press release

Palazzo delle Papesse opens the new year with two new exhibitions, each occupying a whole floor of the palace.

The two solo shows are dedicated to Leonardo Drew and Nari Ward, and represent a unique and extraordinary opportunity to get acquainted with the work of the two artists. Drew's oeuvre is presented in Europe for the first time, while Nari Ward is back in the country exhibiting after an absence of four years.

The object trouvé is the same starting point for both artists. However, the way this element is processed differs greatly. In the case of Leonardo Drew, the gathered items undergo a sort of time-acceleration: the materials are processed in the artist's Brooklyn studio and given the last touch in Texas, where the parched materials curl up under the scorching desert sun. Rust corrodes and eats away the matter, originating 'new life forms'. But, as the artist states: "we cannot replace nature... the idea is to create alongside nature".

A research on memory concentrating on the evolutionary process of matter, a practice drawing strength from the union of a thoroughly urban harshness with the fiery nature of the desert. Almost a sort of controlled Land Art. The stacking up, de-assembling and re-assembling of the industrial object thus becomes a metaphor for the entropic and evolutionary process or, better said, a parallel event. The found or elaborated object represented in a well-ordered heap according to compositional rhythms of a minimalist type, is thus 'aesthetised' and intellectualised.

The research of the Jamaican-born Nari Ward, a long-time New York resident, also focuses on decayed, discarded and consumed matter. His works reveal an almost 'animistic' conception of debris. Moved by a profoundly religious sentiment, his collecting of objects evokes the presence of stories linked to primal fears and feelings: life, death, sorrow, joy, delving into the origin of the meaning of life itself. Ward weaves new narrative plots, he rehabilitates objects by working the personal, intellectual and spirituality into them. By gathering the object trouvé, Ward defies the oblivion it seemed destined to, its psychological eradication. The re-reading of the detritus left behind by the combined action of consumeristic society and the passing of time allows Drew's and Ward's works to skip a beat: they are the upshot of an archaeological and psychological excavation transcending the world of pure representation.

Leonardo Drew's and Nari Ward's shows, respectively titled Existing Everywhere and The Refinery X: a Simple Twist of Fate, occupy a floor each. Recent works will accompany site-specific installations and sculptures, commissioned by the Papesse. Opening the shows, at entry level, is a collaborative piece, the first to be produced by the two artists together. Drew and Ward rank amongst the most remarkable representatives of the New York art scene of recent years.

Catalogues: Published by Gli Ori, italian/english bilingual edition. Essays by Lorenzo Fusi, Ralph Lemon, Marco Pierini, Barry Schwabsky. Photos by Carlo Fei.


Leonardo Drew - Existing everywhere
Nari Ward - The Refinery X: a simple twist of fate