Luciano Fabro (Italy)

Turin, 1937 - Milan, 2007

Bathers

This work draws on a long tradition of portraying bathers

Cézanne, Matisse and, of course, Picasso, all tackled the subject in paint with verve, while Fabro renders his bathers in non-figurative stone in, as it were, an extreme Cubism. Magritte, who merged nude and stone, is also present in these forms. But Fabro designed a new order.

By placing the works in water he created an entirely individual dynamic and interaction: between the stones themselves, between the stones and their surroundings, and between the stones and people. The hard, cold marble takes on an almost human, personal quality as our interpretative gaze glides across the reflections of sunlight in the rippling water and onto the marble’s gleaming veins. The marble, at times, seems to move, especially when a breeze makes the leaves flutter.

There is a suggestion of overture, of ‘sympathy’ as Fabro himself described it, in the moving elements and the composition. But, above all, we see isolation within the unified whole: the stones stand alone in the eternally flowing water, the beginning of all life, the ‘primal sea’, as Fabro put it. His order evokes melancholy and, with great skill, he puts very limited means – he was an exponent of Arte Povera – to maximum effect.

Location

Number 29 on the map

Specifications

  • Bathers
  • 1994
  • h 200 cm x w 60 cm x d 10 cm
  • Marble
  • MIDW481