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Arnaldo Pomodoro, the creative freedom of theatre

Turin’s Palazzo Reale hosts an exhibition of twenty works for the stage created by the sculptor over a span of fifty years

From 28 September to 25 November, Palazzo Reale in Turin hosts “Arnaldo Pomodoro. The sculpted theatre”, an exhibition promoted by the Arnaldo Pomodoro Foundation with the patronage of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, and staged with the Piedmont Regional Directorate for Landscape and Cultural Heritage in collaboration with Milan’s Studio Copernico.
The exhibition traces the work of one of Italy’s greatest contemporary sculptors in the theatre field, using stage sets, sculptures, costumes, and preparatory sketches and models. Arnaldo Pomodoro’s work as a stage designer took place over a fifty-year span, during which time his focus ranged from Greek tragedies to melodrama, contemporary theatre, and music. His stage sets thus became a starting point for new expressive exploration, and provided the ultimate opportunity for research, opening up creative perspectives inspired by various languages. The artist himself stated: «The theatre experience opened up new horizons and encouraged and even inspired me to experiment with new approaches and ideas for large sculptures, because theatre gives me a sense of creative freedom: I feel like I can turn visions into matter ».
The exhibition features a selection of works from over twenty theatre performances, including Kleist’s Kätchen of Heilbronn, directed by Luca Ronconi on Lake Zurich in 1972; Emilio Isgrò’s Orestea trilogy, starting with Eschilo sui ruderi di Gibellina, staged between 1983 and 1985 and directed by Filippo Crivelli; and the diptych of Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana and Janáček’s Šárka at Venice’s Teatro La Fenice in 2009, directed by Ermanno Olmi.
The exhibition is enhanced by several monumental sculptures on display outside the venue, and which were designed for important theatre performances: the four Forme del mitofor the Orestea cycle, the Grande Portale for Oedipus Rex,  and Obelisco for La passione di Cleopatra. Although these works were initially conceived specifically for these theatre performance, they work equally well as stand-alone pieces.
On the occasion of the exhibition, Feltrinelli will publish a 600-page book edited by Antonio Calbi, illustrating all of Pomodoro’s stage design projects from 1972 to the present.
Arnaldo Pomodoro, Fantastic wheel for Emilio Isgrò’s L’Orestea di Gibellina, 1983-1985, photo by Patrizio Nesi
Arnaldo Pomodoro, Fantastic wheel for Emilio Isgrò’s L’Orestea di Gibellina, 1983-1985, photo by Patrizio Nesi


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