The erotic sculptures of Martino Catalano are poetic, sometimes harsh, but always full of symbolic references. He is one of my favorite sculptors, always providing confusion, a smile and a positive esthetic experience. I recently did my six questions interview with Martino, he also provided a collection of images to go along with the interview.
1) How would you personally describe the nature of your art?
I create sculptures of the spirit of feelings. The feelings range in anything from the ambience of desolate moorland to the invisible psychological power bare skin evokes. My work is symbolic of an intense parallel existence where intangible feelings become physically manifest.
2) What artists, art periods, are an inspiration for your own work? And in what way?
I draw on many periods and art influences, beginning with symbolic cave art depicting extremity: fertility gods and goddesses, the worship of the elements, the ferocity of beasts and the spontaneous creativity of the primitives from their fearful and respectful reaction to natural phenomena. I love ancient and Biblical imagery, particularly mythical fusion of human and beast and idols and also the anatomy obsession during the Renaissance and Victorian periods. The paintings of Gustav Dore and John Martin evoke masterful storytelling power for me, as do the futuristic visions of H.R.Giger.
3) Where are your ideas coming from? Does your work reflect your own erotic fantasies & desires?
The very core fundamentals of my ideas stem from spirit and body. This cliche is overridden by my tendency to truncate aspects of human erotica and endow the portion with it’s own self-contained existence. I find a woman’s hand and tracery of veins to be at once extremely sensual and a wonderful subject to sculpt because of it’s complexity and suggestive power. The warm, cylindrical phallus is also eternally beautiful sculpturally as is the smoothness of a dome-like breast ending in a contrasting texture of an erect nipple – rather like a variable landscape. The largest source of inspiration for me comes from the human face.
4) What you biggest artistic frustration? Or main struggle in your creation process?
I’ve never really felt ‘frustrated’, I just let the work run away with itself instilling it with any thoughts or impulses I have at the time of working on the piece. If there is any demanding aspect, it is usually with the technical side, i.e. molding and casting, otherwise 99% of the time the whole thing is very fulfilling and rewarding and I feel lucky to have this faculty.
5) Is it easy to find places to display your work? ( galleries, museums or shows ) Or is erotic art still somewhat taboo in your country?
I’m yet to exhibit my work properly, my website is merely a means to an end: to see my work ‘in the round’. A lot of galleries still favor very whimsical art, but maybe London would be the obvious choice to tolerate (and cater to) extreme-erotic sculpture appreciation.