Untitled, 2006
concrete, clothing, tubing

Re-Make Re-Model, 2010
clay dust, wax, synthetic resin, rope

Clapper Tongue, 2009
bronze, rope, electronic strike hammer

Moon Walker, 2009
still from video

Radiator 1, 2008
radiator, plaster

Man in the Planet

William Cobbing

curated by Rita Selvaggio

15 September - 30 October 2010

Viafarini DOCVA is pleased to present British artist William Cobbing’s first solo exhibition in a public space in Italy. Man in the Planet involves a series of sculptures, installations, photographs and video. The work takes shape from the distinctive industrial architecture of the building, formerly a tram depot. Intrigued by the previous incarnation of the Viafarini DOCVA building, Cobbing re-imagined the space as being akin to the derelict industrial landscape of David Lynch’s surreal film Eraserhead, which featured the ‘Man in the Planet’ character.

Throughout the gallery is installed a series of fragmented casts of human limbs, as if immured by the architecture. The body is displayed as a vestige, a husk of what was once there. These works express concepts of entropy; how earthly material is dispersed, causing boundaries between body and landscape to be forever blurred.
In the video Moon walker (2009) footage of the artist walking along a deserted beach backwards is reversed, creating the paradox of the artist clearing the footprints he left before his arrival, as if furtively covering his tracks. The most recent work derives from Cobbing’s artist residency in Afghanistan, during which he created a series of photographs of the sandstone niches left behind after the Taliban destruction of the Buddha monuments in Bamiyan. The photographs depict the Buddha niches reflected in a mirror, furthering the erasure of their image and entropic dispersal.

During the opening night of the exhibition, Cobbing will be performing a live version of Excavation. The performance metaphorically alludes to a psychoanalytic form of self-analysis through the act of chipping away at layers of the self, but a breakthrough is never achieved.

William Cobbing was born in 1974 in London, where he currently lives and works. He studied BA Sculpture at Central Saint Martins College in London, followed by De Ateliers independent artists' institute in Amsterdam. Solo shows include 'Gradiva Project' at the Freud Museum and Camden Arts Centre, London (2007/8), Netwerk Centre for Contemporary Art, Belgium (2006), and group exhibitions 'A Secret History of Clay' Tate Liverpool (2004), 'A Room With a View' Gemeentemuseum, The Hague (2006), and 'Super Stories' Hasselt Triennial (2009). Cobbing was awarded the Helen Chadwick Fellowship at the British School at Rome and Ruskin School in 2005/6, and recently completed a second artist residency at Turquoise Mountain Foundation in Kabul, Afghanistan.

With the contribution of Fondazione Cariplo, British Council, Gemmo spa, Land


last update 12-10-2011