Born in 1960 to a Sicilian family living in Morocco and raised in France, Catalano became a sailor in his twenties. This nomadic lifestyle was a major inspiration for his work as an artist. The sculptures of Bruno Catalano, especially, Les Voyageurs show this influence. They delve into themes of travel, migration and journeying. Themes extend into exploring the ideas of home, belonging, loss and the experiences of a “world citizen”. Each statue carries a single suitcase, weighing them down, but also serving as their only means of support. Fascinating technically, artistically, and in its symbolism, the large omissions in the statues leave much to the imagination. Some figures appear to be fading away, while others materialize before our eyes. Contrary to the opinion that travel broadens and enriches, Catalano lamented that all his travels left him feeling that a part of [him] was gone and will never come back. ‘Fragments’ makes full use of this ethereal effect with three sculptures broken down to create one unit. The man looks fragile and delicately held together, losing more and more of himself till only his feet and bag remain.

“life is made of so many partings welded together.
-charles dickens


credits: Daily Art Magazine

81 responses »

  1. We had some trees cut down last year. It took some getting used to for a while, but we accepted the change. No problem.
    I can’t imagine the feeling of losing your home and identify. Thousands do every day. A sculpture can express what words can’t.

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  2. I’ve known so many immigrants and only a few of them did not have that empty place. Most of them lived in the belief that their children would be complete and so the kids did not learn their parents’ first language. My piano teacher was a refugee from the Nazis, first to Italy, then Shanghai, then Omaha (???) When he introduced me to Mozart it was with the story of Mozart’s life as an unwilling immigrant. Then he played one of Mozart’s pieces with so much comprehension and yearning — obviously I never forgot it. “What did Germany look like Mr. Baer?”

    “A lot like here. We had a river. It was very green with big trees.” What do you say to a 13 year old girl?

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  3. I have two DILs who emigrated to US in high school, one from El Salvador and the other from Poland. The Polish one has never been back and feels like US is not her homeland but neither is Poland now. A strange feeling for sure.

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  4. I knew his sculptures from photos and stories. But seeing and beholding them is quite another thing of utter beauty., mingling with sadness over the destinies leading to such art. I shall , later on, look this great artist up once more. Such a fascinating person.
    I had similar feelings when I met, in various places, Moore’s sculptures. Just touching them in real was a humbling and marvellous experience.

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  6. coming back to this marvellous Moroccan artist….. on thieir website is this passage:
    These sculptures particularly stand out from the other pieces displayed in the window. To most people, they are travelers, walking, unruffled, suitcase in hand, except that their bodies are in bits, open to the wind and light. Here, the torso has almost disappeared; there, the arm looks like it was blown off by a shell. As they are, they look like they’re coming back from far away, worn by centuries of erosion.

    And yet, each retains his balance and coherence. There’s more; looking at them up close, these exiles, these wounded people are not anonymous. Their faces are those of famous artists, starting with Vincent Van Gogh, with a thick beard and emaciated features. Outside, passersby stop, astonished. They come closer but do not enter the gallery. Some stare into the window, commenting on these disturbing sculptures. Soon, it is groups of school students that, under the ferule of their teachers, come to discover these migrants with no purpose or country, allegories forever uprooted. Intuitively, they know they are in the presence of important work; one that, while retaining a figurative and classic base, shakes up the old conventions.
    What winding paths must their creator have taken to achieve so meaningful an art?
    Who is Bruno Catalano?

    just reading (again) his site is a dreamlike experience. One never ceases to wonder where artists find their inspiration – here it’s written clearly:

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  7. Pingback: WDYS # 171 -A Roundup post – Keep it alive

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