28 February – 27 March 2020
Guardians is Italian sculptor Benedetto Pietromarchi’s fourth solo exhibition at Josh Lilley, inaugurating the renovated gallery storefront space of 40-42 Riding House Street and a new era of programming at the gallery.
Long-celebrated for sensuous renderings of nature that are both lofty in their imagination and grounded in the academy, Pietromarchi presents his guardians as a group of lifesize birds in terracotta and bronze. Existing, through flight, in a space between the immanent and the transcendent world, the Guardians works embody mythologies, hopes and lessons.
A pelican with head bowed in deference but shoulders drawn back in preparation. A hooded eagle, impaired and hypersensitive, ready for action. A bronze hoopoe, a little bird with a dramatic crown, weighs down the dancing rhizome of an excavated root. Two birds of prey with metallic beaks and flinty stares emerge from the wall in a sea of feathers, purpose emerging from a pillow. Pietromarchi’s new suite of sculptures depict a family of emotions, linked across the air, surrounding the artist’s psyche, distributing mystery and offering a guiding hand.
Benedetto Pietromarchi (b. 1972, Rome, Italy) lives and works in Rome. Pietromarchi studied at the Accademia delle Belle Arti de Carrara, Italy in 1998. Previous solo exhibitions include Of Saints and Sailors, Josh Lilley, London, 2016; Heaven on Mars, Galeria Christo- pher Paschall, Bogota, Colombia, 2014; Slosh, Josh Lilley, London, 2013; and Carrozza, Flora Fairbairn Projects, London, 2007. Selected group exhibitions include Kaleidoscope, Saatchi Gallery, London, 2019; ITaliens, Italian Embassy, Berlin, 2013; A Change of Heart, The University of Leicester’s Sculpture Garden, 2013, A Broken Fall, Josh Lilley, London, 2009 and A Heart of Glass, Shoreditch Town Hall, London, 2008. Pietromarchi completed the Owners Cabin Residency, July 2015 and was awarded the Kenneth Armitage Foundation Fellowship, 2009-2011. Pietromarchi was selected for the 2016 edition of Sculpture in the City, for which three works were placed in the plaza outside London’s iconic Leadenhall Building.