Emil Alzamora’s minimalist sculptures represent the human body in its purest form. His figures are often depicted as though captured in a state of suspended animation influenced by both internal and external forces. Anonymous yet identifiable, they symbolize a universal understanding of a connection with the human body in its various manifestations.
In this new exhibition, Alzamora presents new figurative sculptures and works on paper. From bound and masked figures to armour-clad busts, his finely-crafted work speaks of mystery and foreboding. The artist is a master of the sculptor’s art, deftly handling various sophisticated ceramic processes. The surfaces of his forms are painstakingly modelled to emulate the varied and contrasting textures of flesh, drapery and metal. In some pieces glazing adds colour, further differentiating between the body and that which contains or encloses it. Each piece is elegantly realised, conveying an over-riding need to achieve a graceful aesthetic effect, as well as making the sensuousness of the human body the focus of attention.
Some pieces deploy the schemas of antique Cycladic sculptures, which suggest archetypal images of humanity. Smoothly anonymous porcelain pairs of figures are reminiscent of Henry Moore’s amorphous forms and those of Lynn Chadwick. Some echo the evocative plaster casts of Pompeii’s earthquake victims. Other works, in their use of busts and plinths quote the formats of Classical statuary.
Alzamora is a sculptor who exploits the hard-won skills of his craft to bring a heightened sense of human presence. His enigmatic, and sometimes ambivalent, inventions intrigue and excite: we are consistently directed to the human form, which is often veiled and masked, an object of withheld desire. In his subtle, tactile articulation of ominous and sinister images he expresses ideas, not just of restraint and control, but also of tenderness and mutuality.
The artist states: “The forever is now. Sculpture is the perfect embodiment of this timelessness”. His intension is to capture this temporal ‘suspension’ and share his experience of the ‘expanded present’. The sculptures, with their artful melding of past and present motifs, are well placed to do so.