The works in the Percorsi d'arte exhibition enthralled visitors to Marmomac in being arranged along the walkway that split in two the pool of water which was the centrepiece for the 2018 edition of The Italian Stone Theatre. This was an unprecedented reversal of roles compared to a fashion show: visitors on the move, moving back and forth just like professional models, and the hieratic works on display as if immovable stone muses narcissistically gazing at their own reflections. This year welcomes back sculptural art to Marmomac alongside traditional research in architectural and design fields, as a sphere of application and experimentation of new stone processing technologies.
From products to artefacts
Setting aside the heroic idea of artists working with chisels, the selected participants accepted the challenge of giving up using their hands to verify the expressive potential of machine tools guided by the sophisticated software available today. These artists measured up with this potential in the dialogue opening the exhibition, focusing on the relationship between technique and poetics starting from the challenge posed by the Art Ways exhibition. The curator, Raffaello Galiotto, summed up the exhibition regulations: all works are made starting from blocks of equal size (180x80x30 cm) to limit wastage of material and using only numerically controlled machines for processing. Even the artistic workshops, initially reluctant to introduce these devices, today perceive the use of such new tools as an interesting opportunity for updating in the field of artistic stone processing. The four sculptural objects on display are consequently the outcome of mechanical processing and exclude any finishing by hand. The challenge is to ensure that the hallmark of the tool is a representation of our contemporaneity: something made possible by constant growth of technology, which even artistic and creative spheres must learn to use. Even for artistic production, the transition from products to artefacts is a reality.
What the protagonists said
In the presentation debate during Marmomac 2018, discussion focusing on these issues started with the report by Nicolas Bertoux, who viewed the challenge of using new technologies as the continuity of work that, in sculpture of monumental dimensions, has for some time envisaged machine-assisted roughing out stage. While, in general, mechanical tools leave marks that are usually eliminated by hand finishing, in this case and in dialogue with processing technicians, an attempt was made to ensure that the marks left by the machine appeared to be natural and spontaneous.
Jon Isherwood has worked with numerical control technologies for fifteen years, observing with growing interest the artificial traces left by mechanical tools on stone: a very exciting new opportunity which finds expression in the work developed for Marmomac: Homage to Monet at Girverny.
The artistic education of Sylvestre Gauvrit, developed in a traditional manner through stages from drawing to model and from chalk to marble sculpture, thanks to his passion for technology has encountered a new virtual world, where the artist shapes form and technology is the support. The execution of Andante ma non troppo, the work on show at the exhibition, would not have been possible without mechanical processing: it is a volumetric and non-textural object that seeks to turn stone material into something as delicate as a veil.
Alongside the traditional approach to sculpture by means of subtraction - by virtue of elimination, as Michelangelo said - Raffaello Galiotto with Atollo adds a contrasting principle of cutting and division. In this way, the material can be shaped like clay to obtain a re-composed form: in this case, there are forty undulating blade-like items, only made possible thanks to software that provides control over the circular sectors slanted on the three axes.
Curated by Raffaello Galiotto
Design: Nicolas Bertoux
Material: Bardiglio by G.R. Marmi
Design: Raffaello Galiotto
Production: T&D Robotics
Material: Carrara White by GDA Marmi & Graniti
ANDANTE MA NON TROPPO
Design: Sylvestre Gauvrit
Material: Carrara White
HOMAGE TO MONET AT GIRVERNY
Design: Jon Isherwood
Production: Garfagnana Innovazione
The promenade over the water that connects the works on display is in Blumaggia gneiss with as-split surface finishing supplied by Mec and Materica Stone.