Staccioli | Bavia | Caplin
24 March – 5 May
The three artists place traditional techniques at the centre of their practice and revisit them through a contemporary perspective: Paolo Staccioli models ceramics and bronze to create timeless figures; Silvano Bavia transforms newspaper articles into alchemic rose-based installations; and Steve Caplin reimagines antique furniture in mutated forms.
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Having exhibited worldwide for over forty years, ‘Staccioli | Bavia | Caplin’ is the first London exhibition of Italian artist Paolo Staccioli.
Born in Scandicci, near Florence, Staccioli began his career as a painter in the 1970s. Eager to experiment with a new artistic vocabulary, in the early 1990s he was drawn to Faenza to work and train in the workshop of local ceramists. Eventually he moved back to Scandicci to open his own workshop where he continues to explore different approaches to fire glazing and copper oxides.
At the beginning of his career Staccioli preferred to work on wide surfaces where he could easily draw. Today, he alternates between these pottery pieces and monumental sculptures. This exhibition surveys the diversity of his practice presenting twenty-one works in ceramics and bronze created between 1998 and 2016.
Staccioli’s sculptural language is influenced by the work of Alberto Giacometti, Marino Marini, Arturo Martini and Pablo Picasso. His compositions are domitaned by accumulation and variation of themes where warriors, travellers and horses are recurrent characters. The elongated figures are reduced to the essential and seem fixed in a dimension outside of time in which they appear motionless.
Exhibitions include: Hammond Museum, New York (2016), Museo di Arte Contemporanea L.u.c.CA(2014); Museo Horne, Florence (2011); Spazio 522 in New York (2010); Palazzo Pitti, Florence (2009); Italian Embassy in Washington (2009); Galleria Selective Art in Paris (2009); Italian Institute of Culture New York (2008).
Italian artist Silvano Bavia was born in the South of Italy, Lecce and now lives and works in Florence. Having resided in London for many years, Bavia’s mixed cultural heritage and international background is reflected in his practice. His work is rooted in the fusion of the ancient tradition of papier-mâché – a practice originating from Salento in Puglia – with the spirit of western modern aesthetic. Used for centuries in the production of religious statues, papier-mâché remains one of the oldest examples of recycling practices. Bavia takes the humble material and transforms it into emotional and alchemical 3D installations.
His work engages the viewers’ visual and tactile perceptions, making them wonder about the palpable aspects of the delicate floral forms. Hand-made individually from recycled newspaper, each rose embodies vibrant and contrasting elements of texture, colour and light, creating a dialogue between renewal and tradition, canon and conceptualism. The rose is chosen for its inner alchemical meaning: the representation of birth, purity and beauty of the universe. By mashing up poor and recycled materials, Bavia transforms the dreadful events exhibited in the paper into the magnificence of hundreds of roses.
Steve Caplin is a sculptor and digital artist based in London. ‘Curieaux’ is his latest project and the first in which he uses carpentry and assemblage to create his pieces. By combining traditional craftsmanship with post-industrial imagery, ‘Curieaux’ carries the cyberpunk aesthetic into the realm of fine art. As a sculptor, Caplin works primarily with mixed-media collages, using found objects to create intricate constructions with surrealist and gothic suggestions. The titles of his works are often a direct reference to historical and mythological characters. His opera is disseminated with hidden tales and details to be discovered, which confer to the works a dreamlike, yet bizarre, atmosphere.
Caplin’s influences include Po Shun Leong, the Chapman brothers, Joseph Cornell and Hieronymus Bosch. He studied philosophy at the University of East Anglia, and is the author of a dozen books on digital illustration. He taught digital design at the University of Westminster and is a guest lecturer at the London College of Communication.
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