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Arnaldo Pomodoro
Le battaglie
, 1995

fiberglass with graphite powder, 320 × 1200 × 65 cm

In 1996 Pomodoro was invited by the Marlborough Gallery in New York to stage a solo exhibition, designed specifically for the gallery spaces. He thought of a large black relief in fiberglass with graphite powder, which ran along the main white wall, creating a suggestive visual impact. Subsequently Le battaglie were permanently shown in the first exhibition venue of the Fondazione Arnaldo Pomodoro in Quinto de' Stampi (Rozzano). The architectural aspiration of the gestural sign finds complete expression in the pattern of spines and furrows, in the intertwining of ropes and bolts, which extends over a length of 12 metres. This is how the sculptor speaks of his work: “Rich in angular, angular and sharp shapes; of teeth, arrows, spears, and different materials (tangles of ropes, wedges, bolts...) the relief gives a strong sense of dynamism and confusion, created by the meeting and clash of all these moving elements.” Luciano Caprile describes the movement inside the sculpture like this: “A wall of symbols, of arrows, of ordered chaos. Pomodoro claims to have been fascinated by hieroglyphics, to have discovered an extraordinary relationship between the sign and a magmatic form, in progress, to have felt the physical need to engrave something in the matter. Then the struggle begins between the author and the work that is being born, the battle not only against the material but above all between the idea and its adequate realization." And the sharp blades and the material fragments seem to evoke a Renaissance battle, which clash and crowd together to conquer the space. Pepe Karmel senses this in an article that appeared in The New York Times, in which Pomodoro's sculpture is compared to a famous painted panel by Paolo Uccello: “Le battaglieseem to translateThe Battle of San Romanowith the language of modern abstraction. A return to the Renaissance.” Spears and swords, helmets and armour, horses and knights on the battlefield are transfigured into an interlocking of geometric shapes, blades and wedges.

from: L. Respi, in Arnaldo Pomodoro. Grandi Opere 1972-2008, exhibition catalogue, Milano, Fondazione Arnaldo Pomodoro, 2008, p. 168.

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