Familiar presences

There is something almost infinite about certain works of art from the past.They touch us, involve us, trigger deep feelings in us, and this has always fascinated me, even if it is an area of little interest to contemporary art; generally speaking, contemporary art is more interested in the idea, in what the artist is trying to express.

In "Familiar Presences", this artistic heritage makes a return to our everyday world, flowing into it and invading us. Perhaps more ambiguously, it cross-pollinates and transforms our world.

"Familiar Presences" builds on a process I began in my "Other Possible Worlds" series of sculptures, of course with its own analogies and differences.

Once again, the work is based on an assembly of "found objects": in this case, photos of home interiors – spaces both idealized and real – from the world of architecture and design, along with items of clothing and capes from the paintings of Grand Masters like Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci…

Technical expertise is not held in particular regard in modern-day art. Indeed, it is perfectly acceptable practice for artists to commission third parties to actually make their works. It has not always been so.

For thousands of years, sculptors and painters demonstrated their prowess through how well they could render drapery. On occasion, this could end up as empty virtuosity, a mere exercise in style. And yet the truly great artists evoke a completely different sensation in their masterpieces.

Beneath their cloaks, hidden by all that drapery, is a living body. Always.

Try to separate the clothing from the person underneath and we find that they continue to exist on their own, pulsing and breathing independently.

We can intuit this different, mysterious and highly evocative underlying essence. I imagine these "Presences" bursting into our daily lives and interacting with us: hard to decipher yet "familiar", belonging to us and surrounding us, part of long-consolidated cultural heritage.

Beneath that drapery, although at first they may seem unrecognizable, in actual fact they are fragments of incredibly well-known images, among the most admired and best-known in the history of mankind: as I see it, “Familiar Presences” which, centuries later, continue to be reincarnated and live alongside us.

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