Visual Art Review: Carol Bove / Carlo Scarpa

Curators at Henry Moore Institute pair New York sculptor with 20th century Venetian architect

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Visual Art Review: Carol Bove / Carlo Scarpa

Credit: Courtesy of the Artist, Maccarone, New York and David Zwirner, New York/London

The works of Venetian architect Carlo Scarpa (1906–1978) and New York based sculptor Carol Bove (b. 1971) have been placed alongside each other in the Henry Moore Institute’s current exhibition.

The pair, who originate from different countries, generations and disciplines, and who never actually met in life, were chosen by curators Lisa Le Feuvre and Pavel Pys. ‘We began our conversation with Carol [Bove] in 2011, and in exchanging preliminary ideas we introduced her to Carlo Scarpa’s work. This introduction become hugely important to her practice,’ explains Pyś. ‘A number of Carol’s newly commissioned works were realised directly in response to our selection of objects and sculptures by Scarpa.’

The most direct response to Scarpa’s practice is located in the Henry Moore Institute’s tallest gallery. Here, Bove has re-imagined Scarpa’s contribution to the 1968 Venice Biennale where he presented his own sculptures within a setting of his design. Titled ‘Ambiente’ (‘Environment’), the 1968 display included sculptures made of bronze, marble and precious stones. ‘While these have survived, many of the surrounding display supports that he used have not,’ says Pyś. ‘For our exhibition, we worked closely with Carol to think through how "Ambiente" can be re-imagined and shown today.’ The result is a large platform holding Scarpa’s sculptures accompanied by materials selected by Bove.

Placed alongside Bove’s reimagining of ‘Ambiente’ are other new works made by the artist especially for this exhibition. ‘Cretaceous’ (2014), described by Pyś as ‘a hulking chunk of petrified wood bolted directly to an I-beam’, towers over the ‘Ambiente’ grouping. ‘At almost four metres high, ‘Cretaceous’ underlines Carol’s interest in the moment a natural material is given importance meaning as an art object,’ he continues. The exhibition includes a number of sculptures made by Bove in the years prior to her knowledge of Scarpa too, though they do not look out of place in this joint-exhibition. What the show demonstrates throughout is both artist and architect’s curiosity with how objects and sculptures can be presented, and how the language of the museum display gives them meaning and importance.

Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, until 12 Jul.

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