An Italian sculptor who lives and works in London, Enrico David creates poetic pieces that recall elements of early-20th-century art. A short-lister for the 2009 Turner Prize and a featured artist in “The Encyclopedic Palace,” curator Massimiliano Gioni’s critically acclaimed exhibition at the 2013 Venice Biennale, David presents his second solo show at the gallery, with new drawings and objects that blur the boundaries between abstraction and figuration, the concrete and the surreal.
In The Assumption of Weee, multiple iterations of the same sinuous figure morph from a prone head into a standing form in a kind of time-lapse conga line. Besides its references to Futurism or perhaps special effects, the piece seems to evoke different stages of being or regenerations of the self.
Drainage depicts a face nestled within a shape that could be botanical, like a tulip bulb, or anatomical, like a pair of cupped hands. Its elongated forehead is also bisected, rather oddly, by the cross section of a bone. In Sun Leak, a pair of legs descends from an ambiguously modeled lump that, from certain angles, suggests a fish’s head.
David’s fanciful figures are initially constructed in clay and then cast in jesmonite—a combination of gypsum powder and resin that can be painted or stained. But they manage, somehow, to transcend their material makeup, becoming elusive, intangible entities, drifting between the theatrical and psychological.