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Roberto Cuoghi: Aspen Art Crush Gala

Roberto Cuoghi’s sculpture borrows a small bronze statue in the Louvre, Paris, of the Assyrian demon-god, Pazuzu who symbolized protection, as its model. Appearing in Cuoghi’s exhibition “da iḍā e piṅgalā a iḍā e iḍā o piṅgalā e piṅgalā,” a collaboration between the Aspen Art Museum and Le consortium, Dijon, France, "Pazuzu" forms part of Cuoghi’s interest in Assyro-Babylonian history, which he began to study intensively in 2008. Cuoghi’s obsessive and formidable commitment to research and investigation led the artist to study Assyrian language, mythology, and rituals, from which emerged several sculptural explorations of Pazuzu and other Assyrian deities. This sculpture resonates with Cuoghi’s broader artistic practice which explores notions of time, translation, and metamorphosis. At the age of 25, for instance, Cuoghi transformed himself into his father, assuming the appearance of an aged and ill-man in an attempt to duplicate the existence of an another while playing with the effects of time. Turning away from his own body—which suffered real physical damage from this process—Cuoghi began to explore historical artifacts and rituals, investigating their relationship to the present day. Pazuzu, although a deity who was part of the doomed Assyro-Babylonian civilization, has continued to inform recent cultural practices, appearing, for instance, in the Gorillaz’s video for "Rock It" (2004).