Sabina Feroci

Sabina Feroci - working on "the red shirt"

Journeying from Stories, Stepping into Stories Once Again

I am not a super hero.

On each individual’s life journey, they may be obscured or unveiled by various ineffable choices. Once witnessing the artist pieces created for the world, the purity deep within one’s heart is drenched, akin to a sudden rain embraced by nature, returning to an untarnished realm. Fable-like works touch the inherent and innate innocence within individuals.

The reason for upholding kindness is quite simply a matter of choice.

This kindness, a magical power, is what I unearthed on my life journey after meeting Sabina in Paris fourteen years ago.

In our studio in central-northern Italy, we discussed her favorite piece and how it had assumed a fresh style. Those were fortunate days, as Tuscany revealed its enchanting beauty.

With my oriental perspective, I explained to Feroci, who hails from the Western world, the concept that appearance reflects the heart. Every reflection of life, stroke by stroke, etched onto our countenances through consciousness, is depicted faultlessly and without tolerance.

This appearance is a sacred gift bestowed by the heavens, mirroring the fragments and nuances of life.

Over the span of more than a decade observing the evolution of this artist’s style, Sabina Feroci has been attempting to immerse herself in art creation with simplicity and fluidity. She employs multiple layers of color description, symbolism, and mastery of form. Her aspiration is to be immersed in art, similar to her affection for wandering in the embrace of the Carrara Sea and the comforting warmth of nature.

The six series unveiled in her 2023 solo exhibition are: “Bassorilievi”, “Paper Jewelry”, “Busti”, “Portraits”, and “Ceramic Series”. They correspond respectively to animation, comics, collage, childhood, classical forms, and fable. These encompass the various forms that Feroci has drawn from her life experiences.

From written narratives to animated portrayals, contemporary media profoundly shapes people’s perceptions of the world and influences Feroci’s contemplation of the swift transformations in modern life. She approaches this with a query embedded in her artworks: What choices will your contemplation and decision-making yield?

From the familiar fables we knew from childhood, we learn how to face the world, acquiring stepping stones for our footing, like a toddler bravely embracing the perpetual unknown. Morality, honesty, conscience, good and evil, danger, courage, perseverance, and patience – all abstract concepts derived from stories – guide us towards our genuine life stories.

Sabina Feroci is a calm observer, sketching out images belonging to humanity. Amid diverse endeavors, she replicates image after image, juxtaposing inner self and physique—both real and surreal. What’s real is the artistic perspective, unexpectedly touches hearts, sometimes referred to as “emotion”. What’s surreal is the chronicle known as “memory”, existing in enigmatic obscurity. Only through the accumulation and settling of time’s flow, will these artistic creations ultimately resonate every heart and soul.

Written by Shiao Chia Chia in her art studio

Sabina Feroci animae mundi

The art by Sabina Feroci is that of sculpting emotions.

Her works are shaped by the hand of the artist and the savvy use of few materials: bale wire, paper, color. She creates ageless, universal human figures: unique creatures of their own, sometimes alone, some others in company. They communicate through a specific language: that of the body and of the soul.

The former is sometimes fixed, statue-like, unmovable; the latter is free, loose, so that the artist creates cinetic movements stretching the subject to the limit of its physical potential. In all of this there is a research for a language of the external body, mirroring that of the inner body.

Some of the sculptures by Feroci express levity, irony, they stare brazenly straight into our eyes, sticking their fingers in the nose, showing their chagrin; others express melancholy, sadness, waiting, silence, metaphysics, solitude, serenity. There is in the artist the wonderful and unique ability of representing the noblest and most uncommon feelings. The observer is not used to such harmony of form and thought combined; during the Greek eras, sculptures were meant to represent beauty through the harmony and proprotions of their shapes; then we have reached expressivity and physical dynamism, finally managing to describe the inner unrest and pain through the deformation of the body.

The sculptures by Sabina Feroci are free from spikes and sharp corners, they are not aggressive, anguished, they are aware of their own other reality, sublime, going beyond the pains and sufferings of existance: although aware of their reality, those pains are overcome both by the sweetness of the body features and shapes, smooth and sinous and by such feelings as love, tenderness, cherish, understanding, tied in, at times, to frivolous, peevish attitudes, such as being fickle, a little rude, disrespectful.

This shows us that Sabina Feroci’s creatures are essentially free, emancipated, untied by social rules, but at the same time are also strong and delicate, self-assured and determined, each with its own history, its own personality.

After the act of sculpting, ther is that of painting. The paper sculptures are colored in light, clear, delicate hues, carrying the weight of emotions, of feelings, making the work evanescent, immanent, suspended in a dreamy aura, where immateriality surpasses objectivity.

Paola Gennari

Intimate portraits Paper sculpturesb by Sabina Feroci

Sabina Feroci creates paper sculptures. The artist has built an intimate relationship with paper in the course of time, one of deep empathy and understanding. Beginning with illustration, to which she was drawn since childhood, always steadfast in her conviction over the course to be taken – her training and work in illustration – to the early experiences with Puppet theatre, paper has determined her creative and operative choices. The knowledge and exploration of the third dimension within this material while building stage props, puppets and scenes, has nurtured the birth of her early sculptures: made from paper, hence, a vivid material, palpable, that becomes precious due to the uniqueness of the works composed. They enclose the warmth of a scrupoulous work procedure, careful, loving. “It is exactly as if I was building a real person”, claims Sabina Feroci, “you have the skeleton, then the muscles and then the skin, the final paste”. A metal wire structure supports the figures, whose muscle system is created by newsprint; a wooden paste surrounds them in the fairness of a skin levigated by the action of the artist. Sabina feels the need to assign chromatic force to plastic vision: she completes the purity of the forms by “dressing” her figures and highlighting their features with magazines’ colored pages. Sabina Feroci shapes anthropormorphic characters, born-again puppets within the concreteness of a body. Freezing them within their sculpture volumes, she frees them from artistic functionality in order to gift them with the aesthetic one. These are the chatìracters from Sabina’s own novel: born from the observation of reality, reprocessed and deivered at the hands of the artist, they describe her vision of the world.
“Characters”, suggests Milan Kundera, “unlike human beings, are not born out of mother body, rather out of a situation, a phrase, a metaphor, containing a fundam,ental human possibility as within a shell”. In Sabina’s characters, this possibility is manifested in the synthesis of the souls encased within the human plasticity of the subjects. Her look as illustrator drives the attention to details, her sensitivity towards aspects of a character that get summarized by the irregularuty of its shapes. Sabina captures the essential. She recounts individualities. She tells of lonely characters, associated by the common awareness of their own loneliness. Their glance is neutral, their feelings multiple; the artist describes them “shaping” their attitudes: she models their personality, their inner tensions, she portrays their moods. She gives them a name remarking on the main features of each or highlighting the aspects capable of inducing to smile. Sabina surprises with the spontaneity of natural poses. She captures a thought. Aware of the isolation determinig their existance, her characters show up, each armed with its personality, in a world much bigger that they are and, with self-irony, they face it. We meet them in small sculptures, as well as in bigger ones, in celebrative busts and painted bas-relief. In comparison to earlier sculptures, which reminded of children scribbles with a crossreference to infantile language and the expressions of Art Brut, the more recent small ones, their characters undergoing a natural transformation. They seem to have grown up even by staying “small”: they have evolved, both in spirit and look. They seem more self-assured, now: hesitantingly, they advance in the world with conviction. They proceed with small steps as Quello calmo (The Quiet One), or as with Avanti avanti they venture with “temerary caution”, staggering on their skinny legs. Others yet, more suspicious, remain on the defensive, ready to face off anybody pestering them, as with Battebotte: lifted, clenched fists protecting his skinny arms. Also Battebotte 2, watching his back, quickly lifts up his fists. La posa, a boxer in red trunks, awaits his fight on his personal ring. Others yet contort themselves, lose their balance; others as La Sorpresa, make their pigtails fly while doing a spin; La gioiosa, with her arms stretched backwards seems ready to jump. The painted bas-relief and the most recent experiments on paper portray, among others, Mickey Mouse, Batman, a little donkey reminding of Collodi’s Pinocchio, a boxing fighter with his heavy gloves, a kid with an helmet: these are the characters of Sabina’s personal carnival, figures she is fond of, that have been with her for years. Sabina Feroci pays homage to her characters.
She erects busts to the uniqueness of their existences. With color she marks their features, underlines their audacity, flaunts their ordinary feats. With larger size sculptures, Sabina seizes moments of everyday reality: the more realistic features of the characters illustrate “small persons”, small women and men, keen on their concerns, abosrbed in deep thought, sometimes distracted by more futile considerations. A “small one”, L’Attesa, seated on a chair, kills time with her thoughts. Some turn around, curious, others stop suddenly, careful not to miss an important thought. A character remains with his nose up in the air, checking out the world “from the bottom up”, from his “privileged” point of view. In her latest works, the artist presents those beginning to experimet with their bodies, knowing its limits and trying to overcome them: then the characters contort themselves, flex, capsize, walk in a balancing act then fall down, sunk by the bitterness of life. Within Sabina’s works, weak bodies, refined lines of imperscrutable faces – as in Ritratti dell’anima (Soul portraits), small monochrome oil on canvas – enclose the depth of the soul. A surprising literary dimension surfaces in her creations: it tells of her characters and of the awareness of the limits of the human condition. In the subtle irony of a name, an attitude, an expression of the soul, the artist relieves the drama of existance. The poetic answer by Sabina is a light imprint, a precious whisper.
Federica Soldati