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Portal del Angel / Jorge Peris, 2016

The site-specific installation by artist Jorge Peris is the result of his extensive studies of the architectural spaces of the Antinori nel Chianti Classico Winery, its monumental yet almost invisible structure – a representation of the symbiotic relationship between our ancestral nature and contemporary productivity – built in complete harmony with the surrounding countryside and discreetly visible through two horizontal slashes in the hillside that reveal its inner core of terracotta, wood, weathering steel (Cor-ten) and glass.

“Portal del Angel” is a precarious arc di triomphe, an ancestral totem pole, based on an unsteady equilibrium between its parts.   The structure was erected using reclaimed local materials closely tied to the history of our territory: antique terracotta urns historically used for storing oil, that were taken from the Antinori family’s private collection, are arranged in a structure made of alberese stone, a white stone typical of the Chianti area. The artist personally collected the stones from the Tignanello hillside and assembled them with reclaimed barrel racks made of pietra serena (grey sandstone) and marble from Carrara.

The name suggests a passageway into another dimension, both threatening and at the same time mystic, a liminal dimension that marks the threshold where the apparent tragic collapse of the walls is overcome by a divine equilibrium capable of ignoring human laws of gravity.

The structure’s monumental yet frugal nature intensifies perceptions while at the same time reminds us of the natural progression of the earth, nature and winemaking emphasizing just how small man’s role is in nature’s master plan.

Jorge Peris is a sculptor who works with concepts of space and time treating them as complex systems of opposing and balancing forces that are in a state of continual transformation. His works of art, all created personally, reinforce the poetic quality of materials used in the Arte Povera movement; commonplace, simplistic materials that were not intended to represent something else, but to reveal through their physicality an entropy that reflects changes in the world around us; from his research of artists like Gordon Matta Clark, he has developed a personal relationship with architecture that represents a political arena as a metaphor for human relations.

His works of art are usually the result of a challenge with different media and his desire to push their limits.   However, unlike many other contemporary artists, he prefers working directly with craftsmen, stonecutters and lab scientists who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty rather than with engineers and technical specialists. His works take form in his studio as watercolors, an activity that he passionately pursues in his house-studio in Albufera National Park near Valencia far from the frenetic metropolis and only occasionally connected to the flow of digital data and images from the Web.

In the past ten years Jorge Peris has worked with mold, wet clay, water, salt and diseased plants, integrating them into environmental installations that reveal unexpected monumental spaces where man finds himself up against the effects of time and his own emotions.

He was assistant and friend to Gilberto Zorin in Turin where he became deeply passionate about Italy and its history. His in-depth knowledge of the widest variety of materials goes back to his childhood when he accompanied his father to construction sites observing both new buildings and old dilapidated ones, discovering and appreciating building materials and their characteristics such as weight, color, texture and roughness.