Lapidarium is a monumental sculpture exhibition by Mexican artist Gustavo Aceves consisting of large-scale horses that offer a unique perspective on one of the most salient and controversial issues in human history: migration.
First exhibited in Pietrasanta in 2014, the touring exhibition continues to Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate in the Pariser Platz where 22 horses are presented to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II (2 – 10 May 2015).
The exhibition is organised in collaboration with Kulturprojekte Berlin and Jarmuschek + Partner with the assistance of The Embassy of Mexico, Berlin. Lapidarium will continue to further landmarks around the world during 2015 – 17, evolving each time it is presented.
Sculpted in marble, bronze, iron and resin, the works have been six-years in the making. Aceves has created his own visual language, layered with cultural references and symbolism, notably the boat of Charon from Hades’ Underworld and Trojan Horse from Greek mythology, to convey the movement of people that began with the first human groups from their origins in East Africa to their current locations around world.
Each horse, ranging from 3m x 3m to 12m x 8m in size, has distinct cracks on its surface to portray a fractured form, often at times appearing skeletal or containing human skulls within them, to emphasise the tragedy, struggle and barbarism migration is historically associated with.
The horses represent fragments from our shared past but also the ever evolving nature of humanity characterised by hope and life, signified by a horse’s heart sometimes visible within the works. Lapidarium is a Latin word for a place where stone monuments and fragments of archaeological interest are exhibited.
All of the works for Lapidarium have been created in Italy. Aceves moved to Pietrasanta - a town in the Tuscan countryside once home to sculptors such as Igor Mitoraj - for its world-renowned marble and bronze foundries. Michelangelo sourced marble from Pietrasanta and ever since, artists from Giambologna and Vasari to Joan Miró, Henry Moore and more recently Damien Hirst and Marc Quinn have made work there. Aceves has also worked with foundries in Florence and Bologna.
Gustavo Aceves (b. 1957, Mexico City) currently lives and works in Pietrasanta, Italy. Aceves is self-taught artist who quickly built up a reputation as an influential painter working in Latin America. His paintings and works on paper focussing on the human figure draw upon Western pictorial traditions whilst using the large-scales common in Mexican murals. Aceves’ work has been exhibited around the world since the late 1970s including in the Museo del Palacio Bellas Artes in Mexico City, the Venice Biennale and the Beijing Biennale and is part of the permanent collections of Museo Memoria y Tolerancia, Mexico City and the Vatican Museum, Rome. He was one of the youngest artists in Christie’s and Sotheby’s new Latin American sales in New York in the early 1990s. His work is collected around the world by museums, galleries and private individuals. In 2014, Aceves participated in Bianca Jagger’s Paddle8 benefit auction, Arts for Human Rights.