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Rado Kirov | Mercurial Echoes




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Thursday, 11 January 2024 to Saturday, 10 February 2024

Pontone Gallery is excited to host a new exhibition of works by Bulgarian artist, Rado Kirov, who brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the art of metal fabrication. Stainless steel sheets are welded and shaped to make free-standing sculptures and wall-mounted reliefs which are sited indoors and out.

Kirov is a craftsman with a profound understanding of his chosen material. Using dynamic processes of hammering, heating and polishing, he transforms the hard and rectilinear metal into sleek, smooth and streamlined forms, whose rippling planes and surfaces suggest the undulating wave forms of the natural world.

These sculptures are highly reflective. Their mirror finish captures and transmits a fractured image of their surroundings and those that approach them. The pieces integrate themselves into an environment, whether it be an architectural interior, urban setting or natural landscape. At the same time, they assert their glistening, manufactured materiality. It is impossible to ignore such highly wrought testaments to human ingenuity.

Kirov’s ‘metal chasing’ – a technical term which describes the embossing or shaping process - becomes a literal ‘chasing’, that is, a hunting of, in this case, sinuous contour and sensuous pattern. He seeks and finds nature’s models: a flowing tide, the meandering line of landscape, the regular textures of a fruit or seed. These elements are then translated and expressed in his subtle manipulations of the metal and are subsequently refined and enhanced by polishing.

This body of work is born of Kirov’s interaction with hard-won and painstaking technique. He is alert to the sophisticated aesthetic possibilities of his medium and by both pushing at its methodological limits and at the same time drawing on hand-crafted and time-served traditions can conjure up the almost alchemical transfiguration of base metal into unique and remarkable sculptural object.


Artist ( Description ): 

Rado Kirov was born in 1955 in Bulgaria, where he trained as a coppersmith. He moved to South Africa in 1991 where he pursued a successful career crafting objects in precious metals, including a silver chalice presented to Pope John Paul II by President Nelson Mandela.

A burgeoning interest in sculpture saw him using his superior craft skills to grow and extend his practice. In 2012, drawing on his thorough knowledge of silversmithing, the artist perfected a technique of manipulating sheets of stainless steel by hand. Using the inherent physical properties of the metal, he creates a striking three-dimensional surface that dynamically mirrors its surroundings. These pieces look like quicksilver caught in mid- flow. Kirov refers to this technique as 'the mercury effect'.

His sculpture consists of wall-mounted reliefs and free-standing sculptures, all fabricated from stainless steel with highly polished surfaces. Some are geometric, some explicitly furniture-like, others are beads and droplets of formless matter; still more are glistening, reflective panels expressive of flowing landscapes. A new development are reliefs that reference the sensuous surfaces of the human body. The various pieces are subtly shaped by hand to yield complex, undulating forms from hard metal.

His art has its foundation in the transformation of base material into something mesmerising. It suggests something that is forever moving and unstable with a material that is hard and fixed. The artist makes distinct the effect of flow. He achieves a molten quality of form and an almost glacial, melting mutability. The visual impact of shimmering metal assimilating and distorting its environment - constantly changing as the viewer moves their viewpoint - speaks of possibility, potential and change. The work is a visual illusion, a tromp l'oeil, where stable forms are forever becoming. These are objects of desire - perpetually shifting, just beyond our grasp.

+44 20 7730  8777
Venue ( Address ): 

Pontone Gallery

74 Newman Street

London W1T 3DB

Pontone Gallery , London

Other events from Pontone Gallery

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Heather Horton: Naiad
06/05/2024 to 07/06/2024
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05/03/2024 to 07/06/2024
Philip Muñoz | Of Land, Sea and Sky
03/15/2024 to 04/20/2024


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