Pomodoro in Milan, 1975
|Sphere Within Sphere|
Pomodoro designed a controversial fiberglass crucifix for the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The piece is topped with a fourteen-foot diameter crown of thorns which hovers over the figure of Christ.
Some of Pomodoro's Sphere Within Sphere (Sfera con Sfera) can be seen in the Vatican Museums, Trinity College, Dublin, the United Nations Headquarters and Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, the de Young Museum in San Francisco, Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, American Republic Insurance Company in Des Moines, Iowa, the Columbus Museum of Art in Columbus, Ohio, the University of California, Berkeley, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Virginia, and the Tel Aviv University, Israel.
Arnaldo Pomodoro was born on 23 June 1926 in Morciano di Romagna, Montefeltro area. He received his diploma from the Technical Institute for Surveyors in Rimini, and then worked at the Public Works Office in Pesaro. He developed an interest in art and scenography, and attended the Art Institute in Pesaro.
In 1953, Pomodoro attended an exhibition of Picasso which was held in Milan at the Palazzo Reale. This exhibition made a strong impression on him, and a year after he moved to Milan where he joined the artistic community and became friends with Lucio Fontana, Dangelo, Sanesi, Baj, and others. He took part in the 10th Triennale in Milan, and together with his brother Gio' he also participated in the Venice Biennale.
In 1959, Arnaldo Pomodoro received a grant to study American art, and traveled to the United States for the first time. He describes his visit to MoMa and seeing Brancusi's sculptures as a strong inspiration for his work. In San Francisco, he met Mark Rothko who was teaching at the California School of Fine Arts. In New York Pomodoro met Costantino Nivola and Enrico Donati who introduced him to such artists as Franz Kline, Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol and others. He also met sculptors David Smith and Louise Nevelson, and organized an exhibition New Work from Italy, dedicated to the Italian artists.
Later in 1960s, he developed a collaboration with the Marlborough Gallery in New York. In 1963, Pomodoro received the International Prize for Sculpture at the VII São Paulo Biennale and also the National Prize for Sculpture at the XXXII Venice Biennale in 1964. In 1966, he became an artist in residence at Stanford University, and then at UC Berkeley and Mills College. The following year he created the Sfera grande for the Italian Pavilion at the Montreal Expo. This sculpture is now located in front of the Farnesina Palace in Rome. That year Pomodoro won the International Prize for Sculpture from the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh.
In 1972, Arnaldo Pomodoro returned to set design, and worked on the play Das Käthchen von Heilbronn by Heinrich von Kleist, which was staged in Zurich. In 1984, he had a large retrospective exhibition at the Forte di Belvedere in Florence. In 1988, Pomodoro participated in the Venice Biennale as well as the international exhibition of sculpture at the World Expo in Brisbane. His work Forme del Mito(Forms of Myth) which was displayed at the Expo, was later purchased by Brisbane City Council for the City of Brisbane.
His work Sfera con Sfera was installed in the Cortile della Pigna of the Vatican Museums. In 1992, he was awarded an honorary degree in Literature by Trinity College in Dublin. The following year he was nominated the honorary member of the Brera Art Academy in Milan.
In 1995, the Fondazione Arnaldo Pomodoro was created as a cultural and exhibition center dedicated to contemporary art. Originally conceived as a centre to document and archive the work of the artist, it opened an exhibition space in 2005, hosting exhibitions of prominent artists such as Jannis Kounellis, Lucio Fontana and Robert Rauschenberg. The director of Fondazione Arnaldo Pomodoro is Flaminio Gualdoni.
In 1996, Arnaldo Pomodoro was awarded the Knight of the Great Cross of the Italian Republic (Cavaliere di gran croce dell'Ordine al merito della Repubblica italiana). His sculpture Sfera con Sfera was installed in front of the United Nations building in New York City.
"In the early 1970s, on the advice of some Pesaro friends, I visited Pietrarubbia, a small town in Montefeltro between the Marche and Romagna, which had been built, according to legend, in 980. At that time the village was almost completely abandoned. I realized that somehow it had to be born again: and how, if not through the participation of artists? I had to kick it off. So, I had the idea of dedicating one of my works to Pietrarubbia and I planned a series of sculptures as a cycle. The Pietrarubbia Group was born, a work "in progress", a space defined by a series of sculptures – in fact, a space that became all sculpture – in which certain values are given meaning, certain historical values, in the sense that history is always the same… In short, I would like that anyone who sees this work could read within it the very spirit that comes from the Middle Ages: the gate that rises, the drawbridge, the foundation, the gate that opens and closes and can also be seen as a negative and positive book…"
On Form and Movement:
According to me, sculpture must be projected into space in order to remove, as far as possible, the weight from the material and the work's fixed base. I have always tried to express movement as an intensification of a condition of imbalance in order to create a striking contrast to any stasis or any reached or predictable order.— Arnaldo Pomodoro
Set design for theatre and opera
- Semiramide by Gioacchino Rossini (1982), Teatro dell'Opera of Rome
- Orestea di Gibellina by Emilio Isgrò, on a text by Eschilo (1983–1985)
- Didone by Christopher Marlowe (1986)
- Alceste by Christoph Willibald Gluck (1987), Teatro dell'Opera of Genoa – stage and costumes
- Oedipus rex by Igor Stravinsky (1988), Siena
- La Passione di Cleopatra by Ahmad Shawqi, an Egyptian poet (1989)
- I Paraventi by Jean Genet (1990), Teatro Comunale of Bologna – stage and costumes
- Nella solitudine dei campi di cotone by Bernard-Marie Koltès (1992)
- Più grandiose dimore by Eugene O'Neill (1993)
- Oreste di Vittorio Alfieri (1993)
- Stabat Mater, La passione secondo Giovanni and Vespro della Beata Vergine by Antonio Tarantino (1994–1995)
- Moonlight by Harold Pinter (1995)
- Drammi Marini by Eugene O'Neill (1996)
- Antigone by Jean Anouilh (1996)
- Tempesta (The Tempest) by William Shakespeare (1998) – stage and costumes
- Un ballo in maschera by Giuseppe Verdi (2005), Opernhaus of Lipsia – stage and costumes
- Teneke by Fabio Vacchi (2007), Teatro alla Scala of Milan – stage and costumes
Honors and awards
- International Prize for Sculpture, VII São Paulo Biennale, 1963.
- National Prize for Sculpture, XXXII Venice Biennale, 1964.
- International Prize for Sculpture, Carnegie Institute, 1967.
- Praemium Imperiale for Sculpture, Japan Art Association, 1990.
- Honorary degree in Literature, Trinity College, 1992.
- The Knight of the Great Cross of the Italian Republic, 1996.
- International Sculpture Center's Lifetime Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award, 2008.
- Arnaldo Pomodoro. Milano: Skira editore. 2017. p. 205. ISBN 978-8857233277.
- Arnaldo Pomodoro. Milano: Skira editore. 2017. p. 189. ISBN 978-8857233277.
- Arnaldo Pomodoro. Milano: Skira editore. 2017. p. 190. ISBN 978-8857233277.
- Arnaldo Pomodoro. Milano: Skira editore. 2017. p. 206. ISBN 978-8857233277.
- "Arnaldo Pomodoro. The Pietrarubbia Group: il fondamento, l'uso, il rapporto, 1975-1976". Retrieved 23 June 2019.
- Arnaldo Pomodoro. Milano: Skira editore. 2017. p. 199. ISBN 978-8857233277.
- International Sculpture Center website. 'Lifetime Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award page'. Retrieved 24 January 2010.
- Radford, Georgia and Warren Radford, Sculpture in the Sun, Hawaii's Art for Open Spaces, University of Hawaii Press, 1978, 95.
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