Stephan Balkenhol is one of the most important sculptors of our time. Born in Germany, his practice developed from the minimalist and conceptualist trend of the 1970s. In response to the abstract approach, he reintroduced the figure in contemporary sculpture, by focusing his production on the figure to depict a portrait of normality and every day.
Balkenhol's works are carved from a single block of wood using hammers, power saws and chisels. His gesture's spontaneity is visible in the chisel marks, cracks, and splinters that the artist leaves behind to make his works "alive". Besides, his works are often painted in simple but visually effective colours to accentuate the anatomy, but there is no intention in heightening the expression. His sculptures are either free-standing or wood reliefs, to strip them of any narrative content. The artist's totem-like sculptures are reminiscent of both folk art and medieval sculptures; he references art history to distil man's essential nature.
His work has been widely exhibited in international shows and is part of several collections.
According to Mimmo Paladino the artist is like an acrobat who moves in many directions.
Paladino, recognized as the most versatile representative of the artistic movement of the Transavanguardia, has chosen a strongly recognizable language that he has developed through the sign and the primitive power of the image.
Rich in both references to the past and contemporary, Paladino’s art is intended to investigate languages. His body of work is characterized by an interest for magic and mystery, symbolic and visionary references. The use of ritual rather than myth and absolute freedom of interpretation proposed through fantastical elements are emblematic elements in his production.
Fascinated by assemblage and collage, Paladino introduces masks, silhouettes of animals in his compositions. The combination of unfamiliar bodies, and the transformation of objects in alchemical terms are all elements that suggest the ancestral nature of the artist’s creative universe. His sculptures recall primordial subjects with abstract and suspended expressions.
Arnaldo Pomodoro works from the 1950s are high-reliefs where a unique and previously unknown sculptural "writing" emerged, variously interpreted by the most influential critics. In the early 1960s, he turned to three-dimensional work. He focused his research into the solid geometric form: spheres, discs, pyramids, cones, columns, cubes – all in burnished bronze – are lacerated, corroded, excavated in their depths, to destroy their perfection and discover the mystery closed within. The formal juxtaposition between the shiny model of their geometric shape and their insides' chaotic complexity becomes a constant in Pomodoro's production.
The artist's works are placed in symbolically important public spaces: a similar piece, in a bigger size, is located outside one of the historical theatres in Milano: The Piccolo Teatro Strehler, Largo Greppi 1.