‘The perfection of Brâncuși was so beautiful and mysterious … at a certain moment I said to myself, really this perfection of the form in our time is inappropriate; it has to be destroyed’ – Arnaldo Pomodoro
Arnaldo Pomodoro’s Sfera, Studio (1965) is a gleaming early example of the artist’s most iconic signature form. A perfect, polished orb of bronze is split jaggedly round its equator, revealing an interior of glinting geometric circuitry. While his earliest sculptural reliefs had reflected a fascination with the strange, alien forms of ‘writing’ found in Paul Klee’s works, Pomodoro started to explore new celestial shapes following a pivotal visit to the United States in 1959. Already fascinated by the technological advances of the Space Race—and in particular by the flawless sphere of Russia’s Sputnik satellite, which had launched in 1957—he was struck in New York’s Museum of Modern Art by the sleek, futuristic refinement of the sculptures of Constantin Brâncuși, as well as by Jackson Pollock’s gestural Abstract Expressionism. The juxtaposition of modernist polish with more violent forms of mark-making would become characteristic of Pomodoro’s mature works: the present work’s golden globe gapes with a crystalline wound.
‘I set up a contrast to their smooth and polished parts, a discordant tension, a completeness made out of things that are incomplete,’ Pomodoro explained of his sculptures. ‘This very same act is a way of freeing myself from an absolute form. I destroy it. But also multiply it. Sculpture for me is a process of excavation and relief, without defining a space, and without establishing a centre’ (A. Pomodoro quoted in G. Carandente, Arnaldo Pomodoro, exh. cat. Hakone Open Air Museum, Hakone 1994, p. 24). Opening into a filigree of complex texture, Sfera, Studio is a profoundly enigmatic presence. It seems both an organic object and artificial structure; it echoes the internal workings of bodies and machines alike; it might be a Rosetta-stone-like relic, or a sci-fi beacon from a future technological age. Indeed, working in the traditional ‘lost-wax’ casting technique, Pomodoro’s process dialogues with thousands of years of human creativity. At once viscerally primal and intricately worked, Sfera, Studio resounds with an aura of mythic, cosmic revelation.
Post Lot Text
This work is recorded in Archivio Arnaldo Pomodoro, Milan, under number AP 330.