It's hard not to feel a little uneasy taking in the cracked, queasy shapes that comprise Arnaldo Pomodoro's sculptures. The Italian's works – resplendent in burnished bronze – are highly intricate and imposingly tactile, their torn, split forms as redolent of the retro-fitted and hellish futurescapes of Giger, Blade Runner and Clive Barker's Hellraiser – to a certain kind of Millennial audience, at any rate – as they are referential of the anachronistic mysticism and architecture the artist has confirmed as influences. It's beguiling stuff.
Thirty-five of these are on display as a new show – 'Arnaldo Pomodoro' – opening today at London's Tornabuoni Art. Pomodoro's first London showing in 50 years, the exhibition is a retrospective spanning half a century and encompassing early explorations in the interpretation of language and signs (such as 1960's Grande Tavola die Segni, via which the artist conveys a 'secret language, full of poetic myths and personal symbolism'); his reconstitutions of the themes and theories of Fontana's mid-century spatialist art movement; and more contemporary works, such as the exploded spheres of Sfera and Disco (2013 and 2014), the piercing shard of Senza titolo, 2015, and the densely packed half-hieroglyphs of 2010's Continuum series.
Sfera is a particularly pointed example of Pomodoro's embrace of spatialism – first pursued in the 1950s and the reason for which the artist has made embellished geometric forms the core of his creative practice ever since. Cracked open by 'a delirious succession of fragments searching for order' to reveal an inorganic core (or 'nucleus'), the work is a reflection of the movement’s demands in breaking the perfect surface of an artwork to locate the possibilities therein.
'After the success of the ground-breaking retrospective of Arnaldo Pomodoro in our Paris gallery in 2009, we couldn’t wait to bring these sculptures to London,' says Ursula Casamonti, Tornabuoni Art's director. 'In this ambitious sculptural exhibition we wanted to show a different side of spatialist research to the work that was presented within our inaugural Lucio Fontana retrospective.'