Italian Post-War Sculpture: Between Figuration and Abstraction at Robilant + Voena

The Italian Post-War Sculpture exhibition at Robilant + Voena is one of the most beautiful collections of Italian sculptures currently on show anywhere in the world. Italian post-war art was dynamic, experimental and original. The exhibition features works from Alberto Viani, Lucio Fontana Marino Marini, Francesco Somaini, Andrea Cascella, Edoardo Paolozzi, Fausto Melotti, Arnaldo Pomodoro, Pietro Conagra and Umberto Mastroianni.

First and foremost, Robilant + Voena is a magnificent gallery. The inside of the building is beautifully furnished with paintings and artworks that guide you up and around a grand spiral staircase. The interior of the main gallery space is breathtaking. The ceiling is decorated with intricate trails of gold sweeping across it. The room is separated by two colossal pillars, leading visitors through a portal from one captivating side of the room to another magical enclave of art and historical culture.

The first piece of art that greets viewers as they enter the room is Alberto Viani’s, ‘Torso femminile’. Created in 1945, this piece was made from plaster, which was a very accessible material to come across at the time, especially in Europe after the war.  Plaster was plentiful and while it was cheap, it still made for beautiful pieces of art that had an unrivalled elegance and purity that remains untainted by time.

Marino Marini’s horse sculptures, ‘Cavallo’ (1947) and Cavallo’ (1943) bring life into the exhibition. Horses were a huge part of wars and are still a huge part of daily life. They bridge the gap on the historical timeline, bringing a sense of familiarity to the viewers gazing upon art from a period in the past they can never visit.

After viewers step through the enchanting threshold of the pillars, they are transported forward to a later time, surrounded by the exquisite minimalist sculptures of late 20th Century. An especially stunning piece is ‘Due Curve’ (1973-74) by Fausto Melotti. The sculpture is made from stainless steel, and exudes an understated elegance through its simplicity. Although created over forty years ago, the sculpture could easily be recognised as a piece of contemporary art.

Italians are known for creating objects of beauty, from buildings, paintings and sculptures, to clothing and cars and that passion for beauty and perfection is strongly evident in this exhibition. The art on show is nothing short of perfection. Viewers can marvel at the elegance and culture of Italian artwork created by artists that rejected the past and redefined the meaning, purpose, and manifestation of their medium. While these sculptors sculpted new and phenomenal forms of art, their government was shaping a new and resilient Italy.

"Italian Post-War Sculpture: Between Figuration and Abstraction" is on show at Robilant + Voena, London until 17th November 2017.  More information may be found here.