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Enrico David at The Hepworth Wakefield, 2015. Photo by Stuart Whipps.
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Enrico David

13 Nov 2015 - 24 Jan 2016

In 2015, the gallery presented an exhibition by Enrico David, introducing recent works, plus a new series of sculptures specially commissioned by The Hepworth Wakefield.

Featuring over 20 works created in the two years prior, it was the artist’s first solo show at an institution in the UK since his exhibition at the ICA in 2007 and his Turner Prize nomination in 2009.

David’s work encompasses painting, sculpture, textiles and installation with the act of drawing being key to his exploration of form. Mining a space between figuration and abstraction, the artist consistently returns to the body as a point of departure, exploring the human figure as a metaphor for transformation.

David’s interest in British and European modern sculpture has come to the fore in his work, exploring affinities with the work of Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore and Alberto Giacometti among others, while at the same time retaining an idiosyncratic aesthetic language which remains purposefully varied and full of provocative ambiguity.

‘Enrico David’s sculpture orgy: what fun, how weird, how strange!’ ****

Adrian Searle, The Guardian

‘From show to show, you never quite know where Enrico David is going to land, but it’s almost always in the vicinity of figures of a mystical or fantastical sort.’

Roberta Smith, The New York Times

David created several new works for the exhibition. Cast in bronze, fibreglass and jesmonite, these large human figures assumed various poses, many relying on the building’s architecture for support – hugging the floor, leaning against walls or suspended from the ceiling and floating in space.

The sense of metamorphosis that pervaded their forms through allusions to cocoons or chrysalis-like forms lent these new works a close affinity with the natural world. This suggestion of continual change was further emphasised by David’s manipulation of materials, the final works often being the result of a sequence of modelling and casting processes that diverted our understanding of their material truth.

The exhibition also featured a series of smaller sculptures, produced over the previous two years, which stayed close to the scale of the drawings on which they were based, pulling viewers in to their more intimately scaled details. Installed so as to punctuate the installation of the more monumental works, the sculptures occupied the galleries like elements populating a landscape, each marking out their own space while engaging in dialogue across a shared environment.

David’s exhibition opened alongside a new exhibition of the work of British modernist artist Gertrude Hermes, with both artists exploring a critical dialogue between drawing and sculpture.

The exhibition was kindly supported by

Michael Werner Gallery, New York and London, with additional support from Collezione Maramotti and Grand Central Rail.


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