Bruno Catalano’s bronze sculptures are magnificently life-like. There is however one befuddling element about them; they are all incomplete and somehow surprisingly even more riveting.
Born in the South of France in 1960, Bruno Catalano always had a natural predilection towards art. However, he only seriously started sculpting at the age of thirty.
It is quite common to not have the foggiest idea as to what exactly is going on, when one sets eyes on Bruno Catalano’s art pieces. You see, these are beautifully crafted life sized replicas of normal people, there is just one thing strange about them and that is they are all only one third or half finished.
The seemingly incomplete bronze sculptures are mostly of travelers, men and women you would normally see on the streets, almost always carrying something in their hands, mostly a bag of some sort.
The artist might have had this thought, ‘why complete the form, when so much charisma can be embedded by keeping it incomplete?’ Yes, it is true, once past the initial gasp, the pieces fill the onlooker with intrigue in more ways than one. How are these balanced? Why don’t they fall apart? And slowly the elevated value of the artist’s clever skill distills through.
When asked about the concept of a missing piece in each of his sculptures, Bruno explained, “I think everyone has his own missing piece. In each step of life something goes missing, a piece is gone forever. For me, it is probably due to my childhood, when I left Morocco, I felt that a part of me was gone and would never come back. And later on, when I was a sailor, I felt I left behind a piece of me in every country or place I visited. I feel this happens several times in any individual’s life.”
Complete bronze sculptures have been created by many a competent artist but what sets Bruno Catalano’s craft apart is the added proficiency of balance that he uses to keep the fragments of his sculpture together. He uses the bag or guitar case or whatever else the ‘person’ is carrying to create the connection between the half eaten torso and one leg. The other leg and half a base is sculpted seperately and then juxtaposed with the other major piece. Voila! The form comes together beautifully and the voids seize to be negative and actually turn into positive aspects of the statue, making it that much more unique and thought provoking.
When asked if he iconised anybody, Bruno says, “Without a doubt the master Rodin!” About his choice of art, Bruno feels that sculpture is a universal language and it best conveys the thoughts and feelings of the artist.
Talking about the youth of today, Bruno’s message for them is, “Always believe in your dreams and remember it is never too late to start. I started at 30, I’ve never been to any art school, I work very hard and I have always believed in what I was doing.”
Bruno is well known not only in France but the world over. His sculptures are in the collections of major corporations and large public and private museums worldwide. They are exhibited in France, England, China, Belgium, Switzerland, and the United States. And finally whether complete or not, a viewing of his art is guaranteed to leave you more than satisfied!
Text By Mala Bajaj
Photographs Courtesy The Artist