Thursday Salute to Originals: Wire Figures

Wire: such a mundane object we might see in a toolbox, an industrial drawer, or on the backs of our picture frames. While it has been used to hang our art pieces in our home or workplace for years, the artworks of Roberto Fanari suggest that wire may serve an entirely opposite purpose; instead of a hidden function, wire becomes (or suggests) the art itself.

Fanari is an Italian artist who carefully constructs life-size sculptures of both animals and people. However, what is so unique about all of his sculptures is the fact that they are completely comprised of iron wire. The wire, which varies in size and weight as it is weaved to create the figures, is molded meticulously to depict his vision of each artwork. While some sculptures are almost completely hollow in appearance, there are some pieces that are completely, or almost entirely, filled in with wire.

Fanari describes his work as the “Equilibrium between full and empty, black and white, line and (non)colour. In my sculptures I use iron rods as the painter uses the line in order to define a volume on a biplanar canvas; here the line is also the physical support which draws and occupies the space giving shape to the volume.”

The wire resembles that of a pencil stroke, which can help explain why some pieces have fewer wires than others. Fanari’s pieces each tell their own story. For example, the faces of his human-like subjects appear unfinished – almost ghostly – due to their intentional lack of density. In comparison, areas like thighs or stomachs may display a heavier variation of wires to suggest mass. His varying style of wire placements allows the artworks to become more lively and animated than any typical sculpture.

This week we salute Roberto Fanari for taking wire, a common substance, and elevating it to the realm of art. His work can be described as “wholly unfinished”, leaving the viewer to fill in the missing pieces of these wire sketches.

Sources: Roberto Fanari, This is Colossal, Creators