Gagosian presents “Fire and Water,” an exhibition of sculpted bronze boxes by renowned architect Peter Marino.
Installation view of Peter Marino “Fire and Water” at Gagosian, Davies St., London. © Peter Marino Architect. Photo: Lucy Dawkins. Courtesy Peter Marino Architect and Gagosian. © Cy Twombly Foundation © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. © 2017 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.
This series of cast bronze objects is Marino’s third, following two previous series produced in 2012 and 2014. The new boxes are finished in a variety of patination techniques: gilded, silvered, and blackened.
In this new series, Marino reveals his deep connection to the traditions of bronze metal work. One of the first and best documented materials in human history, the use of bronze permeates art-historical traditions, from devotional musical bells and coinage to weaponry and statuary. In his third book of Odes, the Roman poet Horace spoke of a creation “aere perennius,” meaning “more lasting than bronze,” now a prophetic saying attesting to the durability of art. About ten years ago, Marino was gripped by the discovery of a boat that sank in 350 BC off the Turkish coast en route from Greece to Italy. Original bronze works, more than two thousand years old, were recovered from the ancient vessel. Captivated by the idea of a material that outlasts entire civilizations, Marino began to work with bronze, combining the architectural with the ornamental, obdurate materiality with ephemeral gesture.
In “Fire and Water,” six different boxes in limited editions feature designs inspired by organic and mythical forms such as water ripples, dragon scales and rough stone. The boxes, which are functional storage objects, and can take up to a year to produce, are handmade at the Atelier St. Jacques, part of the Fondation de Coubertin, the French national institution for crafts, manual work, and trades.
As a passionate collector, Marino has also developed an extensive repository of bronzes. With an emphasis on Renaissance works, as well as French and Italian bronzes of the High Baroque, his collection includes masterpieces by some of the greatest exponents of the medium, including Giambologna, Pietro Tacca, Ferdinando Tacca, Giovanni Battista Foggini, Robert Le Lorrain, and Corneille van Clève. The refinement and intense emotion in many of the bronze statuettes in his collection is in contrast with the fluent solidity of Marino’s own creations.
Marino’s first bronze boxes were shown at the 26th Biennale des Antiquaires in Paris in 2012, and featured eight designs made in cast bronze and leather. The second series from 2014 featured nine designs based on tree bark, reed, stone and other patterns.
Peter Marino, FAIA, is the principal of Peter Marino Architect PLLC, the 160-person, New York–based architecture firm he founded in 1978.
Marino’s work includes award-winning residential, cultural, hospitality and luxury retail projects worldwide. Significant architectural projects include The Getty, NYC (2017), Hublot, NYC (2016), Louis Vuitton, L.A. (2015), Boontheshop, Seoul (2014), 170 East End Avenue, NYC (2009), Chanel Ginza Tower, Tokyo (2005), The Armani Building, NYC (1995), Barneys, L.A. (1991), and Barneys, NYC (1990).
Mr. Marino is also widely regarded for his cultural contributions and in 2012 was named a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the French Ministry of Culture. Recent exhibitions of his art collection include, ‘Memento Mori: Robert Mapplethorpe Photographs from the Peter Marino Collection’ at Chanel Nexus Hall in Tokyo (2017), ‘One Way: Peter Marino’ at the Bass Museum of Art in Miami (2014) which explored the interplay between Marino’s iconic architectural designs, his personal collection of contemporary art and a curated selection of his cast-bronze boxes, and ‘Beauty & Power’ at the Wallace Collection in London (2010) featuring his collection of Renaissance and Baroque bronzes.
His cultural design projects include a 2010 retrospective of the work of Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, permanent installations of the Zwinger Porcelain Collection and Meissen Animal Gallery at the Dresden Museum in 2010 and an exhibition of contemporary Sevres porcelain at the American Craft Museum in 1999.
He served as chairman of the board of Young Concert Artists for 12 years and has been making architectural restoration contributions for Venetian Heritage since 1991.
In 2016, Phaidon published Peter Marino Art Architecture documenting the more than 250 site-specific contemporary art works Marino has commissioned to seamlessly mesh art and architecture.