From 17 May 1996 to 15 September 1996
Curated by Ida Gianelli
Max Ernst (Brühl, Germania, 1891 – Paris, 1976), a leading figure in twentieth-century art, participated in the birth of both the Dada group and Surrealism. His fundamental contribution relates to, among other things, the invention of new, so-called automatic expressive practices, based on the immediacy of the gesture and on chance. Among these practices the most fecund is that of frottage, a technique achieved by the rubbing of sheets or canvases that are treated with color and then placed in contact with various materials. The multiform nature of his language, which touches upon painting, graphics, sculpture collage and the adoption of found objects, is equal to his inventive capacity, with which he creates an autonomous reality in large part identified with the dimension of the unconscious.
The exhibition presents Ernst’s sculptural activity, which extends from the late ‘Twenties to the ‘Sixties. This activity, while discontinuous, traverses his entire career and is characterized by a marked constructive and volumetric emphasis, accentuated by a predilection for rigid materials such as stone and bronze. These qualities derive from an awareness of primitive visual cultures, to which one can ascribe the vaguely totemic nature of his work as well as its imaginative anthropomorphism.
The clear and precise constructive articulation of the volumes imbues the artist’s sculptures with a monumental character regardless of their dimensions.