In the spaces of Nilufar Gallery, Nina Yashar, together with Luca Massimo Barbero, will introduce a series of unique sculptural works by Pietro Consagra (1920-2005). The exhibition that will run from 7th September to 27th November 2021, will showcase nine Matacubi object sculptures that were created in 1985 by Consagra and are of current relevance. These sculptures are perhaps one of the most prestigious exponents of international abstractionism. "Works whose beauty enrapture, but also objects with a function. On the one hand, they convey a sort of reverential apprehension, reflecting the artist’s strict, disciplined approach, while on the other they entice us into a relationship with them, a tactile, physical relationship, in which the forms invite us to interact with them,” says Nina Yashar.
Consagra’s works have also found home in the collections of some of the most important museums around the world like the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, MoMA in New York, the National Gallery in Washington, the Hermitage in St Petersburg, the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna in Rome, and the Musée d’Art Moderne Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.
This exhibition has been organised in collaboration with the Archivio Pietro Consagra, with a display installation by Ruggero Moncada di Paternò. Gabriella Di Milia, director of the Archivio Pietro Consagra, describes the series of Matacubi sculptures as a series of works “with rounded, sensual forms that unfold in a way that invites two or three people to sit down, creating a direct and immediate playful interaction with the viewer.” Paradoxical to the character of the marbles and painted iron sculptures that are the Matacubo sculptures, the term ‘matacubo’ comes from Sicilian dialect and refers to very compact, often bulky objects. "The artist chose the term ‘matacubo’, which in the Sicilian dialect refers to very compact, often bulky objects, as the paradoxical title of bewitching works made of marble or painted iron, which can also be viewed an alternatives to benches," says Gabriella Di Milia, director of the Archivio Pietro Consagra.
The dual character of these sculptures is what makes them extraordinarily contemporary. Matacubo sculptures also functions as a bench. In Luca Massimo Barbero’s words, the sculptures “appear not only with its vernacular name, with its bulky, sensually demanding being, but it is also a rediscovery of the origins, of what life really is, of what the object is, and of what it means to feel it in its physical essence, while also discovering the surprising variety of its materials. The Matacubi are objects and also sculptures, and their ambiguity is their richness. They are where the horizon, gravity, the plane and three-dimensional ramifications, but also so-called frontal sculpture, all come together. What we see in the Matacubi is not what is there, for they have a twofold soul. On the one hand they give pleasure to the eye and, on the other, once they are removed from their pedestals, they become a seat to touch and experience.”
It is this dual nature of the sculptures that also attracted Nina Yashar when she visited the Archivio Pietro Consagra. The Matacubi sculptures particularly captured her attention because of their functional character and their enticing nature to attract viewers to create a tactile, physical relationship with them. She expressed how Consagra might have wished for these sculptures to occupy domestic spaces, instead of solely adorning museums and institutional spaces.
The exhibition also enabled the curators to interact with Patricia Urquiola, Martino Gamper and Brigitte Niedermair. Further, a limited-edition catalogue, titled Matacubi di Pietro Consagra, and edited by Luca Massimo Barbero, will be presented at the exhibition.