Arnaldo Pomodoro cited in: Sam Hunter, Arnaldo Pomodoro, New York 1982, p. 52). The ‘deconstruction’ element of Sfera relates to the negative space formed by the deep gash around the circumference of the work. Such interiorised forms recall the violent cuts of Pomodoro’s contemporary, Lucio Fontana, both in their profound spatial expression and self-reflexive nature. While Pomodoro’s globe-like sculpture and its central fractures might symbolise a castigated, corrupted world and the psychological trauma of the post-war period, the interior forms might also present an act of self-revelation and introspection; thus the notion of reflection not only indicates the polished surface of the work, but also its inherent visual parallel to inwardness, and reference to the self. Indeed, the dichotomy between internal and external, inward and outward self persists throughout Pomodoro’s spectacular oeuvre, of which Sfera plays an imperative part.

Contemporary Art Day Auction

|
London