The massive sculpture Cespuglio (Bush) of 1957 is among Leoncillo’s cycle of works that began in 1955 which marked his departure from his earlier neo-cubist style in search for new solutions to the problem of form, drawing on materials, matter and his own emotions. Leconcillo’s transition from a figurative to an Informale treatment of his material initially relied heavily on the observation of the botanical world which, as he claimed, offered him the ‘unexpected forms of nature’ . Works that drew inspiration from the natural world such as this Cespuglio and, bearing titles such as Tree, Flowers and Shrub were first shown at an exhibition at the Galleria La Tartaruga in Rome in 1957, earning Leoncillo considerable critical acclaim. In his introduction to the 1957 exhibition, Leoncillo explained: “I have made leaves, bushes and flowers because it made it easier to “see” things in a new way. Afterwards I will make less natural things, those that trouble me most: because we are not natural”. Indeed, this circle of botanical inspired works central to Leoncillo’s first searching of an Informale language that departed from the material itself and centred on the exploration of his own imagination was followed by the artist’s exploration of lyrical themes such as ‘The hours of Insomnia’, ‘Omen’ or ‘At the Edge of the Night’, consolidating his unique approach even further, making him one of the greatest Informale sculptors of all time.
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