First love: Francesco Vezzoli unveils ‘Eternal Kiss’ at Almine Rech Gallery

Francesco Vezzoli unveils ‘Eternal Kiss’ at Almine Rech Gallery

Installation view of Francesco Vezzoli’s Eternal Kiss
Installation view of Francesco Vezzoli's Eternal Kiss, recently opened at Almine Rech Gallery in London. Courtesy of the artist and Almine Rech Gallery.
(Image credit: Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd)

They say love conquers all, or, in the case of Italian artist Francesco Vezzoli’s latest artwork: 2000-odd years coupled with a painstakingly meticulous restoration process. Freshly unveiled at London’s Almine Rech Gallery (opens in new tab), Eternal Kiss features a pair of ancient marble busts locked in a fictional embrace.

Vezzoli acquired the sculptures at auction and together with a team of archaeologists has restored the Roman portraits of a man (circa second century AD) and a woman (Imperial, Hadrianic, circa 117-138 AD) to their original state. Exploring notions of beauty and the artifact, Vezzoli takes on the role of surgeon as he nips and tucks his subjects, mending their broken features and imbuing them with new personas.

This show marks the Milan-based artist’s return to London following a nine-year absence (his last outing here, in stark contrast to Almine Rech Gallery’s intimate space, was held at the Tate Modern). ‘The exhibition will focus on the objects themselves. Eternal Kiss will become nothing less than the most ancient sculpture of a kiss in existence. It’s as simple – or as complicated – as that,’ muses Vezzoli.

So what next for the multifaceted artist? He’s directed a new film starring Cindy Sherman as an ageing diva, which will be unveiled next month in Greece as part of Rufus Wainwright’s opera Prima Donna.

Front and back side view of Eternal Kiss sculpture

Vezzoli explains: 'The main objective of Eternal Kiss is to use the process of aesthetic restoration to re-enact a fictional kiss from two thousand years ago.' Courtesy of the artist and Almine Rech Gallery.

(Image credit: Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd)

Most ancient sculpture of a kiss in existence

Eternal Kiss has, Vezzoli continues, two main aims: 'The first is to restore to the heads the notion that originally they were made to function as objects of desire; the second, and more ambitious, aim of the work is to create the most ancient sculpture of a kiss in existence.' Courtesy of the artist and Almine Rech Gallery.

(Image credit: Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd)

INFORMATION

’Eternal Kiss’ is on view until 3 October 2015

ADDRESS

Almine Rech Gallery (opens in new tab)
11 Savile Row
London W1S 3PG

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