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Luigi Mainolfi, Sole gabbia, 1997 – Horti dell'Almo Collegio Borromeo, Pavia, 2022 (Foto Federico Giani)

Luigi Mainolfi
Sole gabbia
, 1997

iron, ∅ 350 × 51 cm

Protagonist of Italian art since the late Seventies, Mainolfi was a figure of transition from the more conceptual to the more overtly lyrical or narrative research that characterized the Italian Eighties (and beyond). Her poetics have always been balanced on an allusive, extremely synthesized figurativeness, always on the verge of becoming abstraction (but without any fear of "making an impression"). The world that Mainolfi illustrates has a fairytale flavor, it alludes to the traditions of her homeland, strongly transfigured by her strong inventive drive. She adopts terracotta, a material linked to popular cultures, but also any sort of material that is suitable for her inspiration. The iron rod allows him to create light and airy structures even when they take on large dimensions, and to achieve the creation of large formats without a body, without mass, only a skeleton. With these solutions in particular, referentiality becomes thinner, even if the sculpture never becomes properly abstract. In fact, the titles take care of linking the form to a structure with a recognizable meaning, even when this borders on paradox, as in the correspondence between the shape of the sun and that of the cage that should contain it.

from: Fondazione Arnaldo Pomodoro. La Collezione permanente, exhibition catalogue, edited by G. Verzotti, A. Vettese, Milano, Skira, 2007, p. 176.