The gallery is full of found objects, including wooden boxes, the handle of an ax, and bundles of sticks tied with string, that for decades Twombly had assembled into totem-like compositions. He would cast his assemblages in bronze, coat them in an artificial patina of plaster mixed with sand, or cover them in layers of white paint in order to mimic the texture and finish of antiquity. “White paint is my marble,” he once said.
The Gagosian exhibition starts at 1977, just after the artist had taken a 17-year sculpting hiatus to focus on drawing and painting. “Twombly’s sculptures were a really pivotal part of his practice,” says Francis, but relatively unseen, he surmises, “because he kept many of the originals of the bronze and resin casts in his private collection.” For many, the discovery of Twombly’s sculptures provides a brand new insight into a much-admired artist’s body of work.