It is now just over a year since I met the talented Ligurian sculptor Claudio Caporaso. Our acquaintance came about by chance on social media at the end of 2019, just before the outbreak of this pandemic and my move to the Netherlands: we were both looking for an art professional who believed in our projects and we agreed from the start. It is difficult to find skilled sculptors and that is why in the Contemporary Italian Art project in the Netherlands only he is currently present: his artistic poetics is figurative and real, sensitive and emotional, without alterations of form to show his profound message in which all the femininity of the body is exalted in a constant search for spatial dynamism. His works are enjoying considerable success in Italian galleries and in private and public collections in Italy and Germany.
Let us now move on to the interview with Claudio Caporaso and get to know him better:
How and when was sculptor Claudio Caporaso born: what inspires you most and what would you like to pass on to posterity?
My passion started when I was a child. I used to stand there alone with a “penknife” and make my “statuettes”. It gave me satisfaction. Little by little, what might have seemed like a hobby turned into a project for the future: I enrolled in art school in Massa and grew up. My inspiration has always been Nature: I see her as the Mother of us all, perfection and absolute beauty. Nature has perfect canons: even something ugly, if you look at it carefully, in the end it is beautiful or at least useful. What moves me instead is passion and feeling: my art gravitates around this. I want to leave posterity with the hope that art will live on. I want them to understand that being an artist is a job as well as a vocation and that, as such, you cannot improvise as an artist. You need commitment and dedication, but above all you need technical and expressive skills. Art is full of meaning and should be passed on without the need for words to describe it. This is my hope.
Would you describe the creative process of your works: how long does it take from idea to realisation?
My works are born first of all from a feeling, whether it is an emotion or a concept, from anything that has marked me in any case. I hardly ever write down a sketch, the idea makes its way through my mind, at first in a confused way and gradually becoming more and more structured. After days of foggy thoughts during which I get into an almost anxious state, the drawing becomes clear. At that point I can already see my work. I am ready to enter the workshop and start working. I start directly from clay or wax. And until I see it finished, I’m itching to get out of the studio. Each work has different timescales, it can take days or weeks just for the model, then I create the rubber and go and cast it in bronze.
You sculpt realistic figurative works in both wood and bronze, but which of the two materials do you have more affinity with and what do they convey to you? How do you choose one or the other for your key themes?
Although the material I use most for my statues is bronze, I actually much prefer wood: it is a living, natural material and, when you work with it, you never know what you can expect, maybe a knot, a grain, an element that makes you deviate from the initial design. Working with wood is a surprise, you break your hands, the studio fills with shavings, as does my hair, and everything becomes one with my work of art. Bronze, on the other hand, is clearly more static, but especially with the patina it acquires a certain something alive. I use wood for more delicate themes, and bronze for stronger themes.
Let’s talk about a topic that is dear to you: women. Between the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020, you founded the project -DND- DO NOT DISTURB to combat violence against women: would you tell readers what the project consists of and how it is being organised? What does it foresee for 2021?
the theme of Women has always been dear to me, it’s true. Over the years, I have been called the sculptor of women, precisely because my favourite subjects are depictions of women, adorned with naturalistic elements. Woman for me is a superior being, associated with the perfection of Nature. The idea that she can be abused or subjugated devastates me. The idea that over the centuries she has not yet achieved full power and equality with the male sex is unacceptable. The project was born out of anger, out of the impotence that one experiences every day, even after watching the news. Art has always been at the service of humanity, so I thought that DND could become a real symbol of female redemption. With my wife, who has always been my curator and my muse, we set up DND: she is the thinking part, the one who knows how to do with words, I am the worker, but the one who makes people dream through their hands. The project was embraced by big names in culture, TV and sport and was taking off in a big way, until the lockdown in 2019. We were planning to take it all over Italy, through travelling exhibitions and conferences, we were planning a fundraising campaign for monuments to raise awareness of the issue, and we were planning to donate money to associations fighting for women’s rights around the world. Clearly, everything is at a standstill now, or so it might seem, but the important thing is to believe in it and not to give up. It is true that nothing can be done now, but DND is moving forward, and everything is only delayed. Production is growing, as is the interest of galleries and collectors. Many have wanted these works in their private collections, realising their potential. As soon as the situation unfolds, the project will take off.
You have recently started the sculptural cycle called IDENTITY, bronze masks with natural lines that are constantly changing: how many sculptures did you have in mind for this cycle with its profound philosophical meaning? Tell us…
Identity is a very large and vast project, of which it is impossible to define a number. It is still in its infancy and needs to be fully developed. It is a wonderful and conceptually challenging project. I know it is a theme that has already been dealt with extensively in philosophy, art and literature, but I still find it very topical. Even our identities are affected by the passage of time. Two main themes are part of the project: Mask and the matching Sentiment. Mask is smaller in size and is the typical classic structure, happiness, sadness, anger, etc. Identity, on the other hand, is larger and richer in detail. In Identity it is the woman’s face itself that changes and unfolds, taking on different shapes and meanings. The processing of the materials is also different for each work, with a patina, a gloss, a matte effect, all designed to elicit the most varied reactions from the public. Renowned Italian galleries have contacted me to have at least one piece from this collection in their rooms.
With heartfelt thanks to Claudio Caporaso for the time he dedicated to us, I would like to remind you that you can find more information on the page dedicated to him Claudio Caporaso – Italian art by ELisa Manzoni (criticoarte.org).