Mica Bowman & Massimiliano Pelletti Photo by Richard Young
Bowman Sculpture gallery in London’s Mayfair are presenting the inaugural UK solo exhibition of celebrated contemporary Italian sculptor Massimiliano Pelletti, with an opening during Frieze Week. ‘Eredità’ (Heritage) runs from 11th October to 10th November 2023 at Bowman Sculpture Gallery, 6 Duke’s Street, St. James’s. The gallery is also participating in Frieze Masters 2023 in Regents Park where their stand features important works from the 18 th century to the present day including sculptures by Auguste Rodin, Pietro Calvi, Camile Claudel, Henry Moore, Emily Young, and ‘Trojan Horse’ by contemporary South African sculptor Willie Bester.
Massimiliano Pelletti has exhibited to critical acclaim in Italy, including an exhibition with Italian Renaissance Sculptor Canova (December 2021 to April 2022). ‘Eredità’ at Bowman Sculpture features contemporary sculptures that Pelletti carves from exotic stones sourced from different parts of the world, which are inspired by antique models.
He deliberately incorporates visible flaws, cracks, and fissures inherent in the material into his sculptures, inviting viewers to contemplate mankind’s relationship with the past and question the idealisation of past cultures. The artist’s work combines the past with the present, contrasting smooth segments with the rough texture of unpolished stone.
Natural stones and materials are selected to compliment his subject matter and their natural flaws and fissures serve as the unusual focal point of his work.
Massimiliano Pelletti explains: “I’m not a sculptor who imposes himself on the material and transforms it according to his desire, I’m a sculptor, an artist who seeks a collaborative relationship, who seeks an intimate dialogue with the material.”
Bowman Sculpture director Mica Bowman recently signed Massimiliano Pelletti for exclusive representation in the UK, and she curated the exhibition at Bowman Sculpture which features a new series of sculptures inspired by iconic sculptures of Greek and Roman antiquity, which Pelletti creates with a contemporary twist. The exhibition titled ‘Eredità’ plays on the theme of heritage and the artisanal legacy Pelletti is continuing with his expert knowledge of the art of direct stone carving, a traditional and increasingly rare skill that Pelletti inherited from his grandfather Mario.
Massimiliano was educated from a young age in the art of stone carving, spending much of his childhood in his grandfather’s studio surrounded by plaster models of ancient sculptures. His grandfather, an esteemed stone carver in his own right, was one of the traditional Italian artisans called upon to work on the infamous restoration of Michelangelo’s Pietà in The Vatican.
Mica Bowman comments: “Eredità’ is a captivating solo exhibition by Italian artist Massimiliano Pelletti, featuring contemporary sculptures carved from exotic stones sourced from around the world that emulate antique models. Pelletti deliberately incorporates visible flaws, cracks, and fissures inherent in the material into his sculptures, inviting viewers to contemplate mankind’s relationship with the past and question the idealisation of past cultures. The classically ideal body was established in Classical Greek sculpture of the 5 th Century B.C., and while Pelletti draws influence from Greek and Roman sculpture of antiquity, he emphasises flaws and imperfections to subvert the classical ideal.
Through his meticulous craftsmanship and thought-provoking compositions, Pelletti unveils a nuanced exploration of time, imperfection, and our collective fascination with bygone eras.”
‘Eredità’ precedes a major exhibition at the Galleria at the distinguished Palazzo Doria Pamphilj in Rome, where Pelletti’s work will be exhibited alongside that of such artistic giants as Caravaggio, Titian, and Raphael. This juxtaposition of contemporary with old masters is a unique endeavour for the Doria Pamphilj and this will be the first time that the museum has allowed a contemporary artist to be shown alongside the old masters in residence which truly highlights the calibre and importance of Massimiliano as an artist.
Pelletti (Born. 1975) studied at the Stagio Stagi Art School in Pietrasanta, going on to graduate from the University of Pisa with a degree in Philosophy. He began a career as an artist in 2006, getting off to a flying start by winning the 12th edition of the Biennale of Young Artists from Europe and the Mediterranean, which led to high profile exhibitions in Italy and abroad, including the Alexandria Biennale in Egypt and the 54th Venice Biennale as part of the Italian Pavilion, curated by Vittorio Sgarbi.
Pelletti finds beauty in imperfection and plays with the ancient Greco belief in Idealism, a metaphysical view that our reality is based upon our own perceptions. The ancient Greek obsession with idealized beauty and physical perfection was conveyed through their sculptures, and Pelletti brings these visions of beauty into the present day by creating sculptures whose beauty if focused on the imperfection inherent in the material. Many of his sculptures are familiar figures from history, inspired by the collection of plaster classical models inherited from his grandfather’s Glyptotheque.
Massimiliano Pelletti: “My grandfather taught me to be humble, to fill the work with poetry and to face problems by transforming them into resources. Thanks to these teachings, in my work every defect has turned into merit.”
Massimiliano Pelletti: ‘Eredità’ is at Bowman Sculpture gallery, 6 Duke Street, St. James’s, London SW1Y 6BN from 11 th October to 10th November 2023