Igor Mitoraj (1944-2014) - 'Strength In Fragility'; 10 September - 17 October 2015
Cara Gallery, 508 West 24th Street, New York, NY 10011
Igor Mitoraj never minced his words. "Modern men are completely isolated,” he declared, “they spend entire days in front of the computer causing themselves misery."
Mitoraj's own men - and occasionally women - who are the subject of his sculptures display their own misery, even if it doesn't stem from the computer screen. They possess the kind of classical beauty that we associate with ancient Greece and Rome, but they are damaged, bandaged, with limbs and faces severed. Or as Mitoraj aptly put it, “The idea of beauty is ambiguous, a double-edged sword,” he said. “My art is an example of this dichotomy: mesmerizing perfection attached to corrupted imperfection.”
Born in 1944 to a Polish mother and French father in Germany at the height of the Second World War, Mitoraj witnessed the Dresden bombings and their years-long aftermath. As a toddler, he was used to seeing bandaged figures with limbs missing. He knew what it was like to carry around the memories of others, like the small faces and figures that are attached to his sculptures' torsos.
The ultimate European artist, Mitoraj's large scale sculptures pepper some of the old continent's most famous landmarks - Le Jardin des Tuileries in Paris, Canary Wharf in London, the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy. He was born in Germany, grew up in Poland, studied in France, and eventually made Italy his home, where he passed away last year aged 70 near his beloved quarry in Pietrasanta where he sourced material for his figures formed in antiquity, marked by modernity.
Igor Mitoraj: 'Strength In Fragility' is the first solo exhibition at the newly launched Cara Gallery in New York, and Mitoraj's first show in the US in twenty years. An impressive collection of Mitoraj's smaller sculptures, including a rare marble piece, and five completely unique sketchings, the exhibition marks a new phase for the artist's oeuvre - the timeless, international phase.
His works provide solace and reflection away from the computer screens he despaired at, and a connection to humanity he thought us modern men and women needed so badly.