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David Adamo, Untitled

From May 20, 2021, Liaigre is pleased to present an exhibition of the American artist David Adamo under the skylight of the atelier at 77 rue Faubourg Saint-Honoré, Paris. This exhibition, realized in partnership with the gallery Peter Freeman, proposes a set of monumental sculptures in cedar.

Courtesy of the artist & Peter Freeman, Inc., New-York / Paris.

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From May 20, 2021, Liaigre is pleased to present an exhibition of the American artist David Adamo under the skylight of the atelier at 77 rue Faubourg Saint-Honoré, Paris. This exhibition, realized in partnership with the gallery Peter Freeman, proposes a set of monumental sculptures in cedar.

Courtesy of the artist & Peter Freeman, Inc., New-York / Paris.

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“I started to approach my sculptures from the idea that I wanted to make a performance, but there was no audience. And then I started to make installations that for me were like performances.” David Adamo*

A process of slow removal is central to Adamo’s sculpture. Objects from everyday life take on new forms, revealed by their remains: the fruit after it has been bitten, the balloon after the air has run out. These remnants are cast in various materials, including bronze, plaster, and aluminum. The same is true of Adamo’s wood works—the eventual forms emerge through the reduction of material. In 2011, Adamo exhibited in the matronaea of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Bergamo, Italy.

He was offered the opportunity to work with an unused oak beam from the Baroque renovation of the church. Since then, wood has been his material of choice. He has produced a whole corpus of wood sculptures, mainly totem-like columns, but also everyday objects such as rolled rugs or musical instruments and, more recently, busts.

Left, Untitled, 2012 - Western red cedar, pigment | Untitled, 2012 - Western red cedar, racquetball ball

Right, Untitled, 2012 - Set of 5 columns; western red cedar

Right, Untitled, 2012 - Set of 5 columns; western red cedar

Left, Untitled, 2012 - Western red cedar, pigment | Untitled, 2012 - Western red cedar, racquetball ball

The columns, which he executes mostly in red cedar (historically used in the making of totem poles), perfectly illustrate this play of mass and absence, an important characteristic of the artist’s sculptural work. His approach to the material is at once simple, elegant and laborious. He carves with an adze, making visible in the wood’s surface the marks and blows left by his tool. In the case of the spiraled columns, there is an added sense of tension and movement; these sculptures are the result of physically engaging work, as they preserve the sense of the body at work.
The only element that stretches horizontally in the space is a canoe, which carries a frail column at its prow, asserting its imposing, perhaps magical presence and suggesting a dreamlike landscape.

This prow echoes a group of columns of the same shape, five columns of different dimensions similarly hollowed out inside (unlike the totemic works whose central mass is intact). Having retained only their quadrangular structure, a reminder of the beams from which they were carved, these thin, fragile-looking sculptures are reminiscent of gothic architecture. The imprint of action is essential to Adamo’s work, palpable and, one feels, incomplete—as though a process has been initiated and could resume at any moment.

* Thomas Thiel, “Sculpture as Performance”, in Thomas Thiel (dir.), David Adamo: Untitled (Bielefeld: Bielefelder Kunstverein & Berlin: Revolver Publishing, 2015), p. 16.

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