Art in America Reviews Diego Perrone, Self Portraits
Glass is a material long associated with illumination, enlightenment, and the divine. The cast glass sculptures featured in Italian artist Diego Perrone’s exhibition “Self Portraits” hold out the promise of personal revelation. Elegantly displayed on white plinths, many of the untitled works (all 2016) are vaguely cranial in shape. But instead of offering a transparent glimpse into the seat of reason and intellect, the sculptures appear as elegant monuments to opacity. Perrone adulterated the glass forms by adding minerals and pigments in uneven patches during the casting process. Brilliantly colored crusts give way to clouds of mellow hues that seem to diffuse slowly through the glass. Other aspects of the casting process were executed with mechanical precision. Crisp and detailed renderings of ears, koi fish, and tractor equipment emerge from the works’ surfaces. These forms have previously appeared in Perrone’s sculptures, and here they look almost like stock images rather than personal symbols. More reminiscent of Medardo Rosso’s impressionistic sculptures than stained glass windows, Perrone’s “Self Portraits” embody a notion of self that melds alluring display and an act of withdrawal.