Skip to main content

This Italian sculptor was surprised by the confinement with part of his art exhibited in both Madrid and Barcelona. In the Spanish capital some of his latest works were shown at the Vitra Showroom, while another part of his creations were exhibited at the Hotel Almanac in Barcelona. Obviously both exhibitions were temporarily closed due to the pandemic and the quarantine that has paralyzed so many things.

Series “Lottatori” – Made in bronze and drawing in acquatinta.

However, the creativity of this artist based in Barcelona for decades was not paralyzed by the situation. Quite the opposite. As he himself says:

“tI’m lucky enough to be an artist, so it’s been a good time to start drawing and researching. But above all, what has helped me a lot has been to be able to design, which is something that I feel from within. I have drawn somewhat unpredictable things that have really moved me. Very modern drawings, which stand out for their volume and expression“.

“Donne” designs made during confinement.

Horse Magazine has not been stopped by the confinement either, and we have remained attentive to everything that was happening in the world of design or art. So we took the opportunity to have a chat with Antonio Violano about his way of seeing art, his models and his future prospects. Yes, because this creator born in Florence still has projects to develop. Let’s get to know them in his own voice.

– A sculptor from Tuscany, from Florence! What weight does tradition have in his art?
– Yes, I was lucky enough to be born in Tuscany, in Florence, land of artists. I attended the Accademia Fiorentina di Belle Arti, but my true love of art came in the studio of my teacher, who taught me the craft of sculpting and creating, renewing the traditions of the Renaissance. In fact, what has always interested and inspired me is Etruscan art, which enhances many of my works and gives them that sensory “impact”. And of course, my long stay in the United States has led me to research, document and impregnate myself with the most contemporary art.


“Testa etrusca” in patinated plaster

– Speaking of the contemporary, what are your references?
– In an explicit sense I have no special reference, but I have been influenced by contemporary artists discovered during my stay in the United States. I am currently in contact with artists from the Accademia delle Arte e del Disegno di Firenze, of which I am an Ordinary Member, and we organize group exhibitions. I do not consider myself a prototype, I give value to the works of many artists, but my goal is to enhance a personal research that relates to a world that changes very fast. I seek to preserve the most precious values of sculpture.

– Let’s go to your approach to sculpture. You work with stone and other materials. What are your favorites?
The different hard stones attract me intimately, especially Carrara marble and travertine. My sculpture also values the use of bronze and plaster for their patinas and finishes that give each work a personality of its own.

Antonio Violano

– And how much of a painter is there in your facet as a sculptor, or vice versa?
– I am above all a sculptor who expresses himself through concrete materials, but I draw a lot in pencil, with aquatint, in charcoal; to reflect on an idea, an inspiration. They are perceptions, imaginations, evocations that later materialize in a sculpture. Between the sculptural work and the drawing there is a close relationship, which is witness to a deep awareness of myself as a key to meaning, quality and daring.

– As for the themes, looking at the whole of his work, we can say that the representation of the human body is his leitmotiv.
My greatest inspiration are people, and specifically women and fighters…who unite the meaning of life to the “active” or “passive” reality. Another factor that makes more and more sense in my figurative work, is the journey from the physical to the spiritual, as an expression full of strength.

One of his latest designs from the “Lottatori” series.

– We have talked about your Tuscan origins and your time in the United States. But you have been living in Barcelona for many years. What has Barcelona brought to your art?
– I have been living in this wonderful city since the late eighties. Living in Barcelona has been and still is a sensory experience. It continues to excite me every day, especially the narrow streets of the Born where I have my workshop and my studio. Barcelona is absolutely motivating, and thanks to it, I have found new inspiration for the various exhibitions that I have carried out over the last few years in Budapest, Szeged, Lisbon, Florence, Rome, or the participation in the 54th Venice Biennale with a short film with the architect Tagliabue.

Figures where Violano studies geometry and architecture in its forms.

This city provokes in me that mental tension that has determined a very varied sculptural work and drawings, with a psychophysical representation of space, which connects with the society that coexists in this place. In short, this city makes me express with explosive intensity the relationship between place and life.

“La spirale” in Aragon marble. Work from his double exhibition in Madrid and Barcelona.

– In Barcelona, and also in Madrid, your work was exhibited when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out. Both shows had to be closed at the Vitra Showroom and at the Almanac Hotel, but your art had already been on display for a few weeks. What opinions had you received from the public who had seen it?
– First of all, I am very proud and it has been a great opportunity to be present in these two prestigious venues and in cities like Barcelona and Madrid. The truth is that I have had a very good reception, which has led to collaborations with interior designers and designers; as well as very good reviews from the public. Also I was especially excited that my studio in Born has been included in the cultural route of Barcelona on a private scale.

– Let’s look to the future, your next projects?
– My next projects, after more than five decades devoted to sculpture, are very meditated. Undoubtedly I would highlight the next group exhibition at the National Museum of Beijing, initially scheduled for this October 2020, but postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Antonio Violano

Antonio Violano, reinterprets the Horse logo for us

In short, we are in front of a tireless artist who is always willing to investigate and create. A good example of this is that he has given Horse Magazine a reinterpretation of our logo. There could not be a better ending to this talk. So we will continue to report on the upcoming projects of this Italian sculptor and adopted Barcelona. After all, we share the creative motto of Antonio Violano for whom art has to be lived “as an emotional experience, as an event, as a challenge, always forward!