Updated: Sep 3
Inspired by the Greek poem Metamorphosis, pioneer of the modern concept of sustainability, the epic worldset at Galerie Adriano Ribolzi in Montecarlo within the Monaco Art Week (MAW) 2022, introduced the audience to a ‘thousand-year-old forest’. A series of sculptures made of century-old olive trees trunks by Paolo Atchugarry, Uruguayan award-winning artist, travelling from his home Country to Italy and United States since the 1970’s to spread his immersive-like monumental artistic creativity. The internationally known sculptor puts the marble aside for a while and follows the linear and twisting forms ‘made by Nature’ to create suggestion, wonder and ancestral beauty, in the footsteps of Ovid’s poem (Book I).
Olive wood is traditionally symbolizing peace, wisdom, fertility, prosperity, immortality and success. Not by chance, all populations of the Mediterranean Basin have established a deep bond with this plant whose soul is considered as divine and sacred. Pablo Atchugarry, at the request of Adriano Ribolzi, carried MAW’s visitors to a spontaneous journey through six art installations telling a mythological story through shapes which interconnect between the ancient Greece and present times thanks to the ‘bible classicism’. The exhibition turned then to a reflection, or even a prayer to avoid attacks against nature, as the recent anthropic fires that devastated the Amazon rainforest. Olive tree fruits are as important as the complexity of its shape. The smooth sculptures thus seem to assume humanized forms and then turn back into the natural element depending on the point of observation.
Photos >> Portrait of Pablo Atchugarry in his laboratory and Official Cover of the Exhibition - © Galerie Adriano Ribolzi.
Atchugarry’s works are born through a specific dialogue between himself and the material he forges, as he declared many times. The works exhibited on the occasion of the Monaco Art Week have clearly highlighted this.
The tree is converted into sculpture and then masterpiece which flows from the natural resource like Michelangelo used to do. The myth of Prometheus stands out from the majesty of the forms that expresses his rebellion and strength challenging Zeus. The Ages of Man depicts the Golden Age, where human beings spent their best time. Stability and perfection are made effective by the artist through a smooth, simple but strong series of forms. Pure beauty is well represented by the Milky Way where the olive-tree trunk shows its unique expression to unveil the mythological sense of the maternity, that of Juno who, nursing Hercules, gave life to the most popular constellation.
An unprecedented journey among the human, divine and natural dimensions that intersect to perfection in Apollo and Daphne, one of the most famous passages of Ovid’s Metamorphosis. The woody surface raises its branches towards the sky evoking the Daphne’s movements while turning into a laurel. Simultaneously, the knots of the bark in the upper part recall Apollo’s tunic that flies in the wind in pursuit of his beloved. The need to take care of Planet Earth’s environment comes back in the representation of the myth of Phaeton closely linked to the vital importance of the water resource. This new sculpting itinerary marks an evocative stage of Atchugarry’s artistic production. ***
To know more about Pablo Atchugarry please visit: PieroAtchugarry
By Maurice Abbati