He treats sculpting materials – stone, metal, plastic and wax – as a constant source of surprise and amazement, and completely turns the image of the material itself on its head – what is heavy acquires lightness, and the opaque becomes luminous. An almost alchemical and magic dimension is bestowed on work techniques (the artist doesn’t shape the objects personally), working like a magician who knows all the secrets of transformation.
What are known as the mirrors and parabolas appear symbolic (but for the artist these works are nameless): blocks of absolute black Uruguay granite, which creatively contrast rough and refined, natural and artificial. On one side the power of the inorganic, primitive and mysterious texture can be perceived, and on the other the transformation created by the artist and obtained mechanically, in a sort of flip side of the coin where the stone is sparkling.
Grooves have been shaped with perfect skill, and look like abstract shapes, creating precious adornments in relation to the size and volume of the stone blocks. They allude to an idea of unfathomable depth, where the ‘darkness’ of the shaped surface paradoxically becomes luminous. Mirror images can be perceived in these concave discs and corrugated surfaces, where outer reality is captured in reflections. As such, the illusion is one of vortices that attract everything – black holes, as in space far away.
The colour black is almost an obsession for Anish Kapoor, especially absolute black (the artists owns the exclusive rights to Vantablack, a colour which completely absorbs light radiation). In the sculptures produced by Marmi Ghirardi, colour research has been turned into monumental objects, which are as poetic as they are close to the intrinsic beauty of the granite, and its evocative, primordial power.
It is precisely the uniform colour of the material that enables multiple applications, as demonstrated not only by the work of architects and designers, but also the creations of artists and sculptors. The Absolute Black reveals an intimately flexible, almost classic, nature, while maintaining a primordial, exotic image – all elements typical of the crucible of Modernity. Deep, vibrant backgrounds, lighting effects and severe, minimalist aesthetics are enhanced even more by the work techniques – flame hardening, polishing and brushing. The result is an insightful range that enables the sleekness of the black granite to communicate with other materials, ranging from metal to wood, and natural products to industrial products. The Absolute Black provides the backdrop to furnishings and architectural detail. Similarly, the material appears enhanced when the artist’s hand expresses its symbolic and poetic dimension.
The uniform colour ensures that covered surfaces (for example slabs on ramps/staircases or wall sections) look cast into a set, backstage in the theatre of daily life. This aspect also adds prestige to everyday objects, such as kitchen worktops and built-in bathroom features. The quality is not only visual, it is even tactile, providing pleasure that increases in proportion to the amount of the skilled treatment a surface has received. Items become in themselves works of art – small monuments designed and produced with skill and expertise. Absolute Black stone has a dual characteristic, acting as a neutral backdrop while also standing out due to its indisputable intrinsic elegance.
St. John the Baptist Cathedral
Diocese of Paterson, New Jersey USA
These images are a visual essay of a case study in stone procurement: cut-to-size as specified by the design and executive architect and pre-purchased by the Owner as a package for the General Contractor (GC) or Construction Manager (CM) bidding process. The GC or the CM would be provided with a set of Contract Document drawings and (especially setting) specifications, along with a set of approved shop drawings and sample submittals for competitive bidding of the installation.
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