Laocoön Fragments is a series of sculptures by Quayola based on the Hellenistic sculpture Laocoön and His Sons.
A paramount example of the Pergamene Baroque style, the work was endlessly copied—beginning in Roman times and through the nineteenth century—both as an artistic training device and due to its sheer popularity. Quayola inserts himself into this tradition with a digitally-driven approach. The artist’s software imagines and renders alternative breakages, fragmenting the work into two distinctive styles: representationally accurate sections and geometric abstractions coalesce into new forms. Made with a unique blend of pulverized iron powder mixed with resin, the sculptures are then chemically treated to cause an accelerated patina effect. The geometric sections are polished and waxed to achieve a smooth, newer appearance, while the representational segments appear oxidized and textured. Thus, the visual contrast between the “past” and “present” becomes more pronounced.
Born in Rome, Quayola’s practice is deeply affected by the grandeur and decay of ancient sculptures and Renaissance masterpieces that he encountered at an early age. Architectural façades, objects, and artworks that were once new chip, fade, crack, and break over the centuries. While the perception and reception of distressed frescoes or fractured sculptures is fluid, the work itself remains, containing a multitude of temporal narratives. Quayola translates this experience into his sculptures and works on paper and aluminum, which he presents in the exhibition as “simulated archaeological artifacts.”