Back to the future between contemporary and ancient sculpture

Armando Di Nunzio

By Miriam Di Francesco

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In central Italy, at the foot of the Maiella massif, in Abruzzo, lies the City of White Stone, Lettomanoppello, where there is a long tradition of carving onto stones. According to a legend, the nymph Maja fells asleep there, forever, in the unspoiled landscapes of the National Park. Armando Di Nunzio’s sculptures come to life from the energy of those mountains.

Armando was born in Pescara in 1976 to artisan parents. As a child, the father's carpentry shop was his hand-crafting workshop. He later attended the Art Institute in Pescara, experimenting for many years with different forms of art: from painting to theatre, performance, and photography. In 2012, he first encountered "Land Art”, then the master Walter Zuccarini and the association "The House for the Arts" of Chieti. It was his introduction to carving.

His first sculpture, "Astasi Angelica", was exhibited in Valletta (Malta) in February 2015. Collaborating with the curator Davide Cocozza, Di Nunzio participated in several group exhibitions in Pescara (Aurum, Vittoria Colonna Museum of Modern Art, and Cesare Manzo gallery) and Rome (Montez Atelier) and was part of many sculpture symposia. In 2016, Di Nunzio participated in the seventh edition of "Land Art al Furlo” with the association "La Casa degli artisti”. He created a collective totemic sculpture entitled "Beyond the Ego”.

In 2018, Di Nunzio began collaborating with Stefano Faccini, curator of the project "10 days in stone" of Lettomanoppello, and in September 2020 with "Vita Nova". He took part the following month in the fifth edition of RAW Rome Art Week, "We as Nature" by Roberta Melasecca. In 2021 he co-founded the collective "6Lati", a heterogeneous group of artists-activists sensitive to environmental and social issues.

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"Noi due al quadrato" 50x25 h. 42 cm - Image © David Dumon

Armando di Nunzio uses the vibes of the Maiella’s stone to narrate the ties with his territory, the matter, and their relationships. Starting from the ancient work of quarrying stone, the artist reconnects with nature. Every imperfection in his work is amplified and made an integral part of the final art. The sculptures are made smooth through a meticulous job of sanding, to achieve the softness and warmth of the fabric.

The sculptures of Di Nunzio are "fossils from the future": they tell the story of the ancient relationship between man and stones, from a prehistoric era, when man invented graffiti, to a future that aims at harmony between man and the environment. The art resists the exploitation of the quarries and the difficulty of stone supply.

The art of Di Nunzio represents the urgency to restore that ancient relationship, to protect the stone and the intangible tradition of stonecutters and artists who work in those places. Each work is the result of comparing relationships and emotions, with the idea of building a balanced relationship directed toward a future of successful coexistence.

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"Noi due al quadrato" 50x25 h. 42 cm - Image © David Dumon

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"Noi due al quadrato" 50x25 h. 42 cm - Image © David Dumon

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"Noi due al quadrato" 50x25 h. 42 cm (details) - Image © David Dumon

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"Noi due al quadrato" 50x25 h. 42 cm (process) - Image © David Dumon

" Noi al quadrato" represents what a couple can aspire to in the authenticity of the relationship; the union of two imperfections is what multiplies their qualities. Two abstract bodies fused into one in which the imperfection of the stone is preserved and not polished. In "Dolcezza e Passione", the sculpture becomes realistic. It reproduces two snakes in a game of ambiguous joints and twists, sometimes conflicting, with the heads that recall two overlapping hands. "Verso l'alto" is a winged body in one direction of maximum elevation; the body, wings, and head are stretched forward and upwards in ecstasy that pervades body and mind. " La Cura" is a tribute to the complexity of relationships, challenging to reduce in traditional dynamics. The face of the woman, empty on one side, becomes complete on the other side. She is a woman experiencing a profound emptiness. A caress fills her up, manifesting the power of affection.

Armando Di Nunzio combines realistic and abstract elements, curved and straight shapes guided by the pressure of the world and the emotions surrounding him. The result is elegant, contemporary sculptures that have their roots in the memory and tradition of the places of Abruzzo.

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"Dolcezza e passione" 33x26 h. 40 cm - Image © David Dumon

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"Dolcezza e passione" 33x26 h. 40 cm - Image © David Dumon

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"Verso l'alto" 30x37 h. 45 cm - Image © David Dumon

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"La cura" 34x34 h. 61 cm - Image © David Dumon

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"La cura" 34x34 h. 61 cm - Image © David Dumon

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"Ascoltami" - Image © David Dumon

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"Ascoltami" - Image © David Dumon

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Armando Di Nunzio - Image © David Dumon


Photographize granted permission to feature photos by Armando Di Nunzio


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