Wonder of Love

Marco Cornini at Pietrasanta - 1 July 2022

Liquid art system is proud to present "Wonder of Love", the new solo exhibition of Marco Cornini, opening in Pietrasanta on July 1st.

A sculptor of exceptional talent, despite his low profile Cornini is one of the finest artists of his generation, above all when working with terracotta. As Edward Lucie-Smith noted in the early 2000s, Cornini’s works display only limited similarities with the main Modernist styles, or even with the pre-Modern styles, showing themselves to be unique in their genre. Having concentrated for decades on an idea that he expressed in a multitude of sculptures, each of which saw him approach with ever-increasing precision the source of inspiration, the elemental model that he endeavours to depict, as Luca Beatrice underlines, Cornini represents that ever-fruitful “archaic” thread of Italian sculpture.

We highlighted in a previous note how Cornini is not afraid to reveal the lineage to which he belongs. Grande contemplazione -Great Contemplation- – a man and a woman in bed, her lying on her side, him slightly raised up on his left arm, her with her eyes half-closed, him looking ahead, both naked, just a sheet covering their legs – could be an Etruscan sarcophagus, the celebrated tomb of the newlyweds, in which the two figures exemplify, in a highly hieratic tone, the ideal of the couple. 2500 years ago, the Etruscan masters of pottery and bucchero, and Cornini the champion of clay, repeat the stereotype of love, albeit that the contemporary moment no longer allows the Milanese master to depict the divine serenity of the couple; on the contrary, he forces them to demonstrate the anxiety of modern lovers who must come to terms with the discovery of the unconscious and its anguished abysses. If the gesture is, then, ancient, the result is contemporary precisely because he grafts onto his sculptures the element of restlessness that from Freud onwards, via surrealism, became central to the art of the twentieth century. In the mises-en-scène that Cornini produces – using the flattened relief beloved, for example, of Donatello, or which repeat Arturo Martini’s panels (see L’Attesa from 1931) and Sironi’s rough-hewn bodies with the same intense force – the atmosphere that lingers on the characters is that of the turmoil of the bourgeoise couple (Situazione -Situation- and Pensieri nella notte -Thoughts in the Night-), there is trepidation, trembling expectation, disenchantment, a general sense of disorientation and distance (see Sguardi tra le stanze -Glances between the Rooms- or Dialogo silenzioso -Silent Dialogue-), and it is clear that we are moving in the field of the oneiric (Le due notti - The Two Nights) or metaphysics (La stanza -The Room- and Oltre la soglia -Beyond the Threshold-).

In the Pietrasanta exhibition, Cornini deals, perhaps for the first time in such an exhaustive way, with large formats, which are presented – some in the solidity of polychrome bronze – so as to exemplify yet further the concept contained in Wonder of love, the idea that life, like art, is the fruit of the astonishment engendered in us by the highest feeling, love. And he does so, as we anticipated, above all with figures captured in the precise, undefinable instant of wonder, as clearly evinced by Grande abbraccio -Great Embrace- in which strength is leveraged to facilitate lightness, the solidity of the material is toned down by the rotation impressed on the air by the enthralled lovers, the man who lifts and protects the woman as she rises up and dives into his arms, the loved woman and the lover, or vice versa, the loved man and the lover, one inside the other: an extraordinary sculpture in which balance and dynamism, steadiness and movement, tend towards unison.

The exhibition can be visited till September 18th.

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