Giacinto Cerone

With broad summarizing capability, the vast collection of Giacinto Cerone’s plaster and ceramic pieces reconciled all the intrinsic qualities of three-dimensional expression: the dialogue between solid and void, concave and convex, weight and balance, mimesis and abstraction. Cerone’s anxious spontaneity, his crude and seductive attention to the potential of material revealed the process used, the energy employed, the modifications carried out: all the primordial activity of shaping, manipulating, constructing, and destroying.

In this show Cerone seemed to have a great desire to review the tactics of past masters, to study them and overturn their codes, whether secret or not. But there also seemed to be a great desire to take possession of the immense human patrimony of techniques and production handed down over time, and to bear witness to them in finished form.

Under one’s very eyes, the shiny ceramic pieces with their blinding, artificial colors lost all objective connotation and became pure sculptural elements that brought to mind only their existence in the world as works of art, as the means and end of an elaboration of the material, as an ontology of sculpture. The interstices, arched and unpredictable protrusions, eliminated any privileged viewpoint whatsoever, unleashing an irresistible tactile instinct. The large plaster casts barely alluded to the real world (a large-eared elephant, a cradle, a boat?), while the white lava of the material cloaked them in an organicism that tended to draw attention to all the conditions of this medium and its classical aura, its place in the history of art, in the history of sculpture.

By contrast, a large sculpture of three intertwining plastic circles anchored to a base was obtained through recycling and from the solidification of industrial waste. Its three constituent layers had different compositions and viscosities and pointed to an illusory profundity, a “geological” layer of a landscape—or, to use the artist’s expression—to an industrial and sculptural twilight. The intelligent installation of the works in the gallery spaces was deliberately and exceptionally dense, packed to capacity. The plaster casts were arranged as if in a profuse, petrified forest; the ceramics were aligned in orderly fashion. This claustrophobic grouping enveloped the spectators, who, almost of necessity, found themselves in direct contact with the sensuality and organicity of the material.

Mario Codognato

Translated from the Italian by Marguerite Shore.