The title of the exhibition references Dante’s famous masterwork “Vita Nova” (1293-95) as an expression of the artist’s inner renewal. And as with the poet, “Materia Nova” marks a key turning point in the creative path of Andrea Cagnetti (artistic name Akelo): the decision to present to a larger public his iron sculptures, which until now had been reserved for a small following of ‘initiates’.
Akelo is an ancient soul, a Renaissance man, who has chosen to live a hermetic life in his hometown of Corchiano, a village built on the ruins of the legendary Etruscan town of Fescennia, not far from Rome. Much of his life has been spent on the study of ancient alchemic texts and the classic Greek and Latin sources, as well as the arts of metallurgy and goldsmithing, in addition to studying ancient pottery and stonecutting. His years of ceaseless experimentation and research have lead him to create a “corpus” of artworks made of technically flawless golden jewels obtained through 3,000-years-old techniques and rough, intentionally unfinished, and extraordinarily avant-garde metal sculptures.
Although these two extremes seem distant and incompatible, in reality they are joined by the same guiding thread (fil rouge), which is comparable to the backwards process of an alchemist, who after having worked with the most sublime material, seeks to rediscover the humble origins of malleable matter. He does this with the profound conviction that all the tiny particles that make up the matter of the cosmos are suspended in a void, waiting to be molded into superior entities that adopt different shapes and arrangements that are brought to life by the delicate breath of life and creation.
Akelo’s works have been displayed at several national and international art exhibitions and have received critical acclaim around the world. In the past few years, important museums and private collectors have acquired his works.
Associate Curator of European and American Art
Museum of Art and Archaeology
University of Missouri-Columbia
Andrea Cagnetti - Materia Nova
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