Into the Wood: Bruno Walpoth | Lecture Report

As Bruno Walpoth’s exhibition Mute Encounters in CAFA Art Museum (CAFAM) began in March, the artist himself gave a lecture at the lecture hall at CAFAM. The lecture was presented by Professor Lv Pinchang, director of the Department of Sculpture at CAFA. Professor Zhang Wei and Professor Xiao Li at CAFA also joined a dialogue with Mr. Walpoth after his speech.

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Mr. Bruno Walpoth

Mr. Walpoth began his lecture by introducing his hometown Gröden, a fascinating mountain village surrounded by Dolomite Mountains in northern Italy and adjacent to Austria. The village is known for its wood sculpture tradition, from the earliest religious wood sculpture to the later developed wood toy industry that accept orders from the whole Europe. 

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Mr. Walpoth's hometown

Mr. Walpoth was born into a family of wood sculptors. From 19th to mid-20th century, religious wood sculpture gradually became an art form. A specialized wood sculpture school was also founded during that time. The religious wood sculptures were created in special studios, used by artisans who pass on their skills from generation to generation. Mr Walpoth’s grandfather and uncle were both wood sculptors. Of course, Bruno Walpoth also grew up and apprenticed in one of these studios. Uninterested in religious sculpture, Mr. Walpoth went to study at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste München in Germany.

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Bruno Walpoth's uncle

During his years there, Mr. Walpoth avoided using wood as sculpting material deliberately, but three years later he realized he must go back to wood. In 1980s, realistic works was outdated. It was abstract art or conceptual art that was popular, but Mr. Walpoth’s professor encouraged him to carry on his pursuit in figurative art, as the trend will return one day.

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In the end of his speech, Mr. Walpoth shared his two biggest inspirations with the audience: one is the art period from the Medieval time to the early Renaissance. He showed the audience picture of a bust by a sculptor from that time. He was lesser known than masters like Michelangelo and Da Vinci, but he had greater influence on Mr. Walpoth; the other is Antonello da Messina’s paintings, from which Mr. Walpoth could feel great spiritual impact.

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Mr. Walpoth concluded his speech by showing pictures of his works, along with background music created by his son, who was also present at the lecture hall.

 

After the lecture, Mr. Walpoth had a dialogue with Prof. Lv Pinchang, Prof. Zhang Wei and Prof. Xiao Li on the stage. Prof. Zhang said he was deeply touched by Mr. Walpoth’s sharing, because as a professor of Department of Sculpture, he saw a lot of students and teachers thinking of sculpting bodies as a commonplace and basic training. But in fact, it is not enough to just learn some techniques or modeling skills from the practice, and it is even wrong to only pursue a different visual appearance.

Mr. Walpoth replied by praising CAFA’s Department of Sculpture. He visited the department one day before the lecture, and recalled his youth time as he saw students practicing sculpting with human figures. It was how they used to study sculpture, but many fine art academies in Europe today have abandoned this tradition. On the other hand, Mr. Walpoth saw a trend that today’s students have the wish of going back to realistic traditions.

Mr. Walpoth added that the study of body figures and forms are utterly important to him, and raised his expression to an unprecedented level. However, he also warned that it is his personal path, and every artist should have his or her own path, and find his or her own language out of their inner pursuit. It is meaningless to blindly follow any trend.

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Mr. Zhang also asked a question for sculpture students - while it is within reason to either meticulously or coarsely make a sculpture, how should one grasp the sense of propriety?

Mr. Walpoth responded by sharing his own experience, noting that the key to judging a good work is not its details, but the emotions the sculptor wants the work to express. It is important for a sculptor to decide when to stop sculpting. He believes that the best working status is when he can’t feel the time passing.

Regarding the white pigments he stained his work, Mr. Walpoth revealed that the whiteness will completely change the sculpture’s expressivity, bringing a completely new perspective to him - absolutely different from the work he observed during sculpting. That’s how he could jump out of his stereotype and re-examine his work.


Time: March 7, 2019

Venue: Lecture Hall, CAFA Art Museum

Speaker: Bruno Walpoth

Presenter: Prof. Lv Pinchang, Director of the Department of Sculpture, CAFA

Guests: Prof. Zhang Wei at CAFA, Prof. Xiao Li at CAFA


| Lecture Photos |

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Related exhibitions

Mute Encounters - Bruno Walpoth

2019-03-05~2019-05-04

Bruno Walpoth is known as one of the greatest wood sculptors in the 21st century and is a master of wood carving regarded as a national treasure in Italy. He was born in Gröden in northern Italy and began his apprenticeship at the age of 14 at a locally recognized wood carving workshop. Then, he enr... More

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Article I

This event was organized on the principles of fairness, impartiality, and voluntary participation and withdrawal. Participants undertake all risk and liability for themselves. All events have risks, and participants must be aware of the risks related to their chosen event.

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Event participants undertake all liability for their personal safety during the event, and event participants are encouraged to purchase personal safety insurance. Should an accident occur during an event, persons not involved in the accident and the museum do not undertake any liability for the accident, but both have the obligation to provide assistance. Event participants should actively organize and implement rescue efforts, but do not undertake any legal or economic liability for the accident itself. The museum does not undertake civil or joint liability for the personal safety of event participants.

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During the event, event participants should respect the order of the museum event and ensure the safety of the museum site, the artworks in displays, exhibitions, and collections, and the derived products. If an event causes any degree of loss or damage to the museum site, space, artworks, or derived products due to an individual, persons not involved in the accident and the museum do not undertake any liability for losses. The event participant must negotiate and provide compensation according to the relevant legal statutes and museum rules. The museum may sue for legal and financial liability.

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(1) Party A is the portraiture rights holder in this agreement. Party A voluntarily licenses its portraiture rights to Party B for the purposes stipulated in this agreement and permitted by law.

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(2) Forms of Use. For use in CAFA’s publications, products with CDs, and promotional materials.

(3) Geographical Scope of Use

The applicable geographic scope is global.

The media in which the portraiture may be used encompasses any media that does not infringe upon Party A’s portraiture rights (e.g., magazines and the internet).

III. Term of Portraiture Rights Use

Use in perpetuity.

IV. Licensing Fees

The fees for images bearing Party A’s likeness will be undertaken by Party B.

After completion, Party B does not need to pay any fees to Party A for images bearing Party A’s likeness.

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(1) All matters not discussed in this agreement shall be resolved through friendly negotiation between both parties. Both parties may then sign a supplementary agreement, provided it does not violate any laws or regulations.

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(3) This agreement exists in paper and electronic forms. The paper form is made in duplicate, with Party A and Party B each retaining one copy with the same legal efficacy.

Event participants implicitly accept and undertake all the obligations stated in this agreement. Those who do not consent will be seen as abandoning the right to participate in this event. Before participating in this event, please speak to your family members to obtain their consent and inform them of this disclaimer. After participants sign/check the required box, participants and their families will be seen as having read and agreed to these terms.

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