Mauro Perucchetti, “Modern Heroes”.
Since May, West Hollywood Park, across from the Pacific Design Center, has been home to “Modern Heroes”, an installation by artist Mauro Perucchetti that depicts the familiar comic characters of Superman and Batman. These powerful icons, seemingly engaged in playful conversation strikes a provocative silhouette, resembling the classical marble masterpieces of the Italian masters.
The two heroes share their superpowers rather casually, as if in an ordinary conversation between men. Even as the artist references figures in other periods, the exchange is universal, even ordinary, begging the question of how each of us uses our own greatest powers and gifts while maintaining our human nature.
“Both characters are Hollywood heroes. Batman lent himself – with his perfectly toned body and his rather flamboyant costume – to the reclined position on a chase similar to Adam’s position, suggesting temptation,” explains Perucchetti. “Superman was perfect for the same aesthetic qualities and unique in his characteristic of ripping his clothes off when he abandons his cover as Clark Kent to become Superman. It is like he was saying: ‘I have been flying all day, I can’t wait to go to bed!’ It could be a domestic scene.”
His exquisite marble technique derives in part from being surrounded by great sculpture, along with research, and hard work. “I spent some formative years in Rome in my youth and remember being in awe of the amazing art disseminated throughout the city,” says Perucchetti. “I still feel that admiration, and eventually a few years ago, I found the opportunity to combine that classicism with contemporary issues and my style of art.”
Despite no formal training in marble sculpting, Perucchetti is well known for his work with resin, which encompasses an equally arduous procedure. His colorful resin figures and beautiful objects glow with outer reflections, signs of inner workings, often as mixed media, painted and shaped with symbolic elements.
“My signature medium is pigmented resin, as you know, and most people think that these perfectly shaped and polished resin artworks pop out of a mold ready to go – they don’t,” says Perucchetti. I have to shape, chisel, grate, rub and polish with at least 10 different grades of grit to obtain the finished look, just as I do with marble and with nearly identical tools. The difference is that resin is much tougher, but the techniques are the same and I have been at it for a long time.”
Recently installed alongside “Modern Heroes” is the artist’s “Michelangelo 2020: A Tribute to Women”, a fiberglass sculpture that embodies the physical strength of the female figure. The sculpture is simultaneously feminine and androgynous, a duality that is less controversial than it is a statement of body-positive confidence.
“This piece is my tribute to women,” explains Perucchetti, “especially in their position in society as the underdog. It was very challenging, as I wanted Michelangelo’s ‘David’ to be recognizable at first glance. I went out of my way to achieve the look of a powerful athletic woman without her looking like a man or a bodybuilder.”
For those interested in delving deeper into the artist’s works and array of sociopolitical concerns, De Re Gallery, which houses a small white marble edition of “Modern Heroes”, as well as the heart-shaped hand grenade entitled “Don’t Mess With The US”, whose simplicity of design references to violence present an explosive story that is at once jarring, frightening, and heartwarming. “All these ingredients are present in this country and my heart is constantly bombarded by them!” says Perucchetti.
“Pop Fiction”, an exhibition of paintings, sculpture, and mixed media by Mauro Perucchetti, opens at De Re Gallery September 10 and runs until October 10.
Images courtesy of De Re Gallery.