Italian-born, Los Angeles–based artist Piero Golia is a sculptor of situations. His works—which at times take physical form, often at an architectural scale, and at others are immaterial—are statements aimed at expanding the possibilities of art. His practice is heterogeneous and unpredictable, employing diverse mediums and methods to spark chain reactions that, even when they leave no objects or images behind, have the capacity to alter our perception.
As a young man in Naples, Golia studied chemical engineering, learning about the transformation of raw materials into powerful energy sources. Such a concept captures a crucial aspect of his artistic approach, in which he takes preexisting objects from lived reality as the starting point for a set of actions that unfold, displacing initial meanings and functions.
Drawn to the varied cultural associations of Los Angeles, where he has lived and worked since 2002, Golia has produced a vast number of artworks inspired by or situated in the city itself. For example, Luminous Sphere (2010), a five-foot-tall orb installed on the roof of West Hollywood’s Standard Hotel, is only illuminated when the artist is in town; like a sacred presence expressed in LA vernacular, the mysterious cipher awaits projection of meaning from the casual passerby unaware of what drives its pattern of illumination. “It’s a form open to urban legend,” the artist muses. In 2008 Golia was invited to take over a booth at the Art LA fair; his contribution was to completely fill the space with a full-sized passenger bus that had been dramatically crushed by bulldozers to fit the dimensions of the exhibition space.