Although the figurative tradition represented by Marino Marini and Giacomo Manzù has flourished in postwar Italian sculpture, an equally energetic commitment to abstraction has been pursued by artists such as Pietro Consagra, Mirko, and the Pomodoro brothers, Giò and Arnaldo. Trained in goldsmithing, Arnaldo Pomodoro combines the meticulous approach and skill of the craftsman with the techniques and aims of the caster of large-scale bronzes. His sculpture, cast from plasters of clay originals, contrasts the intricate detailing of jewelry with geometric breadth and clarity.
Using the basic shapes of cube, cylinder, and sphere, he tears open their pristine, highly polished surfaces to reveal the internal structure of form. Underneath the gleaming skin and solid flesh of the bronze lies a regulating machinery of cogs and gears, which Pomodoro calls “sign systems,” akin to the complex interlocking systems of language or of organic bodies. The sphere not only functions as a geometric shape and analogue of a living body or mineral form, but also suggests the globe of the earth. The equatorial rupture produces configurations suggesting land masses, and evokes the earth’s core and desiccated ocean beds. By eliminating frontality, Pomodoro invites the viewer to circle the globe, conveying a sense of uninterrupted rotational movement imitating the orbit of planets.