David Aaron Angeli tells us about his art in the inrteview published on ICS Art magazine

Uroboro, 2015, smalto su alluminio, diam. 32,5 cm

The first feature that amaze the observer of the thirty-six years old artist David Aaron Angeli’s works is their small sizes, perfect to hold in your hand.

An half way between small sculptures, an ornament and a necklace. The second feature, is the choice of particular subjects, that belong to his formal repertoire: mythological characters, animals, idols, anthropomorphic forms, heads and symbolic masks that recall the archaeological finds from ancient civilizations. Finally, the third particularity is given by the material that Angeli uses to build patiently his fragile figurines: the wax, natural, translucent and amber-colored or black and smooth like ebony.

Wax is the main substance for the goldsmith’s art, with which the models are made from, and is proposed by the artist as a material with an expressive autonomy for its plastic and color qualities. The minuscule works created with this technique are loaded with an ethnic aura of distant civilizations that is accompanied, at the same time, with a sense of fragility that pushes them to treat them with the same attention and delicacy reserved to precious objects.

These complex references reflect David’s need to “found” his creations on the great myths that underlie the history of Humanity and are still present in the collective unconscious, beginning a journey in search of the archetypes that keep us linked to the Past.

Today its forms, although still rooted in high culture, are no longer part of our daily life because they sink their meanings into symbols that for millennia have guided and governed the world view but now (apparently) replaced by science and technology. The choice of covering atypical roads has allowed has allowed him to differentiate himself from the known areas by carving out his own very personal and identifiable artistic language, certainly susceptible to fruitful developments.

Exocoetus Volitans, 2010, ink on paper on wall, 6 x 10 m


When and why did you start to get interested in art?
I grew up in a family dedicated to manual work, to crafts, to construction, to the ancient, to an idea of beauty, to education, to observation of nature, to curiosity. After the middle school, I attended 2 years of Accounting and then began my studies at the “A. Vittoria” of Trento with specialization in Goldsmith’s art.

Which artistic currents influenced you?
The influences are continuous; I am interested in the work of ancient man, rock art, Freidensreich Hundertwasser, Marc Chagall, Francesco Clemente.

After the Goldsmith studies, what course did you choose at the Academy?
I chose the course in Decoration at the Brera Academy in Milan, having the great opportunity to try different techniques and methods of expression. The technical variety has directed me towards my current path with a system of waste and removal from the Decoration, which has nothing to do with art.

You produce mainly graphic works on paper: has painting ever interested you?
While in the Academy, I did experiment painting, though this was soon replaced by drawing. Today I don’t consider myself a painter, because I find what I try thanks to the drawing and the sculpture.

Conus Elaphus, 2011, wood, iron, corten, wax, 240 x 124 x 80 cm. From the show "Opera Civica" at Galleria Civica, Trento

What’s the line between sculpture and jewelery?
The challenge is of jewelery; to be sculpture in miniature. If it works it can be enlarged to the nth degree.

Have you already tried (or are you going to do it) to enlarge some of your work?
I made a large sculpture named Conus Elaphus, a large cone with two branched horns widening. In the last period I’m a bit enlarging the format, though this remains medium, articulate but not so big. There are some works that could very well become monumental too. I think I will come to these steps.

Is there a difference between goldsmith’s art and craftsmanship?
Jewelry is craftsmanship, even if it works noble metals and precious elements. I believe that the main materials and certainly other work and achievements sometimes bring this technique to art. Jewelry is decoration: I personaly think that art doesn’t have to be decorative.

Wax is the basic material for castings: why do you stop before the merger, the final phase leading to the finished object??
Just by practicing the merger, the change in work is immediate. In wax I find unique aesthetic aspects, as well as an unparalleled uniqueness.

Do the small dimensions of your works condition the result?
No, they are simply as they arise.

Artist portrait with his installation at MART, Rovereto

But, working on objects of small or very small dimension doesn’t impose a different technique from that of the sculptor?
Each material provides specific techniques and instruments for processing. Moving matter to create new forms is a sculptural act; the intent and the final result define one's own being.

And the fact that the material remains fragile does not create problems?
The extreme fragility of the wax is its strong point, I think this predisposition to extreme care interests me. The material, although it lends itself well to its maintenance, is stable in shape (does not melt) and changing in color according to temperature. I like it when in a cold environment the wax takes on a white patina.

Big Mask with Snake, 2018, wax, wood, 50 x 12 x 12 cm. GO TO THE ARTWORK

Are your works more inspired more by classical than by modern art?
I create by taking from the past and the present, from life rather than from other forms of art.

What means "take from life" for an artist who proposes archetypal forms as you do?
History and the past are inside us, in our life as the present is. Today's experiences often bring us back, sometimes I find references, connections between today and yesterday, so I create works for the future.

Why did you represent snakes, bulls, masks, totems, symbolic and formal objects that belong to the iconography of the past in your sculptures?
I present forms that are sometimes forgotten but still inside us.

Installation view of the show "Europa" at Cellar Contemporary, 2017. GO TO THE EXHIBITION

Europa, 2017, wax, corten, wood, h 23 cm, Private collection, Lugano

Now, wax is your favorite material: do you plan to experiment other mediums?
In wax I find unparalleled technical possibilities, and for this I consider it my subject. As I already done I can propose other materials but in right combination with the wax.

What are you interested in representing in your works: concepts, emotions, memories?
Every work is full of this, I am interested in the final aesthetic result. What I see is, I can think of everything and gather before the work.

Today, who and what do you like in contemporary sculpture?
I like the research of Anish Kapoor, Mark Manders, Fabio Viale and Enzo Cucchi.

Hibiscus, 2018, ink on paper, 15 x 16 cm / Woman with Snake, 2018, wax, iron, wood, 24 x 9 x 9 cm

Do you think that an artist should remain attached to his own history and hometown?
Yes, but with continuous exchanges and openings towards the other, the stranger.

How do you think the panorama of the Trentino artists of today?
Quite rich and varied, some artists I'm in contact with are very interesting.

What is missing for Trentino artists to be more present on the external market?
There are strong figures, others too "Trentino". Personally I grew up and I’m also recognized outside.

Do you follow the "cultural politics" of Trentino? Do you think we can do more for the modern art sector?
The panorama is quite varied both in the private sector and in the Institutions. We must do it constantly but above all with selection and critical spirit, seriousness and professionalism.

Germinazione, 2018, wax, iron, wood, 13 x 12 x 12 cm. GO TO THE ARTWORK

What is beauty? Is it a value that you research or is subject to other values?
I certainly try my idea of beauty that manifests itself in various forms. It is a strong intimate, personal emotion.

What is art for you?
I think art is the research for an idea of ​​beauty, commitment, sacrifice, work, head, life itself, choice. You can contribute to the construction of the temple of art or banquet at his table.

And finally, who is the artist?
I believe that everyone and especially "the artist" when he makes a choice, a path of life, must have the awareness, humility and intelligence to understand whether it is right or not. In addition to this are the others who define and confirm. There is and must be a time when it is precisely the art system, galleries, museums give space to work. It is a continuous challenge but I believe in what has been said, everyone must stay in his place, in life and above all in art.

Original interview: https://issuu.com/tomio2013/docs/icsart_2019_n.1_david_aaron_angeli_