Cattaneo’s first sculptures date to the Forties. From a figurative culture filled with fifteenth-century suggestions, the artist strived for increasingly accentuated formal stylization vibrating with echoes from distant archaic cultures and culminating in abstract outcomes. Ongoing formal and technical experimentation led him to explore the potential of different materials, moving with great self-assurance and mastery from wood to terracotta, and from cement to polychrome glass and iron, with the sole intention of finding his own language and medium. In the early Sixties the artist focused on the complex processes involved in lost-wax casting. Bronze ultimately allowed him to achieve lyricism within a continuous present. When he adopted this new expressive medium, his iconographic reference also changed, and his language turned to an architectural and technomorphic world. Everything could enter into his work to become a pretext for plasticism, from the moulding on period furniture to the mechanical parts of internal-combustion engines and parts of children’s toys. Emerging as the fragments of imprints in the negative, these enduring elements of daily life inspired a refined and unknown correspondence of unexpected and suggestive lexical moments in Cattaneo’s language.
Photos © Maurizio Grisa