Alessandro Pessoli

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)

Alessandro Pessoli, Fighter and Sandrino 63, 2012. Painted majolica and cast bronze.*

October 12, 2012

New Work:
Alessandro Pessoli

Until February 10, 2013

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
151 Third Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

This fall, Italian-born, Los Angeles-based artist Alessandro Pessoli debuts his latest body of work at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) in his first solo museum exhibition on the West Coast. On view through February 10, 2013, New Work: Alessandro Pessoli highlights the artist’s diverse range of art making since he relocated from Milan to the United States in 2009.The exhibition brings together 40 graphite drawings and a related sculpture created during his first year in California, along with a new series of vibrantly painted mixed-media works on paper and majolica sculptures that are on view for the first time.

Alessandro Pessoli (b. 1963) fuses classically based tradition with a contemporary impulse, formulating a hallucinatory world in which the past is continually reinterpreted and corrupted. Familiar and historical imagery is resuscitated and intermingled with personal associations, while art historical references appear throughout. At times cynical, sincere, or perverse, his constructions depict restless, exaggerated characters who act out a range of emotions. Like the dreamlike atmospheres they inhabit, the fragmentary figures seem cloaked in a haze of memory, coming only partially into focus.

Pessoli’s figures are formed through conventional means: they are drawn, painted, or sculpted. Drawing is central to all aspects of his artistic production, and his illustrations are defined by the expressive nature of their lines and the immediacy of their marks. His ceramics are fabricated from majolica, a sculptural medium synonymous with the Northern Italian Renaissance. Majolica retains the nuances of Pessoli’s meticulous handcrafting of his figures, enabling the translation of his drawings and paintings into three-dimensional forms.

An inherent dexterity in Pessoli’s process allows for such seamless shifts between materials. While he does not simultaneously work in different mediums, symbols and characters carry over among them and are con­stantly reimagined and re-created. Pessoli frequently invokes the formal characteristics of his predecessors’ work—including that of Honoré Daumier and Pablo Picasso—a reflection of his reverence for the history of art. Science fiction, cartoons, and cinema are also quoted and repurposed to fit his needs. These influences are mixed with personal references, adding complexity to Pessoli’s visual lexicon.

Though undoubtedly influenced by his Italian roots, his recent work also reflects his move to Los Angeles. New Work: Alessandro Pessoli reveals an imagination in transition: new symbols and influences appear in this recent work, affecting color, imagery, and form. The resulting objects convey a palpable freedom, defined by a strength­ened personal vocabulary and a continuing sense of invention.

The exhibition is organized by Jenny Gheith, assistant curator of painting and sculpture, and marks the latest installment of the museum’s ongoing New Work series.

About Alessandro Pessoli
Born in Cervia, Italy, Pessoli studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna, and currently lives and works in Los Angeles. He has had solo exhibitions at Collezione Maramotti, Reggio Emilia (2011); MACRO Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Roma (2009); Chisenhale Gallery, London (2005); and The Drawing Center, New York (1997); and others.

About SFMOMA’s New Work Series
In 1987, SFMOMA’s New Work series was conceived as an important vehicle for the advancement of new art forms. Artists such as Matthew Barney, Marilyn Minter, and Christopher Wool were given their first solo museum exhibitions through the program. The New Work series has showcased work by Kerry James Marshall, Tatsuo Miyajima, Doris Salcedo, Luc Tuymans, Richard Aldrich, Phil Collins, Vincent Fecteau, Rachel Harrison, Lucy McKenzie, Wangechi Mutu, Anna Parkina, Mai-Thu Perret, R. H. Quaytman, Mika Rottenberg, Felix Schramm, Ranjani Shettar, Paul Sietsema, and Katharina Wulff, among others.

Read full press release

*Image above:
Alessandro Pessoli, Fighter and Sandrino 63, 2012. Painted majolica and cast bronze, 50 1/2 x 27 x 22 inches. Courtesy greengrassi, London; and Anton Kern Gallery, New York. © Alessandro Pessoli. Photo: Robert Wedemeyer.




SFMOMA presents Alessandro Pessoli
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San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
October 12, 2012

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