24 May – 28 July 2023
Presented for the first time in the UK, Benedetto Pietromarchi’s River Gods pays homage to two opposing sacred forces: the elements of the earth, and the historical narratives which shape our desires. Set within Wormsley’s extraordinary Amethyst Grotto, this new body of work brings Pietromarchi’s ceramics to an enchanting space within the grounds of one of Britain’s most beautiful Estates.
Inspired by the muddy banks of the Tiber, where they meet Ponte Sant’Angelo in Rome, Pietromarchi’s phantasmagorical creatures emerge from their ancient, sedimentary state, following light towards the surface. Posed in formations which recall the biblical scenes of Renaissance masterpieces, these simian forms, each in various stages of creation, seek to remind us of our origins; our primordial impulses and instincts. Crafted from raw clay, they are manifestations of argillaceous earth, which flail and contort as they battle with their own latency. Through their perpetual unrefined state, they reflect on the unresolved and contradictory relationship between nature, humanity and the divine.
Pietromarchi is a master ceramicist deeply engaged with the poetry and psychology of flora and fauna, and the pulse of life that travels from the hand through organic materials. Trained at the Academy of Fine Arts in Carrara, Pietromarchi lived and worked in London for 15 years before establishing a studio in the Maremma countryside, where his bond with nature deepens. Recipient of the Kenneth Armitage Fellowship from 2009 to 2011, Pietromarchi has presented three solo shows at Josh Lilley since 2011.