In his contemporary sculpture, Italian artist Mattia Bosco seeks to create a synthesis between concept and form. The two combine with balance and harmony, bringing his unique, abstract stone sculptures to life.
From philosophy to sculpture
Mattia Bosco was born in Milan in 1976, into a family of artists. His father is a painter and his mother, an art restorer, taught him the gold leaf gilding technique, among others. Classical studies, in particular in the area of philosophy, led him to develop his own personal reflections with regard to artistic creativity and aesthetics. Upon completing his studies, he set himself up in a former artist's studio in Milan, where he began working intensively in ceramic, the only material with which he was familiar at the time. He recounts: "I would say that no-one taught me to work in ceramic, but neither did I learn all by myself; it was the material itself that taught me how it wanted to be worked".
However, sculpture in stone soon took the place of ceramic in his endeavours. While clay "welcomed" every gesture made by the artist, in a thoroughly permeable and passive manner, stone offered a form of resistance, "responding" to the sculptor's every stroke, allowing him to initiate a genuine, formal dialogue with the material. It is thanks to this potential that lies within stone that the artist has come to understand the inseparability of form and material. In closely examining the stone, he realises that it is a potential sculpture, always leaning towards a certain form.
"Sculpture [in stone] follows form, in just the same way as plants follow the light. Plants sense the light; they do not create it: they recognise it and feed on it. And just as plants do not invent the light, the sculptor does not invent form; he finds it in objects and continues its process of formation."
Sculptures in stone, from quarry to gallery
Mattia Bosco's work begins in the marble quarries, where he searches for rocks for his sculptures, from amongst the extracted fragments. This first, and very important step in his work process is a genuine audition: the artist "listens" to the rocks and selects those in which he sees potential, which is often associated with fascinating complexity in the surface. In selecting them, he thus alters their destiny and plucks them from anonymity, transforming them into unique works of art. Once selected, he begins sculpting, cutting the base of the rocks to alter their positioning, from horizontal to vertical. The stone sculpture, although abstract, is thus significantly anthropomorphised.
The observation of the stone allows him to select the surface lines with which to make his mark, using rotating cutters. The sculptor's intervention here is simple, confined and restricted, and aims only to draw out and purify the form already present in the stone. He explains: "The sculptor's intervention is a collaboration, acting in an assisting role to the manifest availabilities and possibilities. […] It is not a case of man on one side and the world on the other, […] the relationship between me, who is sculpting, and the material itself, is a tussle between two parts of the world, engaging in a show of force."
In order to further accentuate the chosen points and sections, the artist often applies gold or silver leaf, which act as catalysts for the sparkling gold presence already visible in the stone, thanks to mica, a group of minerals with a metallic sheen. For Mattia Bosco, if stone is the solid incarnation of time - a kind of unique fragment of the world and its history - gold is akin to light, in solid state. The artist occasionally integrates colour or other materials into his stone sculptures, such as stainless steel. He still works in ceramic, and also in wood, exploring the potential offered by the various materials, within the context of a mutual relationship of coalition.
Recognition by contemporary art institutions around the world
Mattia Bosco lives and works between Milan and the mountainous Piémont region. The contemporary sculptor has exhibited his work in several renowned Italian and international institutions, such as the Museum Tinguely in Basel (2015), as well as the Triennale Design and Art Museum (2010 and 2013) and the Diocesano Museum (2008 and 2015) in Milan. His sculptures in stone have earned him several awards and artist's residences, and in 2015 he was invited to the TEDxVicenza TED talk event in Vicenza, Italy. Since its reopening in 2020, he has also been involved with the management of the Casa degli Artisti (Artist's House), a dedicated centre for artist's residences, production and the diffusion of contemporary art in Milan.