Arnaldo Pomodoro created The Pietrarubbia Group to commemorate Pietrarubbia, a dilapidated Italian village near his hometown. As he has explained, “I felt duty bound to deal with my memories, and I wanted to make sense out of that situation, those fragments of a culture that were being destroyed.” Pomodoro has called this work both a “village-sculpture” and “a vision of an archaic settlement.” The sculpture itself, which visitors can enter through its grand, slab-like doors, stands in for the village; the scratched, jagged writing on the walls attests to life within this forgotten society, a memento of time past.
A great power of Pomodoro’s art lies in his juxtapositions of divergent textures and materials and in the contrasts that he creates between interior and exterior surfaces. He works back and forth, as he has put it, “between lucidity and obscurity.” Metaphors for the earth and the universe are clearly apparent within Pomodoro’s production, and his references stretch forward and backward in time. His expressive surfaces seem to reference the hieroglyphic texts of pre-modern societies, while highly polished areas seem to look forward into a utopian, technological world. Pomodoro honed his skills developing intricate patterns and designs in metals while working in the 1950s as a jewelry designer.