Spotlight: Made With Dust and Fire, Artist Claudio Parmiggiani’s Haunting ‘Shadow Sculptures’ Go on View in Paris for the First Time

The monographic exhibition is on view through January 20, 2024, at Tornabuoni Art, Paris.

Claudio Parmiggiani, Untitled (2023). Courtesy of Tornabuoni Art.

Every month, hundreds of galleries add newly available works by thousands of artists to the Artnet Gallery Network—and every week, we shine a spotlight on one artist or exhibition you should know. Check out what we have in store, and inquire for more with one simple click.

What You Need to Know: Tornabuoni Art in Paris recently opened a solo exhibition of work by Italian artist Claudio Parmiggiani, on view through January 20, 2024, and featuring work from his seminal “Delocazioni” series including his so-called “shadow sculptures.” These sculptures were first exhibited in 1970 at the Galleria Civica in Modena, Italy, and the present exhibition is the first dedicated presentation of works from the series in France. Notably, the artist conceived of the new creations within the context of the gallery space itself, creating a unique dialogue between artist, artwork, and physical space. Together, they illustrate the evolution of the series over the course of Parmiggiani’s career, describing “there is no room left for any painting, and the only possible experience is that of emptiness, a flame lit within us to illuminate this infinite void and that alone gives us life.”

Claudio Parmiggiani. Photo: Claudio Abate. Courtesy of Tornabuoni Art.

About the Artist: Italian-born and -based artist Claudio Parmiggiani (b. 1943) is an influential postwar artist whose practice engages with themes of time, perceptual existence, and absence. Giorgio Morandi was an early influence in the development of his unique approach to art-making, while he was a student of the Instituto di Belle Arti in Modena. Early experimentations in his work saw the artist create “sculpted paintings,” made of painted plaster molds. His first solo exhibition took place in the mid-1960s in Bologna, and he was deeply immersed in the culture milieu of the time through associations with il verri literary magazine contributors and Gruppo 63. In 1970, he produced his first “Delocazione” work, shadowy sculptures made using fire, dust, and smoke. These have been exhibited widely, from the Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, Geneva, in 1995, to the Collège des Bernardins, Paris, in 2008.

Why We Like It: Parmiggiani’s sculptures have a haunting quality, distinct yet elusive, they speak to the negative spaces of a given room or gallery through their morphic composition. Situated at the core of the artist’s practice for several decades, Parmiggiani has developed and honed his approach, with the most recent additions to the “Delocazione” taking the venue of their presentation itself as the starting point. Of his approach to sculpture, he said “The desire is increasingly not to place generic objects in a space but to create psychological places…mental places. Places that have a voice, a heart that beats within the thickness of the walls.” Here, this sentiment is made manifest, as the boundary between psychological perception, physical space, and artwork is blurred, offering viewers a new way to engage both with Parmiggiani’s work as well as ideas around presence and absence.

See the work by the artist below.

Claudio Parmiggiani, Untitled (2023). Courtesy of Tornabuoni Art.

Claudio Parmiggiani, Untitled (2023). Courtesy of Tornabuoni Art.

Installation view of work by Claudio Parmiggiani. Photo: Antonello Tofani. Courtesy of Tornabuoni Art.

Claudio Parmiggiani” is on view at Tornabuoni Art, Paris, through January 20, 2024.

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.