Bruno Walpoth is represented by numerous galleries in Europe and Asia and has participated in solo and group exhibitions around the world. Born in 1959, in Bressanone, Italy, schooled in Ortisei, where he now lives, in a 350-year-old house formerly belonging to his parents. Walpoth grew up in a renowned woodcarving culture and has continued in the footsteps of his family members who themselves were master artisans. He writes: “In our valley there is a 400-year-old tradition of wood-sculpting culture. Both my grandfather and my uncle were wood sculptors, and so I grew up with this medium.” At age 14, Bruno began his apprenticeship in woodcarving, under the tutelage of Vincenzo Mussner, embracing the ancient woodcarving traditions of the region in the Dolomites famous for wooden statues and altars, as well as for the wooden peg dolls local craftsmen produce. He then attended the Munich Academy of Fine Arts, where he expanded the theoretical base of his work.

His work today possesses both an animate as well as a deeply timeless quality: “his statues are not objects, rather almost animate creations with souls, their feelings bare for the viewer to see.” “Distancing himself from the religious woodcarving tradition of his homeland, he treads upon a new path, breathing life into matter; wood in his hands transcends the confines of the inanimate, it becomes alive and the viewer, like a modern Pygmalion, becomes entranced by the warmth and intimacy of wood.” In this context, while he is a most appropriate model himself for the woodcarver Geppetto of the Pinocchio tale by Carlo Collodi, Walpoth created the wooden sculpture used in Matteo Garrone’s 2019 film version of the story, featuring Roberto Benigni as the carver.

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    Photography Credit: Sarah Slade
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