Poets: Tristano di Robilant

28 September - 27 October 2023
Tristan Hoare is delighted to present Poets, an exhibiton of glass and ceramic sculptures by Tristano di Robilant. This will be our second solo exhibition with di Robilant, running from 28th September until 27th October 2023.

Di Robilant's new body of work is an ode to great poets, their way of seeing and interpreting the world. The word poet, which has been in use in English for more than 600 years, comes from the Greek word poiētēs (ποιητής), itself from poiein (ποιεῖν) meaning ‘to make.’ Di Robilant welcomes us into his world, where, with the help of master Murano glassblowers and Umbrian ceramicists, he ‘makes’ his sculptures. The experience of di Robilant’s artworks is unusual, like hearing a song for the first time in an unfamiliar key. His work is illusive and unresponsive to the usual approaches. It hints at an experience we recognise but haven’t fully grasped. Like a poem, nothing is known for certain; the viewer is forced to feel their way using intuition to build understanding.

To create his mysterious sculptures, di Robilant collaborates with Andrea Zilio, one of the leading masters in non-figurative glass blowing. They begin with a drawing by di Robilant; glassblower and creator then move into the third dimension, transforming the idea into a work of ‘precious geometries with perfect proportions.’ Zilio’s mastery of his craft allows him to use traditional techniques in a modern key. The resulting creations are complex forms which balance fragile shapes and colour, demonstrating the versatility of the material. Translucent surfaces reflect and play with the light, emphasising the usual shapes and large scale of di Robilant’s sculptures. 

The first room in the exhibition presents a group of free-standing ceramic sculptures 'From the Group of Chinese Poets.’ The title comes from a Tang era poem, translated into Italian by Eugenio Montale, a renowned poet of the early 20th century. Montale imbued his own sensibility to the difficult task of translating the hermetic language of the golden age of Chinese poetry, and similarly, di Robilant uses his creativity to give life to these cryptic sculptures. Giordano Bruno, a ceramic seated figure, poet and cosmological theorist, watches over from a corner. A series of ceramic wall paintings take their cues from the poetry of Vincenzo Cardarelli. Each piece in this series fuses visual art and literary expression, harmoniously capturing the essence of Cardarelli's written quotes in colourful ceramic.

The second room contains a group of translucent glass sculptures that attempt to represent ‘visions.’ Specchio Blu (Blue Mirror)Milleseicento (Sixteen Hundred)Tasso’s Game and others are visual descriptions of an inner world. These intangible landscapes, personal visions, respond to the personal gaze of the visitor who glimpses something of themselves within them. A glass sculpture titled Autoritratto (Self Portrait) acts as a a signature of the artist and his representative in this group of ‘visions,’ encapsulating the essence of the exhibition.