The Italian artist Francesca Bernardini has developed a relationship with marble that is deeply intimate. “If I treat it well, I will get back what I expect from it”, she says. Both a personal journal and an archive of her relationship with the world, her work speaks to us about...
Francesca Bernardini's marble sculptures, with their smooth, rounded forms, are inspired by the observation of the natural microcosm. They tell personal stories through memories, emotions and experiences that the artist gives form to in the material.
Francesca Bernardini: a sculptor born in the land of marble
Francesca Bernardini is an Italian contemporary sculptor born in 1974 in Carrara, in the Italian region of Tuscany. The city is world-famous for its quarries, from which the highest quality marble, among the whitest and purest in the world, has been extracted since ancient times. In the past, this precious material was used for the construction of monuments and religious statues. Master sculptors, including Michelangelo, favoured it for the creation of their masterpieces.
Driven by the desire and need to express herself through materials, Francesca Bernardini studied at the local art school and graduated in sculpture from the Academy of Fine Arts in Carrara in 1999. She began working in a historic workshop in the city, where she studied the traditional techniques of marble carving with passion. Today, the artist uses a wide variety of marbles of different characteristics and appearance: Carrara white, Bardiglio, statuario, Belgium black, Marquinia, Petit Granit, Siena yellow, Calacatta.
Speaking about her apprenticeship and her relationship with marble, Francesca Bernardini says: "Working with stone has taught me so much to respect it, to respect the time of the stone, and never to force it with tools [...]. My master used to say that life is a bit like the surface of marble: if you do all the steps slowly and respect the stone, then in the end the stone will give you the result you want.”
From nature to people, from emotions to stone
Francesca Bernardini's work is deeply intimate: her sculptures are rooted in memories, emotions, desires, experiences, torments that take shape in volumes often inspired by the natural world. The sculptor summarises her artistic research as follows: "Inspired by the observation of the microcosm of the natural world, my work highlights particular details and distorts dimensions, my forms becoming containers of past life or of inner or emotional metamorphoses."
The artist's states of mind and emotions are felt, experienced and then sculpted. Francesca Bernardini first transcribes them on paper through sketches, then goes directly to work in marble, except for the monumental sculptures for which a small model is created. The contemporary sculptures with their natural, rounded forms are infused with life and charged with energy. An energy that the compact sculptural form retains and compresses, but which is released through small openings, lacerations or outcrops on the smooth surface of the work.
In her first series, Nests, Cocoons, Crysalis, Francesca Bernardini explored the themes of personal development and internal exploration, as well as home and family. The series From the abyss, inspired by memories of growing up in Sardinia, in contact with the sea and its creatures, reminds us of the importance of respect and preservation of nature. Finally, the Connections series is an ode to dialogue between human beings, between different peoples and cultures.
"Thus, Francesca Bernardini lives and feels the world of sculpture as a place of matter, form and spirit where there is nothing to say: there is only to be, there is only to live, similar to an intimate contemporary vegetable garden, lovingly kept inside, in which the artist cultivates the art of living and sculpts the life of forms." Filippo Rolla
Sculptures produced and exhibited around the world
Francesca Bernardini's work has been shown since the early 2000s in solo and group exhibitions in institutions and galleries in Italy and internationally, particularly in Europe and Asia. She also participates in numerous sculpture symposia around the world such as in Morocco, Turkey, Taiwan, Chile, Iran and Brazil. During these professional excursions, the Italian sculptor often has the opportunity to create monumental sculptures.
- Nests, Cocoons, Crysalises2,000 €4,700 €5,000 €5,000 €7,000 €3,000 €3,000 €3,300 €3,900 €3,700 €5,000 €5,800 €5,500 €6,000 €4,600 €4,000 €3,000 €3,600 €4,000 €4,400 €4,400 €
- From the abyss
Up & Down3,600 €
Between Sky and Sea5,000 €
Bad Seed3,600 €
Twin Star5,400 €
Fragment of an idea2,800 €
Déjà vu2,200 €
Blood in the earth4,800 €
Light Element3,000 €
Black Light3,000 €
- Monumental sculptures
Attraction & Contraction280,000 €
Start of evolution120,000 €
Cocoon (Monumental)200,000 €
Perpetual motion120,000 €