“I sculpt from life. My vision is singular, as is yours. But maybe we are not so different?”
Luigi was born in Casalguidi in North West Italy. Situated on a fertile plain that extends to Florence, the land was reclaimed from marshes in the 18th century and is surrounded by mountains. This “gateway to the Appenines” has produced many significant artists and contributed to Italy’s renown as a cultural driving force.
At school Luigi showed early artistic talent, but when his father died suddenly he had to work to support the family. Apprenticed in the furniture-making industry for which Italy is known as a world leader, the company he worked for produced stylish, upholstered pieces for discerning clients including Pierre Cardin.
Chairs and sofas need to be constructed from frames that are sturdy and durable, yet exhibit appealing aesthetic qualities when they are covered in fabric or leather. The process of attaching the covering to the frame is a skilled job where a true artisan excels if they have an eye for detail, patience and dexterity. These accomplishments are not so different from the techniques needed for modern topiary making where plants are woven on wire supports.
Recognizing this, Luigi saw an opportunity to combine his natural artistic aptitude and acquired skills with his love of nature by switching profession to some of the many agricultural nurseries that abound in North West Italy. These nurseries foster topiary making as an important part of their stock ranges. For Luigi this meant he could give his creative flair free reign outside the factory environment while continuing to support his family.
A chance meeting with the Director of New Forest-based horticultural company Agrumi led to Luigi’s transfer to the UK. Now he diversifies his topiary making by focusing on the expressive potential of wirework as art.
Having grown up in in a simple agrarian community, Luigi appreciates the inter-connectivity between humans and nature and refers to himself as a “contadino” or “peasant”. This diffidence masks the natural sophistication of a keen amateur botanist, instinctive gardener and forager, hunter and fisherman.
These experiences equipped him with singular opportunities to observe domesticated and wild animals both subjectively and objectively. On seeing his wirework sculptures it will be clear that his knowledge of animal forms is based on close personal scrutiny: he captures the mood and character of different species and breeds perfectly.
Luigi has an uncanny ability to conceive scale and proportion and relies on this in preference to computer-assisted design. Although educated to a basic level, he nevertheless creates sculptures that exhibit a strong scientific bent in their spatial and three-dimensional appearance. This natural ability to resolve difficult technical challenges of form and materials has become a hallmark of his practice. His designs have a quirky originality and simplicity about them that belies the complexity of the wire working process and the refinement of the journey from concept to design to figurative representation.
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