Adrian Nivola | Intimate Architecture of the Insturment

15 Feb - 7 Apr 2019

Tayloe Piggott Gallery is pleased to present The Intimate Architecture of the Instrument, an exhibition of sculptures by Adrian Nivola. Inspired by unusual musical instruments from around the world, Nivola has spent the last four years inventing his own imaginative, unplayable variations. Each piece endeavors not only to attain a refined aesthetic, but also a unique character and feeling. An artist reception to celebrate this exhibition will be held Friday, February 15th from 6-8pm. All are invited to attend.


The concept for this body of work originated from an exhibition of rare instruments at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Upon discovering those objects, Nivola became fascinated with the visual rhythms and the lyrical quality of their intricate machinery. Each instrument’s extraordinary complexity, according to the artist, made it seem absurdly impossible to play yet all the more elegant.


Nivola’s meticulously crafted inventions, made of wood and metal, reveal the precision and elegance of a watch-maker. His works are mostly small in size, yet they evoke a monumental scale as with a Chinese scholar’s rock or a medieval illumination. Each piece conveys, paradoxically, the illusion of grand forms within the intimate framework of a hand-held object. A humorous irony enlivens Nivola’s sculptures where the machinery of strings and tuning pegs seem to suggest a functionality only to prove poignantly implausible. However, in his combining of elements, Nivola creates surprising visual forms. The artist’s process is improvisational. He does not work from blueprints of drawings or any preconceived image. Only a nascent, structural idea guides his initial decisions and it often gets revised or replaced several times before a piece is completed. He edits each work more or less radically and spontaneously over time.


Born in 1977, Nivola began to take his professional artistic ambitions seriously at the age of 18 when he went to work for the well-known artist Caio Fonseca in Pietrasanta, Italy. He went on to study at Yale University from which he graduated in 2000 having received several prestigious awards while attending the university including the Ellen Batell Stoekel Fellowship. He later received an MFA from the New York Studio School graduating in 2006. Adrian is the grandson of Costantino Nivola, a celebrated Italian sculptor who was among the first wave of artists who settled on the East End of Long Island in the 1940s along with his close artist colleagues Saul Steinberg, Jackson Pollock and later Willem deKooning. Nivola’s work is currently in numerous prestigious collections both in Europe and the U.S. He has exhibited at the Yale University Art & Architecture Gallery, New Haven, CT; The Paul Dietrich Gallery, Boston, MA, The Painting Center, New York, NY; and The Drawing Room, East Hampton, NY among others.