London – Gilberto Zorio at Blain|Southern Hanover Square, through September 28th 2013

September 14th, 2013

Gilberto Zorio, (Installation view), Photo: Peter Malet, courtesy Blain|Southern
Gilbert0 Zorio, (Installation view), Photo: Peter Malet, courtesy Blain|Southern

A collection of major works selected from the long-running career of Gilberto Zorio is currently on view at Blain|Southern gallery in London Hanover Square. The show includes recent works, new site-specific installations, and important sculptures from the 1960s. Zorio’s first UK exhibition in five years, this show offers a wide range of examples of his work, revealing his evolution as an artist, both marking his profound impression on the Arte Povera movement and showcasing his extension beyond the influential Italian movement.

Gilberto Zorio, (Installation view), Photo: Peter Malet, courtesy Blain|Southern
Gilbert0 Zorio, (Installation view), Photo: Peter Malet, courtesy Blain|Southern

Zorio was one of the main instigators of the Arte Povera movement, which began in Italy during the mid 1960s and remains relevant today. Other members of the movement include Jannis Kounellis, Pino-Pascali and Giuseppe Penone. Common among these artists was the concept of reusing found building materials, highlighting the relationship between art and everyday life, as well as incorporating the political implications of construction and economic development in post-war Italy.

Gilberto Zorio, (Installation view), Photo: Peter Malet, courtesy Blain|Southern
Gilbert0 Zorio, (Installation view), Photo: Peter Malet, courtesy Blain|Southern

Zorio’s works often appear purposely unfinished, exploring the themes of boudaries between the inside and the outside of defined spaces, as well as of construction and renewal in contrast with destruction and dissolution.  Presented in the context of Cold War Italy, the works hint at the constant flux of political influence and conflict during the violent 60’s and 70’s in the country, challenging the process of reconstruction in the wake of the Facist regimes of the early 20th century.

Gilberto Zorio, (Installation view), Photo: Peter Malet, courtesy Blain|Southern
Gilbert0 Zorio, (Installation view), Photo: Peter Malet, courtesy Blain|Southern

In Leads II (1968), Zorio uses the chemical reaction of copper sulphate and hydrochloric acid with lead, in order to show the “extremes of energies – both the gradual natural transformations…as well as the violent moments of energy.” In the same year, Zorio made Microphones, a series of devices suspended from the ceiling above concrete blocks placed on top of the bases of ball bearings. The installation includes the viewers, as it encourages people to stand on the blocks and record their own voices, then listen to the playback as their auditory perception is altered by the space.

Gilberto Zorio, (Installation view), Photo: Peter Malet, courtesy Blain|Southern
Gilbert0 Zorio, (Installation view), Photo: Peter Malet, courtesy Blain|Southern

One of Zorio’s most consistent thematic concepts is the star, particularly as a “violent transformation from impure to pure form.” The star as an extreme example of matter in a constant state of flux, and has provided repeated inspiration for Zorio’s sculptures, particularly the five-pointed star, which the artist claims is symbolic of “luck, time, ancient history, and astronomical energy.” The star-shaped installation, for instance, which Zorio made specifically for this exhibition, is made of UV lamps that mirror and respond to changes in the environment.

Gilberto Zorio, (Installation view), Photo: Peter Malet, courtesy Blain|Southern
Gilbert0 Zorio, (Installation view), Photo: Peter Malet, courtesy Blain|Southern

Exploring the alchemical implications of artistic creation, while incorporating themes into the broader views of social and cultural construction, Zorio’s work offers interesting parallels between the socially driven art of the Arte Povera movement, and the meanings of these works in the contemporary decade.  Gilberto Zorio will remain on view at Blain|Southern’s London Hanover Square gallery through September 28th, 2013.

Gilbert0 Zorio, (Installation view), Photo: Peter Malet, courtesy Blain|Southern
Gilbert0 Zorio, (Installation view), Photo: Peter Malet, courtesy Blain|Southern

—E. Baker

Related Links:

Exhibition Page [Blain|Southern London Hanover Square]