Enrico David: Gradations of Slow Release

A sculpture shaped like a crooked letter X stands on a short rectangular base. From the center many spokes jut out creating a starburst effect.
Enrico David, Tools and Toys III, 2014. Jesmonite, graphite, and copper; edition of 5, aside from 2 artist’s proofs; 23 ¼ × 20 ½ × 3 in. (56 × 52 × 8 cm). © Enrico David. Courtesy of Michael Werner Gallery, New York and London.


Enrico David (Italian, b. 1966) has distinguished himself as one of today’s most original artists, fashioning a universe of imagery that revolves around the human figure and its many states of being. Rendering the body as fragile, vulnerable, grotesque, tortured, and ecstatic, he uses a wide range of media, including sculpture, painting, installation, and works on paper, to achieve an encyclopedic yet extremely personal account of the human form.

The subtitle of the exhibition, Gradations of Slow Release, comes from a sculpture of the same name but also characterizes the circular process of this artist’s work, in which imagery and ideas slowly morph and evolve over time, guided by shared themes that find different but related forms. References to interiority, multiplicity, privacy, introspection, and disembodiment course through his works, which sometimes feel extremely contemporary in their expression and, at other times, appear archaic or timeless. The exhibition traces David’s works made over the past 10 years, revealing the interconnections in his body of work in an attempt to build an empathic relationship between the viewer and the objects he has created.

David lives and works in London and has exhibited around the world, including at Tate Modern and the Venice Biennale. His work is in the collection of the MCA, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Hammer Museum, and Tate Modern, among others. This exhibition is the first survey of the artist’s work in the United States.

The exhibition is organized by Michael Darling, James W. Alsdorf Chief Curator. It is presented in the Bergman Family Gallery on the museum’s second floor.


Generous support for Enrico David: Gradations of Slow Release is provided by the Margot and W. George Greig Ascendant Artist Fund; Mr. Robert Rennie and Mr. Carey Fouks; Michael Werner Gallery, New York and London; and Nicoletta Fiorucci, Founder of Fiorucci Art Trust.