Roberto Tres is a sculptor who lives in Turin, Italy. His work is very contemporary with a nod to antiquity www.robertotres.com. I think he’s part of a brand new generation of Italian artists who are inspired by their famous forefathers yet determined to walk new paths. Here’s my chat with him.
MICHAEL: Hello Roberto, I really like your work. Your sculpture is very modern, not traditional. Your website has lots of cool objects that look like they're a celebration of pure form without true function. Am I right?
ROBERTO: Hey Michael, Thanks I'm glad you like it. Yes, you are right! My sculptures are completely forward to modernity. I think of modern as contemporary - as a continuous flow of new issues and feelings. I am attracted to the different modes of cognitive human intellectual and I think there is an unexplored world within ourselves to discover. Very interesting question Michael. Still, the answer is partly true and partly not. The forms that you can see on my site are part of research I started more than ten years ago. I started the study of organic forms and I was totally fascinated by the processes occurring in nature from the solid matter to liquid matter. My work is produced by a balance that I get within the limits and nature of the material that I use. The forms that I’ve worked on recently are a synthesis of all the experiences that I recorded myself. I’ve tried to focus more directly on the form as much as possible. The true purpose of my sculpture lies in understanding the impact that they have during the moment when you look at them. These same forms create relationships with the vacuum, the light is manipulated to distort its internal space. Their feature is not monumental, but they interact in the space surrounding their installations.
MICHAEL: And yet, your sculptural pieces, even though contemporary, still look like they could be part of antiquity as well. You have created antiquity in a new way?
ROBERTO: My sculptures can be traced back to the past regarding the use of materials, such as the marble of Carrara. “Marble” in Greek means, “shiny stone.” This is another link with antiquity. I use the concept of light in my sculptures. I praise the characteristics of the marble that include absorbing and reflecting light. At the same time, tools, forms and the volumes reflect the time in which we live. I leave myself freedom of expression without limiting myself. I also try to connect my imagination to the forms that I create.
MICHAEL: I also love your prints and digital works on canvas. To me, they seem like two dimensional sculptures. The digital works on canvas look like marble or moving water. I love those. What's the inspiration behind them?
ROBERTO: The digital prints and works on canvas reflect the same concept I use in my sculptures. Even when I'm facing the two-dimensional, I continue my focus dedicated to organic matter. However, my attention is directed to the signs that the fluid left on the field, they become new forms for me to represent. The series, “Fluid” I built a pool with water in it and I myself dipped with my body of shapes, signs, intervals flows, drawings … letting the water move as natural as it is passed.
MICHAEL: Are you in Turin, Italy? You're in the birthplace of so many great artists. How does Italy inspire you? Is it ever overwhelming being in a place where so many genius artists were born?
ROBERTO: Yes I live and work in Turin Italy. Certainly this city is full of talented artists and is very important for contemporary art. They have contributed to the development of artistic research, revolutionizing the rules, and investigating the processes of analysis with which we can now use to read a work of art. There are many things that inspire me in Italy but I do not feel inspired directly from them, I think more indirectly. As a child, I was totally attracted to drawing and later when I was a student, I always admired artists of great caliber and I studied their work with enthusiasm. This initially created a block inside of me that was very difficult to overcome. But the artists have helped me understand that hard work is aided by intuition.
MICHAEL: Do everyday Italians appreciate and collect art? Here in America, they do not. Most Americans think art is for only rich people. What do you think about this?
ROBERTO: In Italy, not all people collect art. Rich people have more ease to collect art. However, I think that to appreciate and collect art, it’s necessary to have a sensitivity that goes beyond materialism. Also, I think that it's possible for many people to see and understand art through exhibition spaces with no obligation to purchase.
MICHAEL: Interesting. Are you a full time artist? Do you come from an artistic family? How did you become an artist?
ROBERTO: I am a full-time artist. No, I do not come from a family of artists. I had indeed often problems relating with my family in my nature to make them understand. Recently, I have clarified with them even though it was not easy. I do not know whether there could be a way to become an artist, there are different interests that have grown in my lifetime. Like I said, I started to be attracted to drawing as a child. I constantly imagined and drew new toys or simply what I was inspired to copy. Of course, in later times, I have improved my skills through studying art, all this in a very natural way. At one point, I started to listen to myself by working hard without losing strength or courage. I do not know if all this could be the true way to become an artist. It's just my experience.
MICHAEL: So, it has been hard to be an artist because your family did not support your decision? I'm sure they want you to have an easier life. The life of an artist is very hard.
ROBERTO: This was a hard step to take, however my family has understood the importance of this decision and has supported my studies. There are some details of my family that I took as an example, they have achieved on their own objectives in life. This is wonderful. The artist's life is really a tough course! But it offers a lot of personal satisfaction. It has made me understand many aspects of life itself. Certainly the way of the artist is not easy. There are many difficulties, but I think the artist cannot afford the slightest doubt.
MICHAEL: When people look at your work, what do you want them to see, think and feel?
ROBERTO: I think of my work as a construction or extension of my mind, not as reproductions of reality. For example, the form of the sculpture represents just the sculpture. This does not mean that the sculpture is closed and sealed, I seek a dialogue with people, I invite the people to reason, at first time with the title of the work. The rest of the feelings, I think just need to be carried away by itself.
ROBERTO: In the future, I hope to continue to making myself known as an artist and expressing myself through my art. I hope to communicate my thoughts to the people. I hope one day that my art is visible for people in public spaces and that this experience may help to make them more sensitive towards the world and more respectful of the environment in which we live. And to inspire people to discuss the various tools that art often uses to explore the reality that surrounds us. I hope to get people to stop even for one moment and questions – Was our approach was wrong? Do we see the things as they really actually are or how they appear?
MICHAEL: Thanks Roberto. You’ve clearly spent much time thinking about art and the world.
Check out Roberto’s work at www.robertotres.com.