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Vertically Challenging

Vertically Challenging

The summer is always the perfect time for group shows and one of them, still open this month, has caught our eyes.

Courtesy of Rosenfeld Porcini
Courtesy of Rosenfeld Porcini

‘Verticality’, an exhibition currently at Rosenfeld Porcini gallery in Fitzrovia, approaches the Verticality/Horizontality basic dichotomy through a group of sculptures, drawings and paintings. Cleverly, it does not stop the exploration at the visual but extends it also to a series of talks taking place this month. These talks organised by the how to: Academy will look at three diverse “vertical” subjects: skyscrapers, democracy and monogamy.

Visually, the theme is wonderfully illustrated. As a child, we have all experimented with instinctively stacking blocks vertically and one of the first images that comes to mind in terms of artistic composition is probably the one of vertical sculptures.

The show includes an eclectic range of sculptures from nine artists from different backgrounds using various techniques and materials. For example, Nicola Samori’s five-meter creation ‘Lieve Legno‘ (2017) is made of poplar wood and draws on the extraordinary tradition of African totemic sculpture. Another artist from the Philippines, Jose Santos III, has created a large Corinthian column consisting of an eclectic collection of objects evoking emotionally charged memories.

Courtesy of the Gallery
Courtesy of the Gallery

On the left side of Jose Santos III’s sculpture, one can see two remarkable drawings of the Nigerian artist Uthman Wahaab from the series ‘Distorted Balance‘ (2018). Admirably drawn on paper with a limited palette of pastel and charcoal, each one depicts three figures balancing on one another’s shoulders.

The show also includes a complex installation by Italian artist Antonio Riello from his series ‘Ashes to Ashes‘. The work features a variety of glass urns, each containing the ashes of a burnt book belonging to an imaginary library of Alessandria, arranged in a subjective order of importance. The urns are designed and produced by the artist in collaboration with the Italian glass blower Massimo Lunardon. On each urn, the artist has printed the title of the book, the date of first publishing, and the name of the author.

Antonio Riello's 'Ashes to Ashes #8' (2018) glass, book's ashes; site specific installation, variable. Courtesy of the gallery
Antonio Riello’s ‘Ashes to Ashes #8’ (2018) glass, book’s ashes; site specific installation, variable. Courtesy of the gallery

The gallery also features the works of five painters. One of them is the Chinese artist Lu Chao, whose oil paintings draw their formal inspiration from traditional Chinese ink painting.  His impressive ‘Balance No3‘ represents a huge display of cakes containing what resembles human figures in miniature squashed together, ready with their luggage to leave for an unknown destination. This raises a very topical political subject, which no doubt will be touched upon during one of the scheduled talks.

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Lu Chao ‘Balance No.3 (2018), oil on canvas, 150x120cm, Courtesy of the gallery


For the full list of participating artists, visit the gallery website.

The exhibition runs until 22 September.
Address: 37 Rathbone Street, London W1T 1NZ
Opening Times: Tue – Fri 11am-7pm; Sat 12-6pm