Thursday, 4 August 2016

Out & About: Mitoraj sculptures at Pompeii

Sculpture by Mitoraj at Pompeii
The blog has been quiet for a few weeks as we were away on our summer holiday.  Rather than our normal family camping trip, we decided to do something different this year and we spent three glorious weeks in Italy visiting some of the major cities - modern and ancient.  
Richard standing next to one of the sculptures gives you a sense of scale - he is 6foot4!
We took rather a lot of photos - the numbers increased hugely increased whenever one of the children borrowed the camera.  Over our three devices I think we have around 4,000 photos.  The number is going down as I remove all the photos of the kids' feet!
Not one of the kids' feet!
One of the highlights of the holiday for me was a visit to an incredibly hot Pompeii.  The visitor facilities were sparse, which was a positive thing, rather than turning it into a theme park.  The main facility was plenty of water taps, which we made good use of refilling our water bottles.
Looking up at one of the Mitoraj sculptures
Fitting in with the ancient town were a number of monumental sculptures by Igor Mitoraj.  They fitted in so well that it was only on a second glance that I noticed they weren't from Roman times (maybe I was a bit hot and tired... or had had too much to drink at lunch prior to visiting!).  The sculptures were generally of parts of the body - never complete - and sometimes with an unexpected disconnected head, for example, in the fold of a shoulder blade.  
Another Mitoraj sculpture

I found these pieces intriguing and when we got back home, I tried to find out a bit more about Mitoraj and the exhibition.  There wasn't a huge amount on the web, but these are a couple of quotes from his 2014 obituary in the Guardian, which echo why I found the work so exciting:

Rupture & fragmentation became metaphors for the passing of antiquity, but could also stand for the nature of time itself and indeed the whole human condition.

Quoting Mitoraj directly, it said:
I feel that a piece of arm or a leg speak far more strongly than a whole body.
Given that I have spent so much time making work inspired by ancient sculptures, it is fascinating and exciting to see work which is interpreting similar ideas more deeply and in a totally different way. 

Another Mitoraj sculpture, this time besides the Leaning Tower of Pisa



Sandy said...

Thank you for showing these! I really like them. Love the way they capture antiquity straight off. Like some of Eszter Bornemisza work which I think shows the depth of history visually. But also the Mitoraj sculptures seem to add a story to them like Mount Olympus intrigues or Jason + the Argonauts or Helen of Troy.

Gillian Cooper said...

Thanks Sandy. I really loved these pieces. I think they work so well in these settings too. I'm not sure if they would appeal to me as much if they were outside a large corporate building in London - although they could then be interpreted to have a message about hubris or Icarus?!

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