Sculpture in the City, the City of London’s annual public art programme set amongst iconic architectural landmarks, has announced the initial 17 artworks which will make up this year’s outdoor sculpture park in the Square Mile, with more artists to be revealed soon. Launching on 27 June, the exhibition will include works from internationally renowned artists including Nathan Coley, Elisa Artesero, Nina Saunders and Lawrence Weiner. The artworks will be displayed next to some of the City’s most famous buildings, including 30 St Mary Axe (the Gherkin), The Leadenhall Building (the Cheesegrater), as well as new public spaces opening this year, including 70 St Mary Axe and Aldgate Square.

Salvatore Arancio’s works It Was Only a Matter of Time Before We Found the Pyramid and Forced It Open evoke a sculptural garden in which the sculptures are shaped by forms informed by the petrified trees of the “Lava Trees State Park” in the Hawaii Island, that preserves lava moulds of the tree trunks that were formed after a volcanic eruption in 1790. By using a natural material like clay to recreate the lava trees’ totemic presence and by toning the resulting shapes with iridescent, metallic glazes, the artist’s aim is to create a link to his ongoing fascination about nature as a theatre for rituals, worships and self-induced trance states. Arancio doesn’t hesitate to convene science and make apparent their mystical side decontextualizing the forms that have inspired him and emphasize the strangeness and the evocative power of these natural elements that may recall phallic symbols and esoteric signs.

The sculptures were made in collaboration with the Antica Ceramica Gatti of Faenza (Italy) to be presented at the exhibition 'Viva Arte Viva' of the 57th Biennale di Venezia in 2017 curated by Christine Macel.