Nature, art, technique, and instinct (Italy)


Antonio Massarutto is one of the 13 designers selected for ZOO’s inaugural temporary exhibition.

ZOO _Hub spaces are concept stores and galleries, serving as a global showcase capable of narrating untold stories. Periodically, the ZOO team will curate exhibitions and collectives that traverse the broad discourse surrounding contemporary design.

Ero un pollaio

Metal chicken wire, acrylic

“Take life lightly. Lightness is not the same as being superficial: it is better to glide over things from above rather than bearing the world’s burdens” (Italo Calvino, Lezioni americane, 1988)

“Il faut etre léger comme l’oiseau, et non comme la plume” (Paul Valéry)

Massarutto uses chicken wire like charcoal to create layers of light and shadow, chiaroscuro, transparent areas and intensely colored areas. This work bespeaks lightness. Ironically, the sculptor represents the might and weight of the animals through an extraordinarily delicate material. Massarutto’s creatures are so light they are able to climb walls.

Bestiarium Collection

Solid bronze

Antonio Massarutto’s jewels are miniature, wearable sculptures. The animal world, a theme the artist explores, is also represented in his jewelry: wolves and wild boars are transformed into ornamental elements. At first, the sculptor creates his models using a 3D printer and afterwards employs the lost-wax casting technique to create jewels in solid bronze.

Who is Antonio Massarutto

Antonio Massarutto was born in Pordenone and grew up in the Friulian countryside. His family was deeply connected to the animal world. His father was a taxidermist and, from a young age, Massarutto assisted him as he worked in the laboratory. This experience provided him with a precocious knowledge of anatomy which continues to influence his art. Early in his career, Massarutto worked in the automotive sector designing car interiors. It was during this time that an event took place that would change the course of his life. While on holiday in Tuscany with friends, Massarutto was walking through an oak and chestnut tree forest when, looking up, he experienced what he describes as “a mystical encounter with something I couldnʼt define.” After this life-changing moment, Massarutto decided to move to the ancient region of Tuscany, freeing himself from the corporate environment that he found so suffocating. His jewels are “miniature sculptures of the natural world.” Massarutto has also created large-scale sculptures on the same theme, using organic materials such as terracotta, wood and marble. He experiments with reclaimed materials such as wire, metal mesh, plastic and fabric. Today, Massaruttoʼs work relies heavily on improvisation and instinct, similar to his favorite musical genre, Jazz: “My works are improvisations composed of very specific mental structures and techniques. In the way that a jazz player never repeats themselves, each time, I add something new. I give my sculptures the possibility to renew themselves continuously. The only constant I hold in mind is the soul of the animal I am creating. They are not reproductions, they are vital. This is my art”.

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