Form and matter. The great Italian sculpture of the twentieth century

Curated by Fabio Benzi

La Galleria Russo opens the exhibition Forma e Materia. La grande scultura italiana del Novecento from 2 to 30 March 2024.

The exhibition, curated by Fabio Benzi, features 30 works showcasing best of last century Italian sculpture: Giacomo Balla, Duilio Cambellotti, Pietro Consagra, Giorgio de Chirico, Lucio Fontana, Leoncillo, Giacomo Manzù, Marino Marini , Arturo Martini, Fausto Melotti, Arnoldo Pomodoro, Medardo Rosso, Thayhat, Adolfo Wildt, Pino Pascali. Artists long represented by the Gallery narrating the historical-cultural evolution of our sculpture. From the impressionist works of Medardo Rosso, to the myth that meets reality with the works of Duilio Cambellotti, passing through the dynamism of Balla and the realism of La Pisana by Arturo Martini, up to the abstract works of the late ’60s by Melotti.         

Bronze, terracotta, wax, ceramic, stoneware are some of the materials used by great Masters to give shape to their creations in an exhaustive and accurate exhibition that spans the twentieth century. Form and material, the absolute protagonists, are valorised in the Roman spaces of the historic Galleria Russo which for more than a century has stood as a point of attraction and cultural reference for Italian art due to its nature and vocation. Some of the most representative and emblematic names in the history of Italian sculpture are on display with works which, despite their small size, are evidence of monumentality and which show the changes not only in art but also in society, tastes and criticism. Furthermore, many of them come from illustrious collections such as Sarfatti and Jesi, of which we remember the important donation that today enriches the collection of the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan.

As the curator Fabio Benzi states, “The history of modern sculpture is a history of forcing, of reckless experiments, of battles and defeats, of goals and victories over the past, as happened with painting but with many more technical and representative difficulties. Italian sculpture, in its alternating path of conquests, triumphs and falls, made an enormous, essential contribution to great international sculpture of the twentieth century. We could say that without its interlocution and its explorations, the astonishing twentieth-century innovation, as we know it, would not have existed.”

But how well do we know about 20th century Italian sculpture? Talks about Fabrizio Russo, owner of the Gallery, who has been dealing with the greatest protagonists of the period with his family for years. “The 20th century is to be seen as the lead period of study and evolution of plasticity and dynamism concept. Many artists of this period, whose intentions the Gallery has taken care of and pursued for years, put their artistic abilities at the service of the “third dimension”. With the commitment of sculpture, the search for truth and beauty becomes tangible and observable from different points of view and the Gallery for the first time, through this exhibition, becomes the conduit of this message.”