5 Questions with Enrico David

Italian artist Enrico David makes weighty works. His current exhibition at The Hepworth Wakefield features 20 pieces that have all been created in the last two years, addressing the body and transformation via a versatile practice that encompasses sculpture, installation and painting, almost always using drawing as the point of departure. 

Where are you right now (and is it where you want to be)?
I am back in London after spending some days in Yorkshire, setting up my show at The Hepworth Wakefield, which opened last Friday.

You’ve made a return to sculpture for this exhibition at The Hepworth Wakefield, did anything in particular prompt you to revisit this art form so prolifically?
Making things (or trying to) has always played a crucial role in what I do – or at least the dilemma/drama unfolding between the two and the three dimensional.  Perhaps it is fair to say that in recent times I have surrendered to the possibility of fully formed objects with increased dedication and curiosity. I am fascinated by the potential that comes from giving form to images.  As is often the case, one thing leads to another in mysterious ways: taking images to their physical extreme seems to enhance the potential to further question their status. Paradoxically, I find object making one more example of how unstable everything is.

Is drawing still the entry point for all of your work, including the sculpture?
With very few exceptions, yes.

Has the architecture of The Hepworth Wakefield specifically informed the direction that you’ve taken with these works?
The spatial characteristics of the galleries at The Hepworth have informed and influenced the making of the new works in a number of ways, including the final selection of existing works that we considered for inclusion. The issues of scale, the positioning of the work and their distance from each other, the use of height and volume of the galleries were all key to the final presentation of the works. It was clear from the start that I wanted the smaller gallery to be used for a more classical, traditional display and the larger space to resemble a landscape, a scene through which to walk with the sensation of witnessing a universe.

How does the human body represent transformation for you?
The body is a pulsating unknown, always a new vehicle of transformation. Sometimes it feels like a fresh ruin in need of maintenance, sometimes an instrument of magic that rubs against a world upon which it tries to establish possibilities. A channel. An abyss. Unravelling grilled meat, a fissure that postpones nothing for later, unable to subordinate one order of things to another. Transformation central.

Enrico David is showing at The Hepworth Wakefield until 24 January 2016 

Enrico David, Untitled, 2013, Acrylic on canvas, 112.25 x 105.4 inches, copyright the artist. Michael Werner Gallery, New York and London.
Enrico David, The Assumption of Weee, 2014, Jesmonite, graphite, from an edition of 5 2APs, Copyright the artist. Michael Werner Gallery, New York and London.
Enrico David, Untitled, 2014 Jesmonite, pigment, from an edition of 5 + 2 APs, 16 x 6.75 x 3.25 inches, copyright the artist. Michael Werner Gallery, New York and London
Enrico David, [detail of] Life Sentences, 2014 Bronze, image from an edition of 5 2 APs, 17 x 41 24 x 5 inches. Copyright the artist. Michael Werner Gallery, New York and London