Christian Zucconi: Pretending to be a Stone

Born in 1978, Italian artist Christian Zucconi conveys a personal sense of melancholic rapture through the intentional disintegration of his work. Utilizing sculpture, photography, video and performance art, his unique study on the human body continues an imaginative, yet haunting evolution. Combining various metals, stone and wax, the symbolism of Christian’s sculptures fuse into a collection of themes that emphasize not only the fragmentation of the contemporary man but also the poignant decomposition of today’s society. (Words by Bella Harris)


Christian, you have a distinct style that emerges into the dramatic. Can you tell us more about this artistic development?

By pretending to be a stone, I pour myself into each sculpture. I let loose all of the emotions that I feel I can no longer contain.  Angst, violence, hunger, fear, nausea… it is as if I am carving myself in the stone.  Chiseling with force seems to help me understand myself.  This physical action allows a reconstruction of what is broken inside of me. The goal is to trigger the same dramatic emotions in the viewer.


What is your relationship with the material used to create your work, and how do you decide which materials to use?

There is a symbiosis feeding on concrete and physical exchanges during my process. The violence of the chisel as it enters the stone, the metal seams that similar to surgical sutures -which are also erotic ligatures-, the wax on red travertine creating the texture of raw meat… every blow, every gesture forms the relationship between myself and the stone.  I choose stones and marble blocks that appear more decayed and often discarded because, for me, they are similar to human nature.


We’ve seen your work in several group exhibitions… what kind of experience would you like to create for a solo show.

I try to recreate feelings similarly experienced during my initial visit to the venue, so that viewers have a range of emotions when looking at my work. This does not mean that one gallery is more successful than another is, but that the context leading me to react differently proposes a different kind of show with different contrasts.

When I visited the basement of the Old Hospital of strain in Pistoia, the feelings were so violent that they persuaded me to prepare a more aggressively themed exhibition with a sense of claustrophobia.  Whereas, for the Museum of Ancient Art at the Sforza Castle in Milan, I created an environment suggestively melancholy with references to Via Crucis, also known as The Stations of the Cross, which is a series of artistic representations, often sculptural, depicting Christ carrying the cross.


Do you have any “sacred cows”… that is, do you have anything you feel is beyond criticism?

The history of art proves just how small the rational man truly is, as he often insists on wasting time and resources on illusory things that have no practical use. However, this obstinacy and excessiveness is sometimes exciting because it is what makes us human. From ancient rock carvings to Jeff Koons’ Balloon Dogs, the common thread is the need to mirror what we already recognize within ourselves. The combination of disgust and appeal stems from the ability to create said feelings within the viewer. If you observe something and remain devoid of feeling, it is because you aren’t looking, or because you are looking at something negate of further expression.

Overall, I have no sacred cows. There are artists whose work I enjoy more than I enjoy others but even in these influential references, I try to see the points of arrival and departure rather seeing them as gods to worship.

One final question, Christian… where does your art come from?

It comes from that “gut feeling” in my stomach, and there it shall remain.


 2nd author & editor: Bella Harris


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