This autumn, Waddington Custot celebrates the work of contemporary sculptor Pablo Reinoso. A pair of Special Focus exhibitions, launching online at intervals throughout the month of September, are complemented by a presentation of some of the artist's most iconic works in the Cork St gallery space.
These presentations, accessible both online and in person, seek to explore the Franco-Argentine artist's ongoing interest in the contemporary interaction between humanity and the environment. Having learned carpentry at an early age from his grandfather before going on to study marble sculpting in Carrara, Tuscany, in 1978, Reinoso's practice has always been intrinsically tied to the materials of his craft. His use of natural products, including wood, stone, marble and slate are often subverted by industrial components such as steel and brass, to chart both the destruction and required protection of the planet.
In Up Rooted Medium and Articulation VI, both of which are included in the first of the Special Focus exhibitions, the artist positions pieces of dead tree trunk inside metal structures. Man-made substances are seen to support the destroyed or decaying material, which can no longer survive on its own. The steel surround, which completes the missing foliage and tree top, also functions as a shield and acts as an armour for the tree trunk, suggesting that if intervention is brought on quickly enough the battle against pollution and climate change can be resolved. Through these works Reinoso invites the viewer to further consider relationships between man and the natural environment.
Reinoso's sculptural benches, for which he is widely known, have been publically installed at locations alongside the River Thames in London, beside the Quai Gillet in Lyon and on the south terrace of the Elysée Palace in Paris. The wooden structures of Reinoso's Spaghetti Benches, seen with Curly Bench and Deroule, mirror the organic forms and patterns of the material's beginnings. Fluid, tangled limbs grow from the benches themselves, spilling out and encroaching on the surrounding area. Reinoso invites the public to sit and occupy these locations, while also providing space for remnants of nature. The artist describes this as his testament to 'nature winning back territories that have been taken away by human actions... if we deregulate nature it can recover and grow back'.
Following recent events, Reinoso's benches have taken on further significance as people start to question and reimagine how public spaces can be used and occupied. Inside the gallery, similar bench works from the Spaghetti and Garabatos series are also displayed, encouraging the public to sit and contemplate human relationships with space, nature and the city.
Press release courtesy Waddington Custot.