Updated: May 29
Marcello Silvestre (b. 1977, Naples) is an Italian artist, designer, and architect; he uses his interdisciplinary knowledge and experience in order to achieve a holistic approach to his creative process. Among the many awards obtained by the artist, a must-mention is the Targa d’Oro, obtained at the Premio Arte 2018, and leading him to exhibit his ‘Invisible Cities’ series at Milan’s Palazzo Reale. Silvestre’s sculptural works explore complex themes such as the relationship between body and soul, the concept of time, the oneiric world of modern urban landscapes, and human spirituality.
Marcello Silvestre's works are on show at the Zaha Hadid Residences in CityLife Milano, for 'Form Follows Meaning'—a group exhibition by Espinasse31 focusing on the forms derived from the intersection between art and design.
You can read our interview with Marcello Silvestre below.
Espinasse31: When did you discover art was your passion?
Marcello Silvestre: Ever since childhood, I discovered my true passion for art. At the age of 10 years old, I went to visit the Vatican Museums alone and found myself crying in front of the famous Pietà by Michelangelo. The artworks and sculptures of the Great Masters have always invited very strong emotions for me.
E31: Is there a common theme behind your work?
MS: My work reflects the theme of man and his feelings, crystallized in figures covered by the patina of time - the glaze that covers the walls, gates and gutters that accompany our steps while we live in our cities. You can talk about the city in many ways; I do it through dreamlike imagery, and a use of materials that age over time, just like each stone and each heart does.
E31: Which artists or periods have inspired your work?
MS: The Great Masters such as Michelangelo, Canova, Borromini and Rodin have certainly had a strong influence on my work; the way in which they express feelings and emotions through the tension in their bodies. Regarding contemporary artists, on the other hand, I find myself inspired by Antony Gormley, in how he breaks down the human figure while preserving the expressiveness of the body.
E31: What is your creative process usually like? How did your habits change during quarantine?
MS: When it comes to the creation of my works, I would say the idea is born from my imagination, without the use of preliminary sketches. As a starting point, I always begin shaping the idea on the computer through various processes until I get closer to the initial concept. [...] During quarantine, I was unable to go to my workshop, so I used the computer to work on illustrations and new sculptural projects. I took the opportunity to do research, to improve modelling techniques, and also to learn how to better listen to my ideas and feelings.
E31: How did you progress from the fields of Architecture and Design towards the field of Fine Art?
MS: I don’t think that you can separate the architect to the artist in me, because I have a common way of expression, whether it is through an architectural project or through a work of art. There are many points of contact: from the relationship between matter and form, to that of solids and voids, from the dialogue between lights and shadows to the contrasts between angular and soft shapes. [...] There is both an architect and an artist in me when I do continuous research of materials and experimental finishes on the statues, when I find myself designing sculptural buildings... Nonetheless, I could not separate the two, and I try not to define myself through one or the other anymore.
E31: Could you tell us about the materials you use, and the reason for them?
MS: As a 3D artist, I model my works on the computer and then print them in plastic materials. The printed model is either finished by hand with experimental paints or is taken to the foundry for lost wax bronze casting. Also, I'm about to start an experimental project on marble starting directly from the 3D model and using 5-axis robots. The choice of materials and finishes is closely linked to the meaning of the work, as this reinforces the message. The choice of bronze in 'Le Città Invisibili', for example, served to strengthen the weight of the city and the concept of eternity. [...] This has certainly been one of my favorite projects, because I managed to give a real shape to all my visions on this book (Le Città Invisibili, by Italo Calvino) that has accompanied me since university, and because it brought me closer to the technique of bronze casting.
E31: What is the meaning of art for you?
MS: For me, art is the product of an artist's need to communicate and share an emotion, a dream, a reflection, an ache or a wound, with his or her own sensitivity and technique. Additionally, the beauty of art is that it serves a purpose: to be a medium for people to identify themselves in certain stories, to find answers or simply daydream, to remember or to forget.
You can view all available works by Marcello Silvestre and inquire if interested here.