Through the end of November, sculptor Bruno Catalano‘s bronze figures are inhabiting the Venetian lagoon. His Travelers—or Les Voyageurs—are fractured and fragmented individuals, each on its own path. In collaboration with Ravagnan Gallery, on the occasion of the 58th Venice Art Biennale, thirty of his most recent Travelers create a path through the city. Weaving from theaters to churches to historic palaces, these “incomplete” figures are connected in concept, but unique in their journey.
Catalano's Travelers are, in some ways, a reflection of his own life. Born in Morocco, he and his family were forced into exile in Marseilles in the mid-1970s. The move, which occurred when he was a teenager, left a lasting impression and shaped his future. After years of working in different professions, he finally turned to sculpture at age 30. As an artist, his breakthrough came in 2005 when his sculpture was noticed by a Parisian gallerist. From there, Catalano's technical prowess has developed alongside the intense psychology behind his art.
His Travelers are full, yet empty—missing the fundamental parts that would complete them. In this way, they're constantly seeking the pieces that they lack. In Venice, Catalano's sculptures have found homes in iconic sites like the 17th-century Teatro Goldoni, where they both blend into and stand out against this background. Culminating in a striking tableau set within the church of San Gallo, where bronze and terracotta figures meet, his work has a haunting message. By juxtaposing the fragility of terracotta with the permanence of bronze, Catalano is once again telling us that whatever seems solid can be overturned in an instant.
“In my work, I'm always looking for the movement and the expression of feelings, I get out of form and wax inertia to give them life,” Catalano declares. “Coming from Morocco myself, I carried these suitcases full of memories that I represent so often. They do not only contain images but also experiences, desires: my roots in motion.”
Bruno Catalano's site-specific installations are currently visible throughout Venice until November 24, 2019.
Bronze sculptures by Bruno Catalano are scattered across Venice throughout the 2019 Venice Art Biennale.
His Travelers deal with themes of emptiness and loss, as they are missing essential pieces of themselves.