Italian woodworker and artist, Bruno Walpoth carves incredibly lifelike figurative sculptures which stand quietly, as solitary souls in between stages of life and purpose. Vulnerable, unsure and pensive – they seem like newborn adults, brought to life by the hand of the artisan. The natural grain of the wood, the knots and whorls add graceful and fluid dimensions. Impeccably placed, rough hewn marks and slashes contrast with the softer more finished areas of the sculpture. Cloned, paralyzed, and isolated – they are sentries waiting to be enlisted into a brave new world.
A white substance remains in patches on their wooden skin, strongly reminding the viewer of vernix, the powdery substance found on many newborn babies. It is interesting that the role vernix plays, seems especially applicable to Walpoth’s figures. Vernix is theorized to serve several purposes, including moisturizing the skin, and facilitating passage through the birth canal. It serves to conserve heat and protect the skin from environmental stress and it may form a physical barrier to the passage of bacteria.
“For me, it is important that the viewer’s gaze does not stop at the surface of my sculptures but goes beyond the outward realism to capture the inner life of the work.” - Bruno Walpoth
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