Renato Nicolodi

The architectural sculptures of Renato Nicolodi form a universe that occupies a special place in the history of contemporary art for various reasons. First of all, perhaps, because of the multitude of materials with which he shapes his work: cement, steel, wood, ceramic tiles, paper and canvas. Since his artistic training and formation as a painter at the Sint-Lukas Art College in Brussels (1999), painting has never left him, but over time he has longed more and more to transform paintings into sculptures. In 2007, he graduated from the Higher Institute of Fine Arts in Ghent and since then the path from painter to sculptor, in other words from two-dimensional artist to three-dimensional artist, has never left him.

Over the years, his sculptures gradually take up more and more space and are often reminiscent of historical megalomaniac projects such as pyramids, triumphal arches and solar temples, though usually maintaining a balance between small-scale model building and minimalist monumentality. Through the geometric construction, the regularity and symmetry, the compact and inward-looking character of his sculptures, he always succeeded in creating enigmatic and alienating works. His family history, particularly that of his Italian grandfather (the man served in Mussolini's army during WWII and later worked on the Atlantic Wall as a prisoner of war for the Germans), strongly influenced him. However, Nicolodi translates this autobiographical subject into a universal human story. Many of his works also seem to be constantly circling around a central point, a black hole that remains unfilled, inaccessible, but always welcoming. They invite to spiritual journeys into the unknown land, somewhere on the other side, through but always beyond the black hole. The vision that the individual has of himself will be able to develop further here in full peace and beauty. Framed as an interaction between a biographically cherished family and universal desires, between the light and the darkness that all religions speak of and between the irrevocable categories of birth and death, his works deal irrevocably with the fundamentals of life. Because of their monumental dimensions, realised as such or just evoked in all simplicity, these architectures naturally address collective humanity first, where they claim a place for themselves in the midst of the masses. But without the pilgrimage of the individual visitor, any search for memory and meaning is, of course, meaningless.

Selected works

Domus Vacuitatis I
Domus Vacuitatis I, 2023
Aedes I
Aedes I, 2023

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