Sculptor Pietro Gurrado has created a world populated by characters that shift between clouds and rocks, tradition and imagination, myth and archetypes.

The plump figures – shaped from terracotta and carved from Lecce’s stone, Matera’s tuff or wood – spring from the heart of an artist in love with life, time and space. And one who, like all artists, transposes everything he sees or remembers into a work of fancy, that is “indeed no other than a mode of memory emancipated from the order of time and space”, in the words of English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

In this Matera-born sculptor’s atelier, tiny knights vie for the spotlight with star stealers and witches; evocative hircocervi like the “Dragallo” (half ‘drago’, “dragon”, and half ‘gallo’, “rooster”) suspiciously scan curvaceous Sirens and placid Kings of Swords; refined men in top hats encounter harmless, corpulent Langobard warriors…

And then the women – all the “endless mysteries of beauty”, to use the words of another poet, Guido Gozzano: women combing their hair, with bread in their hands, wearing shawls, holding flowers, carrying babies.

Gurrado’s works are joyful rhapsodies and intuitions that sound like poetry. Like poems in which each word is a stones.

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