See Gold Leaf and Hand-Gathered Stone Used to create Tokens of Love

They say that love never dies, and that timeless objects are ‘as old as the hills’. Appropriate, then, that Italian artist Caterina Rossato bases her ongoing series, “Wedding favors – Images of a love story” on mountain stone.

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After meeting “an amazing man” in 2015 who introduced her to mountains, a now indispensable part of her life and artistic practice, Caterina began to gather stones from the mountains she scaled and the paths by which she got there. They are taken back to her home in a small village near Veneto, Italy, where they are painstakingly dipped in gold leaf; each becomes a token of her and her partner’s love.

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The gold leaf application can take anything up to 6 hours for the larger stones, beginning with 2-3 layers of gold leaf, and finishing off with a precision job to ensure that every nook and cranny is perfectly covered. Although visits to London provide a point of contact for contemporary life, “I am moved by what cannot be seen. I look for images of those variables of reality that have not occurred, of which we just perceive only faded interferences.” Inevitably, this draws her back to the unrivalled views offered by the Italian mountains.

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Caterina has been a fascinated student of piano for 16 years now, but has always been an artist at heart. “We waste so much time chasing an image of ourselves rather than trying to follow our nature,” she muses, and Caterina has followed her nature up into the mountains; we take a look at the prizes she brought back.

THE PLUS: What kicked off this series?
Caterina Rossato:
This series was born alongside a love story: I met an amazing man with a passion for mountains. All these stones are witness to the beauty and the weight of choices made in the name of love.

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TP: The series is partly called ‘Wedding Favors’; do you have plans to use these as wedding favours at a future date?
CR:
These stones, like wedding favours, are born as witnesses to a love story, and of a search for new horizons linked to it. I do not rule out the possibility that they might become true wedding favours.

TP: So it’s more metaphorical than literal?
CR:
My work never has a definite meaning, It drifts towards an area not yet defined. I’m interested in this “going to”.

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TP: We’ve seen gold leaf in your work before, what do you like about using this material?
CR:
Gold leaf hides and reflects at the same time. I am fascinated by this capacity to create a point that the gaze never fails to focus on.

TP: These are very stylised images – do you consider this to be as much a photography project as it is a sculptural project?
CR:
Probably it will become both; this is still a work in progress. I would like to install this work on the wall, to be considered as a hypothetical horizon, but it could be interesting to install it in a new way every time.

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TP: You do a lot of detailed handcraft – have you always been good with your hands?
CR:
Since childhood I have made a lot of handcraft: every weekend my mother allowed me to turn the kitchen table into a lab, and all the neighbourhood kids came to carry out experiments at my house.

TP: What do you like about working with your hands?
CR:
I’m happy in the dimension of action. I cannot sit still.

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TP: How does your life relate to your art? Are you conscious of the overlap?
CR:
I believe that art has to do with existence, it is a “modus vivendi”, there are no separations.

TP: What else is inspiring you at the moment?
CR:
I am interested in tarot cards, in their ability to synthesize countless readings in an image.

TP: Your top tip for getting past creative block?
CR:
Do not call it creative block, and do not try to overcome it with thought: creativity is an active dimension.

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