It’s coming for sure. But collectors and dealers can only guess how long they have before the ivory ban express, currently thundering down the track, hits them, pretty much full on. The shape of the impact is being heavily leaked by an organisation operating under the acronym BAMF (The British Art Market Federation). You might not be acquainted with this none too illustrious organisation but, like it or not, BAMF (representative of several, but not all, art and antique trade organisations) has somehow emerged as the exclusive negotiator in a process which has apparently attracted more than 60,000 representations from the trade and the general public.
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There is a moment of breathlessness that takes place when one encounters the sense of blood and breath pulsating beneath the smooth erotic surface of marble, carved into perfection, an expression of eternal perfection, of artistic virtuosity so penultimate that it seems timeless? I think of course of the straining figures of Rodin, the eroticism of Bernini, and the supple heroic bodies of Michelangelo. These are of course icons of the history of art, expressive moments of classicism that endure, models for all student artists, and for those of us who continue to think about and idolize fine art.
So, what then does this mean in the context of contemporary art? Is something of such timeless appeal relevant to practice today? I would say that if work like this continues to stir the human spirit, then the answer is yes. And perhaps our love of such ways of mapping the human body may continue in the work of Ilaria Gasparroni, a young sculptor from Italy whose marble work takes its cues from the technical classicism of the masters while inflecting each work with a sense of the contemporary world, pleasure and contrast.