Altissimo Exhibition Statement – Elliot Louis Gallery
The sculpture exhibition Altissimo is inspired by Mount Altissimo in Pietrasanta, Italy. Pietrasanta has been home to quarries that have been excavating marble since the height of Roman Civilization. All the Statuario Marble used in the exhibition was quarried from Altissimo, which is also referred to as “Michelangelo’s Mountain”.
The exhibition consists of a small collection of marble sculptures that depict interpretations of different fabrics in stone. T-shirts, handkerchiefs, pillowcases and socks are carefully arranged, then carved in order to re-present a landscape as well as a human history.
The sculptures merge a contemporary aesthetic and object making sensibility with a direct carving technique. The work reveals contrasting characteristics inherent in the stone, such as hardness versus softness, weightlessness versus gravity and temporality versus permanence. Through the interpretation and transformation of fabrics in stone, mountains are discovered in handkerchiefs and undulating landscapes emerge from t-shirts, making the tangible ephemeral. The idea of a mountain form as subject matter preserves the connection between the sculptures and the origins of the material.
Several of the sculptures in the exhibition, such as the t-shirts and socks have their roots in Pop Art. These mundane objects are carved with a sense of irony and inspiration that also comments on Italian drapery work evident in Neo-classical and Renaissance masterworks, such as Michelangelo’s Pieta and the Bernini’s Ecstasy of St. Theresa.
The body of work created for the exhibition serves in part as a modest yet contemporary continuum of one of art’s oldest mediums – stone carving. The sculptures are an homage to the legacy and traditions of Italian marble carving and to the quarrymen of Altissimo.