“Substance” exhibition by Bruno Catalano at Galeries Bartoux

From January 27 to February 18, 2023, Galeries Bartoux is hosting the first solo exhibition dedicated to Bruno Catalano. The “Matyer” exhibition combines an interactive and immersive journey through installations reflecting 30 years of sculpting in the artist’s studio. It presents a collection of works and behind the scenes of their creation and re-creates the workshop. A unique, interactive and immersive digital installation created by EBB. Global contributes to the accompaniment of the course.

After more than 10 years of close collaboration, it was only natural for Galeries Bartoux to offer a 500 m² environment on three levels on Avenue Matignon to present this unique visual and sensory artistic experience highlighting the classic works of Bruno Catalano. An immersive environment where images, sounds and lights are activated by visitors’ movements.

This first solo exhibition of the Marseille sculptor delves into the artist’s approach and the universe of his flagship collection. Travelers “. The journey through the rooms of the gallery is designed as an interactive experience that accompanies the visitor in the discovery of the intimacy of the artist.

Through reconstructions of the artist’s workshop, unpublished preparatory studies and a collection of monumental sculptures presented in panoramic animation, the exhibition “Matter” transports visitors to the various universes surrounding the work. It recalls the stories of the men and women who served as models, as well as the stages of life in clay, plaster, wax and bronze. So much material moves under the sculptor’s hands.

Visual and audio opera imagined by EBB company. In general, “Matière” invites the public to discover the world of the sculptor and his models. The exhibition is also intended as an educational journey, allowing visitors to discover and understand the various sculptural techniques used by the artist in his creative process.

Exhibition route

The Matière exhibition offers visitors a sensitive and immersive experience at the heart of Bruno Catalano’s work, highlighting the artist’s universe, his creative process, his materials and the production of his works. The exhibition takes the form of a narrative journey that takes place in three chapters and takes place on three levels of the gallery. Each level should present one of the phases of Bruno Catalano’s creativity and the life of his works.

Chapter 1 in the basement… the genesis of the travelers

The basement is designed to get close to the center of the artist’s work in a light, visual and sound opera. Several works of assembled plaster figures are exhibited in the half-light of the main hall. Later, the artist’s workshop is rebuilt. Bathed in soft light, an original terracotta model sits proudly in the center of the room. A group of men scanned in the third room represent a chorus. Motion detectors placed around the installation trigger lights and musical notes as visitors pass by. Visitors become the conductors of the creation of this opera through their journey.

Chapter 2 on the ground floor… the life of travelers

Benoît © Nicolas Cordato

The second leg of the journey features a collection of sculptures from the popular Voyageurs series. A book about Bruno Catalano’s work, a catalog and a coloring book for children complete the visit. The exhibition also features a collection of photographs of Bruno Catalano’s works taken by members of the global public, printed in limited editions and sold for the benefit of Secours Populaire.

Exhibition on the beach of Arcachon 2021 © André Tirlet

Chapter 3 above…travellers life

Visitors walk on the upper floors among the travelers and immerse themselves in their own worlds, from the industrial port in the morning fog, at dusk, in the daylight, at the sea, in the city center… At the foot of the stairs, a large screen broadcasting panoramic views where the sculptures are developed, welcomes the visitors. Shadow and light, mirrors and mysterious fog, rays of light, synchronized lighting: the sculptures become the actors of the shadow theater. Like the pier, several benches overlooking the panorama allow visitors to enjoy the show. The landscape is constantly constructed and deconstructed, recalling the interplay of fullness and emptiness that make up the sculpture: the void that travelers try to fill during their travels, the fullness of human encounters and shared emotions. The landscapes live and breathe, offering each viewer freedom of interpretation.

About the work of Bruno Catalano

Triptych © Observascope

In the path followed by Bruno Catalano, art is an experience of technology and materials. But art is also a particular observation of human nature, a cultural and shared sensibility in the production of the work. His series Travelers within a few years, it has become iconic, showing all the intensity of the game. In the variety of models represented by the artist, he challenges an attitude, a detail that hides a strong humanity. From there he draws bronze figures. They represent men, women and children who carry their baggage and step forward, animated by a will that the public can freely imagine.

Hubert © Giorgia Chinellato

In the end, it doesn’t matter where it starts or ends. Bruno Catalano’s sculptures freeze time around these personal and anonymous trajectories, leaving room for introspection. Flared contours, physical fissures, torn like paper in the middle. The bust miraculously floats on its feet. Only a complete suitcase can connect the thinking head to the walking feet. The sculptor’s gestures reflect universal emotions, suggest absence, deprivation, separation as constituent elements of any personality. It doesn’t take long to realize that Bruno Catalano’s works pass unless the landscape in which they are placed dominates.

In his work, the images are raised figuratively, even imaginatively. Because they speak to each one’s unique feelings and at the same time they are able to evoke a hidden, coherent feeling that is engraved in our body. Bruno Catalano explains how life itself shapes faces and bodies and how human flows, gatherings and movements build and animate cities. His sculptures are, of course, made of wax and bronze, but they are also the expression of an art that is above all democratic. Art that makes each figure a monument to intimate humanity. Bruno Catalano sees heroes in the skin of ordinary people.

D4 @ Salavtore Matarazzo

About Bruno Catalano

the artist of Travelers, Bruno Catalano walks face-to-face throughout the sculpting process, trying to capture the unique baggage he carries with him in each of his models. The iconic series has been running since 1995 as a resolution to a family saga and a new beginning to an artistic adventure.

When he was born in Morocco in 1960, he was already the fruit of various trips. His family is of French and Italian descent, whose Jewish ancestors were expelled from Spain in the 15th century and sought refuge in Sicily before settling in North Africa. He was ten years old when they left the country to settle in Marseilles. Later trained as an electrician by his father, he began his career working for a shipping company before joining SNCM at the age of 20.

Crowd © Christophe Richaud

He is still far from art, but this experience plays a decisive role in the construction of his sensibility. He first discovered the art of skin masking with his friends, then in 1991 he started making clay himself. Determined to master the material, she attended modeling and drawing workshops and completed self-taught training by reading. Bruno Catalano gradually moved into his own studio, bought his own kiln, and eventually made sculpture his main activity. He was officially recognized in 2001 when the city hall of the 5th arrondissement of Marseille commissioned him to create a bust of Yves Montand to decorate the square dedicated to him. Thus, he pioneered the production of public artworks that would form the basis of his work.

View of Barthelemy foundry, Crest France © Barthelemy foundry

During this time, Bruno Catalano always wanted to perfect his interpretations, always looking for more precision and authenticity in the expression of his characters. But in 2004, when the official invention came out of his workshop, his experience took a new turn. A simple casting accident revealed a disorder in the statue’s body and the artist’s habits. He decides to capture the accident and make the tearing of the material a central element of his subsequent production.

Stripped © Christophe Richaud

In the beginning, from the first figurines, he began to create more and more monumental sculptures several meters high, always made of bronze, sometimes enriched with color. Today, he continues to practice the profession of sculpture in the full sense of the word, that is, he touches both the material that makes up his work and the intangible material that shapes human existence.

Practical information

Exhibition “Materials” by Bruno Catalano / January 27 – February 18, 2023 / Daily from 10:30 to 20:00 / free entry.

Bartoux galleries / 5 avenue Matignon 75008 Paris / paris@galeries-bartoux.com / +33 (0)1 42 66 36 63

Posted in Art

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