Enrico David's new exhibition is comprised of works that express the close connection and the natural dialogue between the languages of painting and sculpture, which is further highlighted in their spatial layout.
A large painting is set apart from the wall but grazes the ceiling, held up by two vertical metal components: it acts as a backdrop for the “unfinished” figures of the sculptural elements of the exhibition. One sculptureis hung from the ceiling on cables, floating in space as if to deny its specific weight. The palette is made up of muddy, mould-like colours, and the form seems intended to suggest the remains – or the preambles – of a body. The head, arching back, extends into vague, tendon-like filaments evoking bundles of nerves, fibres, connective tissue. Another sculpture rises up from the ground in high relief, enclosing a figure caught within a grid from which it struggles to break free. The object has the ambiguity of a drawing, of graffiti etched into a structure intentionally made to resemble a piece of rubble or a ruin, hinting at a surface whose form may be linked to some past use.
Two sculptures are made from Jesmonite, a material that the artist began experimenting with in 2014: harder than plaster, weighty and solid, it can be polished, painted, and “treated” with great flexibility, making it well-suited to the concept of transformation that underlies David’s works.
The mise-en-scène for the Collezione Maramotti exhibition has no explicit narrative, but the way in which the objects exist in relation to each other – and interact with space – yields a context that can be narrated to the viewer.
In Enrico David’s works, the impermanence of the image is a state of transition between disappearance and reappearance.
Corporeality is always present in his work, even when it seems to be denied any well-defined form. Figures collapse, are transformed and multiplied; they are paradigms of fall and rebirth. His practice is guided by a constant reflection on the lack of unity, by a struggle between diverging forces.
The transformation into disorder that ensues from a range of physical and mental states is a condition that the artist senses and explores with expressive urgency. David himself describes his works as “on the verge of not being ready to be born”, in a process he defines a “wayward dispersion of the stream of unconsciousness”.
Enrico David works in painting, sculpture, and installation, sometimes employing traditional artisanal techniques.
Drawing is of prime importance, as a point of departure for the creation of works and as a work unto itself. The same variety found in his choice of media also applies to the subjects of his works, which come from many different sources and express a wide range of complex emotional states. David’s imaginary draws on crafts, folk art and design of the nineteenth century, as well as advertising, fashion, and art history (from Surrealism to Expressionism, Art Deco to the Japanese tradition of figure painting). The artist himself explains why: “My work has never followed a uniform method, because I think we are all always struggling to some degree, trying to come to terms with our fragmented, contradictory nature. But I find that the encounter between these different elements, these different forms of expression, somehow renders that discontinuity”.
Enrico David (b. 1966 in Ancona, Italy) divides his time between London and Berlin. His most recent solo exhibitions include: Michael Werner Gallery, New York (2014, 2012); UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2013); New Museum, New York (2012); Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, Venice (2011); Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Basel (2009).
David’s work has also been featured in group shows at prestigious international institutions, including the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool; CAPC Bordeaux; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; Tate Britain, London; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven.
In 2009 he was shortlisted for the Turner Prize. In 2003 and 2013 his works were shown in the editions of the Venice Biennale respectively curated by Francesco Bonami (Dreams and Conflicts) and by Massimiliano Gioni (The Encyclopedic Palace).