Though it may seem unlikely to some, but Francesco’s sculptures are a principal inspiration why I chose the job I am doing. A family friend already in my early (law!) study years, the fascination with Francesco’s oeuvre and anthropological thoughts have made a deep impression. After a successful early career Francesco chose to live on the Aeolian island of Filicudi, away from civilization and the art market, a lonely but magic place. Francesco’s works breathe that timelessness, spirituality and freedom. He believes that the artist’s main role and ability is to connect between our and the metaphysical world, to establish a link to the divine. After many years in art, I agree that it is possibly the fundamental motivation to create and look at art.
Francesco Pessina’s visual vocabulary and almost philosophical approach are 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 bears something deeply natural, pristine 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.
His Totem sculptures are insofar exemplary for Pessina’s credo. They are symbolically composed of six sculptural elements that represent the five continents and the sea (Australianus, Africanus, Europaeus, Asiaticus, Oceanicus and Americanus). The superimposable and exchangeable parts are akin to a “diary” of all of the earth’s various populations rather than of a single group or clan. The materials and sizes of the forms and the traces on its surface invariably differ, one Totem is never like another. Historically the Totem links to the variety of cultures on earth as well as the transcendence between life and death in ancient 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. The equilibrium in life as a human endeavour, at times fragile and at times indestructible, is a major concern for the Italian artist. That is why his whole sculptural oeuvre speaks of great calm and imbues great tranquility.
One of Pessina’s four-meter high Totem sculptures has been presented in the UN Memorial Park, Busan/Nam-Gu, South Korea in 2000.
Exhibitions at the gallery:
kaleidoscope: re-shuffle, 2014 (group show with Sarah Bridgland, Pius Fox, Dillwyn Smith and Johannes von Stumm)
Francesco Pessina, Scacco Matto, 2013 (solo show)
Sine Nomine Herma – Where the hell is Hermes? 2010 (solo show)
Francesco Pessina, Soul Game, 2008 (solo show)