Stefano Bombardieri
Courage to dare: this is the sentence through which i can encapsulate my whole journey…
(Stefano Bombardieri)
A contemporary bestiary that paradoxically seems to forget its heavy bulk to be suspended between heaven and earth with a surreal, amazing and comic levity.
Stefano Bombardieri has been proposing his XXL installations in squares all over the world for years and his art already boasts two participations at the Biennale di Venezia. Gigantic creatures such as rhinos, the artist’s alter-ego, hang in the air from powerful post-modern structures, as do crocodiles, sumo wrestlers and gigantic trucks that crash through the ceiling onto the floor. His creatures escape from natural history museums to turn cities into Noah’s arks populated by life-size sculptures of animals, phantasmagorical creatures that want to remind us of the danger of their extinction with their sudden and disconcerting appearance, assuming a symbolic and metaphorical value of great actuality. Crystalized in the immobility of their mass, but unexpectedly suspended in an unnatural aerial position, they loom up with a disconcerting encumbrance in daily reality, overturning the dimension of the childish imagination; here the primary faculty becomes the somewhat sadistic imagination of a child that leads us to measure ourselves, as on a theatrical stage, with the heavy baggage of our fears and our unconscious desires or forces us to confront ourselves with the anxieties and cultural paradoxes of the Western world, embodied in the mammoth mass of rhinos, hippos and gorillas.
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The animals represented by Bombardieri are the trait d’union between the sky and men’s habitat, through the explorations of a fantasy world inspired by the picaresque adventures of Pinocchio swallowed by a whale and the flow of everyday life. These represent the link between men and the natural ecosystem and, precisely due to their expressiveness and their human face, they are a “metaphor for human existential complexity”,  as Bombardieri says. Just like men, they are constantly searching for a precarious spiritual balance against the barbarities of which they are victims. The metaphorical and unnatural position of suspension in which they find themselves is the symbol of the unexpected accidents imposed in a contemporary society.
In an innate familiarity with our species, the animals, the gorillas with human faces, sculpted by Bombardieri, wish, as we can see from their melancholic expression, to be freed from the threat of biodiversity loss, caused by the lucrative trade in crocodile skins, rhinoceros horns and elephant trunks. The artist loves to exorcise this real threat, caused by by the rapid change that men cause in the Earth’s ecosystem, with a bold and ingenious ironic touch: he inserts in the belly of his imposing and expressive creatures an electronic led counter that indicates how many specimens separate that species from extinction.