Alessandro Pessoli


maiolica ceramic, bronze, and steel
58 x 33 x 19 inches

“Pessoli fuses classically based tradition with a contemporary creative impulse, formulating a hallucinatory world in which the past is continually reinterpreted and corrupted,” says Jenny Gheith, curator of Alessandro Pessoli’s solo exhibition at SFMoMA. Pessoli’s recent ceramic sculptures – often arranged in groups or scenes on sculptural pedestals and tables – bear a number of connections to the tradition Gheith mentions. In part, they are reminiscent of teatrini (small theaters) created by artists such as Martini, Melotti, Fontana, or of Calder’s famous Circus. Pessoli also employs historically-weighted materials: bronze and maiolica ceramic, an Italian ceramic technique dating back to the Renaissance characterized by an opaque, white glaze. Here, the resulting work conjures a childlike, poetic vignette with a distinct sense of melancholy, perhaps related to Cervia, Pessoli’s birthplace, referenced in the title. Pessoliʼs work has been shown in numerous exhibitions, including solo shows at the Collezione Maramotti, Reggio Emilia; MACRO Museo d´Arte Contemporanea Roma; and Chisenhale Gallery, London. His work was prominently featured in Italics: Italian Art between Tradition and Revolution, 1968-2008 at the Palazzo Grassi, Venice, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. A set of 30 drawings by Pessoli was included in the 2009 Venice Biennale as part of the Making Worlds section curated by Daniel Birnbaum.