Critics’ Picks

Alis/Filliol, eud, 2017, polyurethane foam, wire mesh, fog machine, dimensions variable.

Alis/Filliol, eud, 2017, polyurethane foam, wire mesh, fog machine, dimensions variable.



Fondazione Arnaldo Pomodoro
Via Vigevano 9
September 20–October 27, 2017

The dark, silent space is dense with fog. Visitors move about circumspectly, their eyes adjusting to the darkness. Suddenly, a large sculpture of indefinite shape emerges, which seems to move and vibrate within the gray material. Then, a second shape appears, vibrating obliquely like the first. The latter form has two heads, seeming to whisper to each other, while the former, as it grows perceptible, looks acephalous or perhaps decapitated, its head resting at its feet. Both representations, simultaneously human and monstrous, gradually reveal themselves, their threatening stances directed not toward the viewer but toward each other. Rivals, they face off in the space—and over the meaning of space—as Auguste Rodin and Medardo Rosso did at the end of the nineteenth century, their different positions ultimately renewing sculpture.

The impressive dueling elements of Alis/Filliol (an Italian artistic duo comprising Davide Gennarino and Andrea Respino) quote Rosso’s The Bookmaker, 1894, and Rodin’s Monument to Balzac, 1898, and seem to change along with the visitor’s shifting viewpoint. Although the heads arranged in the sculptures realistically reproduce those of Rodin and Rosso, they are, nonetheless, hybrid and disturbing creatures. The fog defines the space, makes the figures dynamic, and brings viewers back to atmospheres that captivated so many Impressionists. Continuing their investigation into the contemporary possibilities of figurative sculpture and the human figure specifically, the artists here use polyurethane foam. Their show’s title, “eud,” is the word due (two) backwards. Alis/Filliol’s careful mix of elements produces compactness and tension, adding surprise to their intriguing installation.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.