Exploring the sculptural qualities of stone

May 1, 2008
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Based in Italy, Simona Bocchi sculpts using a range of stone materials, and her work has been on display at the Marmomacc exhibition in Verona, Italy.

Although not generally considered part of the stone “trade,” the work of sculptors around the world offer an innovative look into the three-dimensional aspects of the material. Their work manipulates stone in ways that utilize light, shadow and texture, and they are continually searching for new materials.

One sculptor that has carried a presence at “mainstream” stone events is Simona Bocchi, whose work is on permanent display at the fairgrounds of the Marmomacc Fair in Verona, Italy. Bocchi, who is based in Italy, has been involved in exhibitions and symposiums around the world. In addition to many events in Italy, Bocchi was recently involved in a symposium in Norway, and she is currently working in India, where she has discovered a range of new materials.

Bocchi, who works with a variety of stone materials - particularly marble - recently discussed her work with Stone World Magazine.

Stone World: When did you first develop an interest in sculpture?

Bocchi: It really began when I was very young. My mother tells me that I would even play with the dough in the kitchen, making it into different forms.

When I look at a piece of marble, I can see what is inside. Sometimes, I receive a message from the veining or the color, but it is always clear what is inside.

You really have to respect stone as a material and look at it as a gift. I just give my input, but I don’t want to change the stone completely. Nature creates stone, and I want to show the work of nature and let that continue. I like for my work to be “perpetual” - not a fixed form.

Now I’m moving towards more minimalist forms. I also love to mix marble and bronze, or to mix rough and finished forms.

SW: Do you generally design your sculptures to fit into a specific environment?

Bocchi: If I know where the sculpture will be [placed], then of course I will want to relate it to that space. The space is really the “breath” of the sculpture; there is a constant exchange between the sculpture and its setting.

When I don’t have this condition, however, the directive comes from the marble and from me. I become the space around the sculpture.

SW: What are some of your favorite stone materials?

Bocchi: I work with many materials, and for each one, I use a different language. That is why it is not easy to point to one of my works and say that it is “mine.”

I want to continue to develop and change, and leave a message with my work. The titles of my sculptures, such as “Cosmic Reflection,” imply a plane that goes beyond the material and the form.

SW: Tell me about some of your experiences working in Norway.

Bocchi: I spent three weeks at a symposium in Larvik, Norway [hosted by Lundhs Labrador, a stone quarrier in the region]. Every artist there was working with a different stone, and I chose Rosso Verona marble. I used the Nembro variety of Rosso Verona, which has less red than some others. This material was really unknown in Norway, where the culture is related to granite, so they were very impressed. It was even featured in the local newspaper there.

SW: What type of work are you doing in India?

Bocchi: India really gave me inspiration and ideas. I am spending a year in Udaipur working on my marble creations, cloth sculptures and paintings. My visit was arranged through the Italian Embassy in Delhi. At the end of the year I will have an exhibition there. I’m very excited about working with the local marble and other products indigenous to India, particularly Rajasthan. I visited the marble factories in Jaislamer. Habur marble is gorgeous and only found in Jaislamer, near the Pakistani border.

To watch the hand-extraction of stone is very powerful, it really takes you back to the roots of my work. Overall, my experiences in India will change my life.

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