ContiniArtUK is pleased to
announce it will open its gallery on New Bond Street with a retrospective of
sculpture by Igor Mitoraj in May 2014. The Traces of Time will be the celebrated
Pietrasanta‐based master sculptor’s first major solo exhibition in London.
The Traces of Time is a definitive selection of Mitoraj sculptures in bronze, marble
and cast iron. At first glance the sculptures may seem like archeological artifacts,
evoking nostalgia for the golden age of antiquity and the poetry of ruin. Mitoraj
wants us to avoid this comparison by simultaneously embracing the very nature of
time; past, present and future. His sculptures consist of striking bodily fragments ‐
decapitated heads, headless torsos with missing limbs, distressed surfaces. This use
of the fragment relates to the paradox of the human condition, a quest for
perfection that carries with it the inevitability of imperfection.
“The idea of beauty is ambiguous, a doubleedged
sword that can easily hurt you,
causing pain and torture”, comments Mitoraj. “My art is an example of this
dichotomy: mesmerizing perfection attached to corrupted imperfection.”
Mitoraj is an honorary citizen of Pietrasanta, working with the famous artigiani,
regarded as the best in the world, excelling in decorative and technical skill. His
work can be viewed as part of a great Italian bronze‐casting heritage beginning
with the Etruscans and Romans and reaching its zenith during the Italian
The heroic head, so often a recurrent motif in Mitoraj’s work, may seem
fragmented and slightly surreal, even possessing a strong sense of the theatrical.
This dramatic influence can be attributed to the artist’s early years studying
painting at the Kraków Academy of Art under director Tadeusz Kantor, noted for
experimental theatre. Mitoraj’s early years included work on set designs and
costumes for operas Manon Lescaut, Tosca and latterly Aida, held in the Boboli
Gardens, Florence. Much of this theatricality is evident in his monumental works.
“My work is not concerned with recreating what has already been done but it is
simply an attempt to shape into familiar forms the drama of life.”
Mitoraj is perhaps best known for his monumental public sculptures, which have
been displayed in prominent locations including the foreground of London’s British
Museum, Canary Wharf, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, as well as the world famous
ruins of Agrigento, Sicily. Other important public works have been shown in Italy,
Spain, France, Japan and Germany. In addition to his public sculptures, Mitoraj’s
work has been exhibited in prestigious galleries in Europe, North America and
around the world.
Notable collectors of the Polish born sculptor’s work include TRH Prince and
Princess Michael of Kent, H. R. H. Princess Ira Von Furstenberg, Sir and Lady
George Iacubescu and Mr and Mrs Wafic Rida Said.
The exhibition catalogue introduction is written by James Putnam, Independent
Curator and Senior Research Fellow, University of the Arts, London. In 1994
Putnam invited Mitoraj to install his bronze colossus TsukiNoHikari
in front of the British Museum. This was part of the Time Machine exhibition, which
featured contemporary art juxtaposed with ancient Egyptian sculpture, the start of
an ongoing collaborative relationship between artist and curator.
The Traces of Time is the inaugural exhibition to be held at ContiniArtUK, a new
five thousand square foot gallery space set over two floors in the heart of Mayfair,
Central London. The gallery, on New Bond Street, will exhibit both contemporary
and modern art and the Igor Mitoraj retrospective will be shown alongside a
permanent collection of works from artists represented by ContiniArtUK including
Mario Arlati, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Fernando Botero, Teresa Emanuele, Enzo Fiore,
Enrico Ghinato, Robert Indiana, Julio Larraz, Fabrizio Plessi, Sophia Vari and