Artwork of the month June

Pino Pascali, Ponte levatoio, 1968

Pino Pascali

1935 in Bari, Italy – 1968 in Rome, Italy

Ponte levatoio (Drawbridge), 1968

Steel wool, plywood
221 × 118 × 10 cm
Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, Vaduz

Pino Pascali was a visionary who constantly sought to combine irony, playfulness and myths in his works so as to tell new stories and worlds. The simple materials that he used often have an inherent element of childhood and the domestic setting: the woven surface of Ponte levatoio from 1968 is made up of steel wool scouring pads. The work was first shown at the Venice Biennale in 1968 and, among other things, demonstrates Pascali's penchant for word-play and playing as such. He had discovered steel wool as a material – "lana d'acciaio", which in Italian prompts associations with "liana", a reference to his fascination with Johnny Weissmuller's Tarzan films. At the same time, steel wool is an everyday material used for cleaning: in Ponte levatoio it becomes the "defensive structure" of a castle, but also a "ponte lavatoio", an ordinary washboard.

The drawbridge appears fragile, as if it might fall to pieces at any moment. Even if the drawbridge is made of steel and wood, Pascali undermines its fortified character, reversing the logic of the piece to playful effect. For the artist, the significant thing is that this drawbridge without a castle, gate or moat oscillates between magic and everyday life so that the story that it tells can be continued in the viewer's imagination. Pascali's view of things was effectively an animistic one and in his works he sought to celebrate a kind of "primal energy" of objects.

The drawbridge belonging to the body of work known as La ricostruzione della natura (The reconstruction of nature) incorporates one of Pascali's central themes: the problematic relationship between nature and industrial production, that already featured in his series of Elementi naturali from 1967. He uses serial and artificial materials to lend form to an archaic, rural looking world, not without a tongue-in-cheek, humorous touch.

Letizia Ragaglia


"I like starting with the material because there is a limit in the material itself. If you choose a certain material you project your own possibilities within very specific limits."

Pino Pascali

<b>Pino Pascali, Ponte levatoio, 1968</b>
Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein highlights a work from the permanent collection each month throughout the year. Works from the collection of the Hilti Art Foundation are also included in this series on a regular basis.