Francesco Pessina’s almost philosophical approach to art is exceptional – within the program of the gallery as well as the broader field of contemporary art. Best known for his sculptures made of elementary materials such as stone, wood and iron, Pessina’s oeuvre reveals something deeply natural, metaphysical and primordial.
Having moved to the Aeolian island of Filicudi north of Sicily, the archaic beauty and spiritual energy of this surrounding have in many ways influenced his entire art practice. Not only did he choose to dedicate himself mainly to sculpture as a means of expression. He also intensified his quest into the fundamental thoughts about humanity and the roots of human existence through a period of intensive and still ongoing research in anthropology, astrology, ethnic studies and dream reading.
Pessina’s Totem sculptures are exemplary for the artist's vision. They are symbolically composed of six sculptural elements representing the five continents and the sea (Australianus, Africanus, Europaeus, Asiaticus, Oceanicus and Americanus).
The superimposable and exchangeable forms unite to a “diary” of all the earth’s populations and not of one single group or clan. The materials and sizes of the forms and the traces on its surface always differ, one Totem is never like another.
Historically the Totem links to the great variety of cultures on earth as well as the transcendence between life and death in ancient and modern societies. In a contemporary reading the Totems are a metaphor of a global society, whose basic forms remain the same while its structure is flexible and in constant flux.
Pessina’s alternative approach to art results in a timeless message, which nevertheless addresses essential and pressing questions of our time, in particular in an unprecedented period as today. The equilibrium in life as a human endeavour, at times fragile and at times indestructible, is a major concern for the Italian artist. This balance is why Pessina’s sculptural oeuvre speaks of great calm and imbues great tranquillity.