Unperturbed eternal terracotta men, made by juxtaposing fragments that, coming from the same matrix, are combined differently, each responding to the unique colour of the clay used: I Dormienti, The Sleepers by Mimmo Paladino is a work that originates from the late Nineties, when the artist first exhibited them in Poggibonsi, Italy in 1998 as part of the Arte all'Arte exhibition. In 2000 he decided to cast them in bronze for the permanent installation at the Fonte delle Fate in the same town. The additional terracotta sculptures that are on view, Sleepers and Crocodiles were created for an exhibition at the Roundhouse in London in 1999, presented in dialogue with a sound system specifically designed by the British musician, composer, and producer Brian Eno.
Twenty years later, the artist personally curates a reimaginedcomposition of the work. Never before exhibited in this manner, I Dormienti presents a site-specific commission for Cardi Gallery Milan that will be open to the public from the 22nd February to 30th April 2021.
'We wish to inaugurate this new year with an important and ambitious exhibition–explains Nicolò Cardi. In a particular moment like today we continue to concretely produce high quality contents, so as to stimulate a new planning for the art system and give a sign of trust in the world of culture.'
In the dim light of the large-scale exhibition space at Cardi Gallery Milan, the artist arranged 32 sculptures according to a new conceptual construction, re-modulating the tone of the installation with solemnity. Once again, Brian Eno's musical compositions frees I Dormienti from the heaviness of sleep and the evanescence of dreams, restoring them as a vital breath and a serene concreteness.
'The idea of assembling shapes as if they were modules recurs in Paladino' states Demetrio Paparoni, author of the volume accompanying the exhibition. 'It should not be forgotten that the artist has on several occasions manifested an aptitude for creating works conceived as a set of fragments archived in his visual imagination. It is this attitude that led him to create artworks together with Sol Le Witt, Alighiero Boetti, and, last but not least, Brian Eno, artists who have always worked with a different concept of module and repetition'.
The bodies of I Dormienti–in which many have seen a reference to the remains of the inhabitants of Pompeii and Herculaneum, but which actually refer to Henry Moore's drawings representing the British war shelters during World War II–are accompanied with the work Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down, composed of 100 drawings made during 2020, on view for the first time on the gallery's first floor. This work, like I Dormienti as well, is incredibly emblematic of the artist's oeuvre; as a puzzle where the fragments converge in a monumental unicum, as a 'picture window' that inhabits the artist's world view in search of a natural balance between intimism and collective memory.
Press release courtesy Cardi Gallery.