Luciano Fabro

Italian (Turin, Italy, 1936 - 2007, Milan, Italy)

Demetra (Demeter)

sculpture | stone and steel cable
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  • Demetra (Demeter)

    Luciano Fabro, Demetra (Demeter), 1987; stone and steel cable, 44 3/4 in. x 79 3/4 in. x 31 in. (113.67 cm x 202.57 cm x 78.74 cm); Collection SFMOMA, Gift of Robin Quist in memory of George Quist; © Estate of Luciano Fabro

Fabro's sculpture takes as its subject the Greek goddess of the earth, who symbolized human procreation and the fertility of nature. Demeter was considered a kind-hearted deity, cherished for her generosity of spirit in assuring the growth and harvest of crops. The Greeks believed that her grief at losing her daughter Persephone — who was taken to live with Hades, the god of the underworld, for three months each year — was the reason for the existence of winter.

Into each of two slabs of stone the artist has carved one of the lips of the goddess. Her sensuous, inviting lips appear to welcome interaction, but the tonguelike loop of steel cable emerging from between them prevents it. The wish for contact with the ideal represented by the goddess is impossible to fulfill.

44 3/4 in. x 79 3/4 in. x 31 in. (113.67 cm x 202.57 cm x 78.74 cm)
Acquired 1987
Collection SFMOMA
Gift of Robin Quist in memory of George Quist
© Estate of Luciano Fabro


mouths, lips, rectangles, loops, mythology

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