Enzo Castagno

Castagno’s recent works are gathered in silent dialogue. The terracotta is constrained within the severe chromatic range of white, lightening the heavy, sumptuous material to the point of buoyancy. No other material exists which, yielding docile to the hand, can free itself of its own physical weight of fine-grained earth’s crust and take on the fragile, floating grace of coral.

The gravity of the canopic vase, sealing the shadow of the Etruscan within, is a reminder of how weight can be a useful counterpoint to lightness, preserving in the wheat-coloured urn the volatile ashes of the ancestor.

This metaphysical tension induces the sculptor to accept a heavy, if palpitating beginning, only to take flight towards lightsome harmony in space. In this fertile contrast lies the drive of Castagno’s poetic invention.

The white tones that have settled on the form, uniting intimately with it, are capable of refracting light at greater speed, within the visible spectrum.

In this way the rough, earthen materiality is polished with light, refracted in an inconstant albedo that varies from cold white when veined with blue to warmed off-white when ranging close to the aged or gilded ivory of tufa.

I had not realised that titanium and tin, zinc and kaolin, used in painting for centuries to create effects of subdued luminosity or dramatic rents of light, are actually heavy metals and minerals, oxides obtained by baking at a thousand degrees or more. The sculptures which were incandescent in the heart of the kiln emanate, now that they have cooled, the chill energy of immaculate geometry.