Pearl Lam Galleries is delighted to announce the opening of its new gallery at H Queen's, Hong Kong's latest art hub. Warped Matter, Curved Time is the first solo exhibition in Asia by Italian artist Arcangelo Sassolino. For over two decades, Sassolino has developed a visual language where the properties of physics—speed, gravity, pressure, and vibration—are marshalled to examine the friction between industrial progress and humanist concerns. His sculpture is both ethological and mechanised, poetic and menacing, pushing materials past their physical limitations and illustratingModernism's process of becoming and unbecoming.
The exhibition contains three discrete bodies of work that each uses industrial material as its foil: concrete, glass, and rubber. Sassolino's large-scale, wall-mounted concrete sculptures transform the once rough building material into a reflective glass-like surface. Influenced by the pervasive and promiscuous use of concrete across Northern Italy's landscape, Sassolino sought to push the ubiquitous industrial material past its utilitarian applications where curved forms are created by its own weight rather than casting. The surface of the artworks is not polished; instead, the artist has pioneered a radical technique to reveal concrete's untapped potential where concave forms seem to float from the wall like portals, creating encounters that evoke the sublime and question perception. For his wall-mounted glass sculptures, sheets of 12mm thick glass are precisely hand cut and stacked in precise rectangular forms. The sculpture's edges, while seemingly benign and meticulous, reflect flaws and are dangerous to the touch. The layers of glass, held together by an industrial steel clamp and cantilevered from the wall, visualise the perpetual equilibrium between the pressure from the vice and the resistance of the glass: each material exerts the exact pressure necessary to hold its shape and resist shattering.
Also on view are a series of fully inflated, free-standing Pirelli truck tires whose initial circular form has been squeezed by several tons of pressure and held into shape by an industrial I-beam. The sculpture's immanent tension is created by the tires' relentless desire to return to their pristine inflated state, while indomitable steel beams hold the material into place. As if a modern day analogue to Giambologna, Sassolino's sculptures are a harbinger recalling the present dangers of unchecked industrial process and patriarchy.
Arcangelo Sassolino's sculptures provide ample clues to decode the artist's outlook on our shared global society: with titles including Perdita di valori tradizionali (Loss of Traditional Values), Instabilità pretoria (Instability of the Praetorian Guard), and Marcus and Antonius, the artist alludes to the Fall of Rome. Extending both the legacies of kinetic art and Arte Povera, Arcangelo Sassolino's work calls into question the often destructive qualities societies must possess to evolve, raising doubt about the nature of empathy in our contemporary consciousness.
Press release courtesy Pearl Lam Galleries.