With the material I use, the old tiles of kitchens and bathrooms, I aim to evoke at first a certain familiarity. To straight away disrupt it with an unexpected drama, a tension of forces that out of the blue takes the observer away from such familiarity. Through the fractures and folds, that with calibrated care I apply to ceramics, I aim to bring to the surface the restlessness underlying the inhabited spaces of everyday life, giving voice to it.
And at the moment I manage to provide smoothness and dynamic to a material that is usually static and stiff, I feel that, like a modern demiurge, I can restore a balance between what aims to express itself and what is trapped in a cage, between what only potentially is and what eventually is.
Graziano Locatelli was born in 1977 near Bergamo, and is attracted to art since childhood. Self-taught he soon starts to test assembling techniques with “poor art” materials, such as aluminium and broken glass.
Since the start of his career his works are three-dimensional, something inbetween pictures and sculptures.
He develops a strong attraction for broken objects and ruins, often encountered in his trips in the isolated mountain villages near his home. Gashes and fractures fascinate him and become a leitmotiv in his work. His artworks recall abandoned spaces: previously settings of family life, and later places only inhabited by memories, ghosts and troubled dreams. In those places, what most strucks the artist is the expressive power of broken tiles and walls. And actually, common ceramic tiles of home kitchens and bathrooms soon become his design signature and trademark.
His first works with this material are dated 2005. The first one, Nascita, is a woman’s torso bursting out of a wall,. From now on, and for years, Locatelli experiments the perfect mix of cement and glue, studying all the possible combinations of such materials. Up until he elaborates a very special technique of ceramic breakage, albeit never abandoning aluminium. The latter no longer appears on the face of his works, but remains as a stuctural basis. The skeleton around which his ceramics crumble.
His tiles explode. They break like tiles of a mosaic, giving birth to a new reality. By doing so, he frees himself from captivity, escaping from a flat mediocrity.
Locatelli reinteprets bas-relief in a modern way, making the human emerge from rubble and destruction. Tiled walls become the privileged background of the violence inflicted on them. A violence which is however never accidental, nor brutal. His fractures are intense and precise. It is the precision of an ancient engraver, who transfers his thoughts and feelings on the surface of his ceramics. Through his gashes Locatelli leads the observer to a dimension where plains alter and mix. And where, in the chaos of the modern world, the fragmented self seems to find a new meaning.
In 2006 Locatelli moves to Rome and for about ten years he moves back and forth between the Italian capital and Milan, where he currently lives and works. In Rome are his first solo exhibitions, and his contribution to the MACRO – Rome’s Museum of Contemporary Art (2013).
Returned to Milan on a stable basis, he devotes himself almost exclusively to his first piece of land art in the countryside of northern Italy. In 2017 he accomplishes Demiurgo's House, a mantle of fragmented tiles, which follows the natural curves of ground and trees. In this piece Locatelli expresses his utmost drama, not in a heartbreaking way though, but by fostering both an intimate and intense dialogue with the observer, and a symbiotic relationship with nature. A silent speech in which Locatelli manages to express in a poetic way, what is ineffable, capturing whoever cares to listen.
In the following years he develops a minimalist style, gradually abandoning polychromism in favor of black and white. This change further enhances the originality of his work.
His extraordinary craftsmanship allows him to communicate on a subliminal level. His works encompasses layers of different tales and feelings, innovating ceramic sculptural techniques with a unique style, which is recognisable at first sight.
His works have been appreciated and shared around the world for about ten years (lately also by Banksy and the London Saatchi Gallery). .
At the end of 2018 his name was included in AD – Architectural Digest among the highlights of the year.