Plain subway tiles are the medium of choice for destructive artist Graziano Locatelli. With an intense appreciation for the broken and damaged Locatelli’s artworks celebrate the cracked and fragmented with a decisive level of order. Born in 1977 in Bergamo, a childhood fascination led to this self-taught artist to experiment with unusual materials like aluminium and broken glass.
Today his works tread a fine line between sculpture and painting, maintaining the use of fractured pieces a reflect the abandoned spaces and ruins that inspire his art. It was in these places that Locatelli was struck by the innumerable broken tiles (and walls) and the expressive nature they possess.
With these materials his style fully took its shape, cementing cracked tile as his signature. Creating bases from aluminium, his carefully developed mix of cement and glue set his specially cut and manipulated tiles into a range of shapes and designs. It’s a completely novel form of mosaic, evocative and multidimensional with elegance and mystique.
Each piece presents its own personality, whether its the exploding ball of wall from Matched (2015), the cracked pavement encasing trees and their roots from Demiurgo’s House (2017), or the ceramic covered egg of Disabitato (2013), each marks a moment frozen in time and pieced together with grace.
Last year Locatelli gave this unique character to a range of tiles from familiar designers, such as Patricia Urquiola and Giò Ponti, crafting and curving and expressing the tiles’ beauty in their entirety. This series, he states, is to pay tribute to those who have “taught us beauty through the concept of ‘living'”.
A new post by Hanna Simpson, Diary of a Tile Addict, August 2020.