The Royal Museums of Turin host the exhibition In Between, presenting some iconic and two new works by sculptor Fabio Viale, who has become one of the most influential Italian artists on the international scene. The exhibition connects the public with the museum space by creating a dialogue that retraces phases of the past with the present, between classical immortality and metropolitan tribalism.
Fabio Viale reproduces accurately some milestones in the history of art, which have been a source of inspiration for several generations of artists and a reference point for the very concept of beauty in Western culture. The artworks are covered with colourful tattoos that echo Japanese traditions and the occult symbolism of the Russian underworld, employed to create semantic assonance and to convey their own complexity. Using the tattoos, the marbles come alive, asserting their vitality and individuality.
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Fabio Viale manages to reproduce the ancient model perfectly, demonstrating his skills as a sculptor and artist. With Amore e Psiche he wants to emphasize the importance of the embrace, particularly the embrace of love, which is an emblem of conquest and salvation. The tattoos placed on the figure of Psyche are intended to echo Middle Eastern women and are used to decorate their bodies on their wedding day. In addition to the combination of the present and the past, Fabio Viale sculpts a pink marble cuirass that can be worn on the bust of the well-known Italian rapper and influencer Fedez, after having made an accurate three-dimensional live scan on which he has faithfully recreated the singer’s tattoos.
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Today we are with Fabio Viale, who explains in detail his work on the marble statues in Turin. Let’s begin with this interesting interview!
Hi Fabio, thank you for accepting this collaboration with Jugaad Magazine. Let’s start
right away with the first question! When did you first approach art?
I was twelve years old when on the same day I saw Michelangelo’s Pietà Rondinini and Leonardo’s Leonardo’s Last Supper. I don’t think I understood then, but I certainly felt.
What do you think has influenced your style the most? Which figure has been fundamental in your life to become the artist you are today?
I have always tried to be contemporary in the real and not in the art world. My works seek a confrontation with the real public, this is the reason why I chose to use a comprehensible dialectic. In this path I have never been fascinated by any artist.
The great sculptors of the Renaissance, such as Michelangelo, used to say that their work was already in the block of marble and that they only had to ‘liberate’ it. What is your relationship with this material? Can you tell us about your first steps into the world of sculpture?
The relationship with sculpture fortunately began immediately. While attending art school, the teacher at the time realized that I had great facility in modelling clay, that is, in visualizing forms in 3D. I had a gift unlike my classmates. The professor sent me into the classroom where there were various materials and there I found a rock on the floor. He gave me a mallet and a chisel, I gave him a blow and jumped a splinter and I saw under this dark crust a white crystal. When I saw this white, I was moved and began to sculpt. After a month I finished the work and the teacher came to me and told me that when I grew up I would be a sculptor. So he gave me a phone number of a craftsman who was near Cuneo, and I began my path. I have a lot of fun with other materials, but marble is one of those materials that gives you energy while you work on it, rather than taking it away. The coexistence with marble for me is something that went beyond and simply its aesthetic presence, you start to feel it in a much more intimate way.
What feelings do you hope to arouse in people who approach your work for the first time?
Humanity surprises you with very unexpected and incomprehensible reactions. I have been insulted, booed, applauded, and I have seen women cry in front of my works and others make the sign of the cross.
Your works on display at the Royal Museums of Turin depict both classical sculptures and contemporary imagery. What criteria did you use to choose the works? What message do you want to convey through the tattoos on the statues?
It was important in this museum exhibition to create a dialogue with the square, the museum and the Chapel of the Holy Shroud. Very different and very complex places, because they are strongly characterizing.
I decided to exhibit works of great expressive potential that would be able to catalyse the eyes of the spectators. A work like Lorica, with Fedez’s tattoos, has a strong social meaning because it is the representation of how much contemporary reference models have changed.
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The work Amor and Psyche in antiquity represents the Soul while Cupid, the God Love, represents desire and passion. These two figures together accompany us in the experience of love, understood both as passion and sexual desire, and as a sign of purity. What is the lesson we can learn from your work?
Amore e Psiche is an absolute masterpiece by Canova, capable of going beyond the rules of time, equalling the rules of time, equating in expressive power to the greatest Greek masterpieces. Greek masterpieces. I decided to tattoo this sculpture using the pre-wedding decorations of the Middle Eastern women that, if on the one hand emphasize the erotic aspect of the work, on the other hand they conceal the often dramatic meaning of the union of man and woman.
The juxtaposition of black and white recurs in almost all your sculptures. Can we see this as a contrast between good and evil? How do you think this theme fits into the context of your work?
I love to make opposites coexist within a sculpture. From this relationship generates energy and the work is charged with content. The viewer perceiving it, is attracted to it.
We can consider art as a dialogue that tends towards cultural evolution, towards continuous movement. Do you think that the artist and art are two instruments for approaching the mystery? In your opinion, can we consider the artist as a means of encouraging society to a culture of dialogue? What does art mean to you?
Art is always a subjective dimension.
Personally, I associate it with the principle of transcendence. There are forms of evasion from reality that manage to overcome the dimensions of objectivity through images, sounds etc. that some men are able to produce. I think that these experiences are the ones that really give meaning to our lives because they convince us of the possibility that there is a beyond.
Last question, can you describe the creative process of the sculpture, from the sketch to the realization?
I really go very much by instinct, but once a direction is taken, from a formal standpoint, I execute the work. I start the moment I have the image in my head of what I want to accomplish. Furthermore, I use all the technology that I have available to me to be able to materialize even virtually the form, and then I go to choose the material, because marble is not only of one quality. It’s partly true that when the sculptor has the block on the easel, he’s done half the work. easel he has done half the work. I use numerically controlled machines numerical control machines for rough-hewing, because they really give you the ability to take off an onerous part of the job. Then, once the part is rough-hewn, it’s taken to the studio and finished. Into the studio and finished.
Thank you very much for taking part in the interview! We hope to have you back with us soon. Until next time! Silvia
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