sculptures of figures with substantial sections missing

Irina Iacob

Stacks Image 3142

Can we define a hole as a door towards a metaphor? Can we see the past or specific memories or scents through that hole? Well, I guess we can. How is that possible? By admiring Bruno Catalano’s sculptures.

Bruno sculptures pain, root breakings, traditions moved from one place to another, dreams transported from place to place. He shapes metaphors of sadness, metaphors of an emotional luggage; he shapes circles of passengers and metaphors of life itself.

Catalano brings in the foreground the big concept of immigration. This phenomenon usually occurs due to economical or political causes. So, immigrants are those who come to settle in a foreign country, leaving their own. Immigration is a result of a large number of factors, including: economical prosperity or political reason-as I mentioned before-but also family reasons, natural disasters or the desire to change life style.

Bruno himself is one who, just like so many others before and after him, has been part of a immigration movement.


Originally from Morocco and coming from a Sicilian family, Bruno Catalano is known around the world as an amazing French sculptor. Morocco, Sicily, France – countries and regions put together in one single bag. What bag? An immigrant bag.

Born Khouribga, not Catalano, in 1960, Bruno moved from Morocco to France with his family in 1970.

And between 1982 and 1986, he used to work at the ‘’Societe Nationale Maritime Corse Meditteranee’’ as a sailor. Being a sailor represented an important experience for him because that was actually the center of his inspiration, that was his starting point.

Over the years he has carved using clay, then began to use bronze for his sculptures. At the age of 30 he discovered clay and then changed it for bronze. The transition from clay to bronze is not accidental. Clay is a fine-grained sedimentary rock, while bronze is a copper alloy with tin. So, as the years went by, he improved his sculpting technique by changing materials and giving them new meanings. He was first remarked and admired for his art in the 90’s.

It’s almost impossible to confuse bronze with other material because it has a yellow metallic pigment and Bruno connected so well this particular pigment with his masculine sculptures that have sad faces and eyes. Bronze is linked to sadness here. Metallic breathes sadness in Bruno’s carvings. And above this significant feature, he put a firm, immovable characteristic: an inner void that he deconstructs. This inner void, that can be seen in most of his carvings, can be perceived as being a second heart one has. A heart full of senses.

Stacks Image 5349

This French artist carves a road, a life, a commute, an oscillation between different places, people always on the verge of leaving. All his artworks have this ‘’flaw’’ – the central part of his carvings is missing.

1985 was the year he created his first clay figure, then he start making big bronze sculptures. He initiated the creation of all immigrant travelers.

It is important to specify that Khouribga, as he was known before, was inspired by great artists, such as: Rodin, Giacometti and Cesar and that his universal travelers can now be seen in private collections from Europe, Asia and United States of America.

Bruno carves a changing road and the fact that he put a bag in the hand of each traveler represents the only certainty they have ever had – the road to a better place. But it’s a double process here because the uncertainty of their existential path always led them to a brighter future.

Referring to his ‘’voyageurs’’, Bruno declares: ‘’Anche io ho viaggiato con valigie piene di ricordi, valige contenenti il mio vissuto, i miei desideri. Le mie origini in movimento’’. In other words, he says: ‘’Even I have traveled with my luggage full of memories, including my experience, my desires, my movement origin.’’ His own family was exiled in 1975 and he was landed in Marseille with his parents.


The famous flaws of Bruno Catalano’s carvings establish his way of seeing art through an economical-political-family experience and points out an entire characteristic for his sculptures.

All the holes from his sculptures reflect the image of all those landed people who were forced to move from one place to another.

Bruno’s impressive human sculptures speak about all those who were forced to live a life away from their homelands, dreaming about a better life for them and for their family as well.

Those holes express pain, regrets bonds, relatives, memories, soul, traditions, identity, belonging, past, wound, a metaphorical scar tissue; a missing piece that, although is missing, it struggles in all and it hurts inside.

Galleries from Paris, New York, Singapore and Cannes exhibited his sculptures.

You probably think about that bag mentioned before, right? Why are all his carvings caring a bag, right? It’s because that bag is actually the life of all people that were exiled one way or another and forced to live behind everything they had, everything they knew and learning to start all over again the process of living itself.

That bag means connections, homes, particular special objects or even scents that were so very important for all of them. All those remind about family, love, affection, assimilation, adaptation to what’s new, new life, new reasons to continue life as if nothing had happened.



Stacks Image 4537
Stacks Image 4540
Stacks Image 4543
Stacks Image 4546
Stacks Image 4549