For the 2019 edition of ADAA's The Art Show in New York, Hauser & Wirth's presentation will be devoted to Roberto Cuoghi's recent sculptures that subvert and recreate animal forms. The booth's focal point is a series stemming from his major 2016 sculptural project entitled Putiferio, which translates from Latin as 'to bring out the odours of hell.' Developed as a commission for The DESTE Foundation on the Greek island of Hydra, the works of Putiferio utilised inventive firing processes in self-made kilns heated to 1200° celsius. Using a modified three-dimensional printer, Cuoghi photographically scanned crabs bought from the local fish market to create prints, adjusted the file to create the desired shape before printing in clay. Cuoghi experimented with countless firing techniques in order to create variations in the colour and texture of his sculptures. The artist spent months developing his kilns in the Milanese countryside before reconstructing them on Hydra for the subsequent 'cooking' of the crabs.
The booth will also showcase Ether en Flocons (2016-2018), an installation comprised of 10 birds made of agar-agar and pork gelatin. Each bird is derived from the same mould-of an enlarged, dead red-breasted bird-in which Cuoghi pours his substance and waits for it to solidify. Bacteria and mould develop over time as the bird is left vulnerable to the elements and further transformed by the natural environment. Cuoghi halts the process through a technique called lyophilisation, in which the bird is first frozen at extreme temperatures and then placed into a freeze-dryer for one month, transforming the formerly unstable gelatin into a stabilised sculpture. The birth is then consolidated into a vacuum machine, and the work is only complete when Cuoghi adds his final embellishments. This highly ambitious and time consuming project, made in collaboration with a team of conservators, marks a new territory for Cuoghi and is emblematic of his continued devotion to exercises in metamorphosis.