Enrico David, Tools and Toys III, 2014 © Enrico David Courtesy Michael Werner Gallery, New York and London

July 27, 2018

Hirshhorn Presents Largest US Museum Survey of Italian Artist Enrico David
Exhibition To Feature 20 Years of David’s Artistic Output

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden has announced the largest U.S. museum survey of works by London-based Italian artist Enrico David, on view April 18–Sept. 2, 2019. Named after his sculpture of the same name, “Gradations of Slow Release” characterizes the circular process commonly used in David’s practice. Activating themes of interiority, multiplicity, privacy, introspection and disembodiment, the artist’s work vacillates between feeling extremely contemporary in its expression while simultaneously appearing archaic. Curated by Michael Darling, Chief Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, “Enrico David: Gradations of Slow Release” will be on view at MCA Chicago Sept. 29–March 10, 2019. The presentation at the Hirshhorn is organized by Stéphane Aquin, Hirshhorn Chief Curator.

David has distinguished himself as one of the most original artists working today, fashioning a universe of imagery that revolves around the human figure and its many states of being. Using a wide range of media—including sculpture, painting, textiles, installation and works on paper—David creates an encyclopedic, yet personal accounting for the human form, from fragile and vulnerable to grotesque, tortured and ecstatic. Using drawing as an entry point for making work in all forms, David weaves together techniques including industrial and craft traditions, thematically focusing on the fluid and impermanent state of the body. Art historical, literary and autobiographical narratives inform his practice.

“We are very pleased to present the most comprehensive American museum survey of Enrico David in partnership with the MCA Chicago,” said Hirshhorn Director Melissa Chiu. “David’s ability to establish visceral relationships between viewers and objects through simple materials enters into territory often uncharted by contemporary sculptors. These dynamic objects create dialogues among visitors that range from emotional connectedness to more introspective investigations.”

About the Artist

David (b. 1966, Italy) lives and works in London. His work has been the subject of numerous exhibitions worldwide, including “Fault Work” at Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (2016); “Autoparent” at Lismore Castle Arts, Ireland (2016); The Hepworth Wakefield, England (2015); Maramotti Collection, Reggio Emilia, Italy (2015); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2013); “Head Gas” at New Museum, New York (2011); “Repertorio Ornamentale,” Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, Venice, Italy (2011); “How Do You Love Dzzzzt by Mammy?” at Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Basel, Switzerland (2009); “Bulbous Marauder” at Seattle Art Museum (2008); and “Ultra Paste,” ICA London (2007). In 2013, David presented a major installation of paintings, tapestries and sculptures as part of “The Encyclopedic Palace,” curated by Massimiliano Gioni for the Venice Biennale.


About the Hirshhorn

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is the national museum of modern and contemporary art and a leading voice for 21st-century art and culture. Part of the Smithsonian, the Hirshhorn is located prominently on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. With nearly 12,000 paintings, sculptures, photographs, mixed-media installations, works on paper and new media works, its holdings encompass one of the most important collections of postwar American and European art in the world. The Hirshhorn presents diverse exhibitions and offers an array of public programs on the art of our time—free to all, 364 days a year. For more information, visit hirshhorn.si.edu.


Image: Enrico David, “Tools and Toys III,” 2014. Jesmonite, graphite, and copper. © Enrico David. Courtesy of Michael Werner Gallery, New York and London.