London Geodes Collection
As a child growing up in the Italian alps, Matteo Margaroli went out hunting for crystals. Drawn by the idea of finding something precious that no-one else had ever seen, he would struggle down from the mountainside with a knapsack filled with stones. Once home he would carefully hammer them apart, eager for a glint in the dark rock, his personal discovery of the beauty hidden away by nature.
What we experience in the London Geodes event is the recreation of that sense of secret wonder, revealed by the complex geometric planes of Margaroli’s pieces. He mines the seams of geology to explore the fascination of geodes, apparently nondescript stones containing fairy-tale hollows lined with quartz crystals, agate, jasper or amethyst.
In a natural geode, hollows created by bubbles of air and gas under pressure in lava gradually solidify and fill with an infinitely slow deposit of minerals, encrusting the surface of the cavity with crystals. The London Geodes capture both the characteristic profile of a crystal – flat faces with sharp angles – and its highly ordered atomic structure. This severity plays out against scintillating crystal interiors which irresistibly pull the viewer towards these wall-hung sculptural works.
Informed by his architectural background, Margaroli utilises techniques that combine the precision of laser cutting alongside cold metal casting, LED technology and hand finishing to produce his distinctive high relief pieces.
“While natural geodes are typically found scattered across a desert,” the artist explains, “these works are statements for our urban habitat, with their polished metal surfaces and high-spec construction. They are built and made in London, where I live and work. I am drawn by the way that different metals work in our modern environment. The light that I place within the geodes creates endless possibilities, like great cities which are full of surprises and moments of unexpected beauty.”
As Margaroli builds up his pieces, angles and facets are first sketched at random on paper by hand. But the movement from sketch to sculpture is achieved through absolute precision, since the inner geometry of the geode must be exact. Beneath the peaks and valleys of the outer structure lies a strictly organised architecture of perpendicular supports cut by laser to within a fraction of a millimetre. There is no space for error. The mathematics of nature are recruited to bring harmony and balance to the finished work.
Slashed across this landscape is a lightning bolt of shimmering crystals. As the viewer approaches, the gallery darkens, and the shell of the work falls back into shadow, leaving only a glowing streak in a split rock. Light and colour glisten from the fracture, revealing the internal mystery of the geode to the observer. “What we see here on the surface is only a partial manifestation, leaving us to imagine the treasure that continues within,” says Margaroli.
With the changing perception of light falling across the countless surfaces, no two viewers will experience these unique and complex works in the same way.