Paolo Icaro : I do as I did

15 September - 19 November 2011

The exhibition that will be shown in the three halls of the gallery establishes a kind of survey in which the purpose is already explained in the title of the show, I do as I did, chosen by the artist to explain an aesthetical and mental path, a “reflection of the continuity of doing” and underlines his intellectual belief and the coherent development of his search:...a going and coming, back and forth, from before to after, from the beginning up to today, between places of the Point and of the Line, between the rule and its exceptions, between precarious balances and firm conic stability... a “to do as I did...” (Paolo Icaro) 

The artist himself, with his own physical measures, is the centre of his poetical universe and the starting point of his research by adopting himself as a “touchstone”, a living measure as a base in which the transformation of materials begins - plaster, stone, metal, and all the materials of his works. 

The exhibition starts with the Pagine Intime, a series of plaster plates made between 2008 and today .Their surface is engraved with a kind of drawing- calligraphy. At sunset light, when shadows become longer , -explains the artist- I find myself writing with my finger in the water of my plaster: stories and secrets, unknown formulas melting in doodles, in signs, in signs-drawings-doodles…I like to think that I am being dictated by Sculpture itself in its elementary language of the low relief. I call them “Pages of an intimate dairy”, a doing an undoing a redoing in search of the initial place of Sculpture. 

These works, a kind of Rosetta's stone of Icaro's language, introduce us to the next hall where we'll find works paradigmatic of the artist's poetics such as Balance (2008), a sculpture made of slender aluminium bars and carrara marble, defined by Icaro as a shape of space in balance which plays its lightness against the gravity of its marble fragment. Or Incanto (2004) like a vertical necklace that, descending from above with modelled lumps of plaster forms, as Icaro describes, a major dotted line of plaster gestures along a steel cable, the Nadir and Zenith of that space. 

(And again we find in the show Diagonali (Diagonals), a work from 1972 on peraluman where the physical dimension of the artist is represented through the diagonals.) 

The third hall of the gallery shows the installation Luogo dei punti eccentrici (Place of eccentric points) (2007): 32 black cones made out of concrete that chase each other in a spiral mode without beginning or end. The cones attempt to physically reach the site of the point. 

Trying to come as close as possible to it, the artist shapes an eccentric cone in order to produce the support for the place of the point. This work has its ancestor in a work of 1982 with the title Luogo del punto originale (Place of the original point). Here the actual black concrete cone was realized in bronze, which may well be considered the cell- matrix of the work in this upcoming exhibition. 

In order to bind ideally the route of the various halls, uniting yesterday with today, a monumental installation will be spread in all spaces of the gallery: we are talking about the artwork: Cardo e Decumano (year 2010), a project that originally starts from the idea of a primary organization of the space. Icaro reinvents the apparition of Sculpture according to a classic idea of measure. The cardo and the decumano are the axes of orientation of the roman Castrum (from north to south the cardo and from east to west the decumano). The artwork is produced with segments of steel beams in order to form two orthogonal lines oriented towards to the two axes. Icaro explains its process: 

Starting from the straight angle: the 90°, essential in the art of construction,in taking measures and in setting order is strong in space and holds great responsibilities to guarantee extreme resistance, and exact stability. This is why, dearly attracted, I follow it from the seventies and again I meet with it nowadays while producing two lines with the orientation North-South, East-West, through fragments set to form three dimensional intersections that recompose themselves in plastic nuclei of several dimensions and of different shapes, but all kept welded rigorously at 90 degrees. It is almost as if these lines want to articulate and stand up in space and suggest initial cells of sculpture, a three-dimensional doing, a main idea for starting a construction. Maybe this is a grammatical reflection of past times, but, when we stretch them in space, at its calibrated intervals, it reveals itself as a musical skeleton of pure strong sculpture, Cardo and Decumano.