Christian Bolt’s "The nature of things" at Marmomac 2017

Lasa Marmo: a wonderful stone in the hands of a great sculptor

Not only in ground and polished form but also as a roughly hewn rock: marble has always played a leading role both in sophisticated architecture and in the design of exclusive commodities. The great sculptors have also preferred to use the aesthetic power of marble since antiquity. "It is the beauty of the mountain, the visible history of the stone and the power of nature, which make each piece of marble so unique."

The beauty of the mountain and the unique power of nature

"It is our task to make this beauty, this power and this tranquility visible, to preserve it and integrate it into present-day architecture and culture. This is the true art of marble quarrying and processing. We treat the age and the tradition of this fascinating material with respect and recognize its possibilities in the innovation provided by modern architecture and advanced design", says Dr. Paul Graf, Managing Director of Lasa Marmo - Lasa per l'industria del Marmo Ltd..

In order to sound out this ambivalence of tradition and innovation in material and processing once again, Lasa Marmo and the Swiss sculptor Christian Bolt have embarked on a common path: today, we witness the advent of state-of-the-art manufacturing technologies in architecture and design. This is also true for the processing of the tradition-steeped marble. But how does this relate to art? How does the sculpturing craft trade react? Is it really possible for the hand of the artist and the stone carver to be replaced by a machine?

On a day in early summer, a male figure, mechanically created from Lasa marble and based on a design by Christian Bolt, arrives in the studio. Bolt, Professor for Sculpture at the illustrious and tradition-rich Accademia delle Arti del Disegno in Florence, examines the sculpture, which in part has been deliberately only roughly developed and elsewhere developed in detail. There is no doubt. The machine can indeed do it. However: as if he would only see it with his hands, he walks round the figure at a distance and begins to trace the contours in empty space. Here and there, he pauses and seems, in his mind, to be already positioning the chisel.

Prof. Christian Bolt and Lasa Marmo: On the path to the nature of things

He begins to understand the material, follows its natural grain and – in dialogue with the stone – he analyses the artistic possibilities and the potential of the marble. Bolt calls this intellectual and manual process “la genesi della forma" (the genesis of the form). It is the moment that the idea, material and artistic process all become one. The form and motif should emerge from the material by the hand of the sculptor. In late summer, following several weeks of intensive work, the result is presented as follows. Introverted yet striking both in form and posture, a male figurine, composed in great detail in sculptural splendor, appears to emerge from the marble that is in part only roughly hewn in the area of the legs and plinth, where it seems to embody a peculiar palpable force extending beyond the merely visible. And this, is turn, is the power of the sculptor’s hand: making perceptible that which is not visible. That act, to recognize the "nature of things", the nature of the material and transform it into an idea that can almost be physically experienced. And thus the common path undertaken together by Lasa Marmo and Christian Bolt, of rock extraction, machine and man, indicates the trail ahead: it is a question of recognizing a wonderful material in its characteristics, to make use of its natural beauty in architecture, industry, design and art and live the knowledge of the artisan tradition and technical innovation in harmony and carry it forward into the future.

Christian Bolt’s masterpiece "The nature of things" formed the central focus of this year’s exhibition stand by the Lasa Marmo Ltd. at Marmomac in Verona. See also our own article.

Photos: Klemens Werner I powerstation-studios