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Silvano Cattaï:

Into the light

8 February 2023 | 34 minutes

Silvano Cattaï was born in Belgium, of Italian parentage and came to be an artist in Italy by way of making films in New York. After years in sculpture he finally came back to painting, but this time with a sculptural angle, using a plasma gun and paint on aluminium.

Silvano Cattaï, 2022

Silvano’s studio houses his powerful plasma equipment and protective gear. On the walls are metal-working tools and shelves filled with tubes of oil paints. Around the studio are neatly stacked rows of aluminium sheets.

Silvano applying paint

Rack holding work on aluminium sheets

Silvano mixed his own colours and worked in sculpture in Pietrasanta for many years until he came full circle back to art, this time using the plasma torch at the same time as paint, making sweeping cuts on aluminium plates.

Silvano Cattaï, Trees, 2022, aluminium and paint on aluminium, 120 × 120 cm

When making sculpture, Silvano became dependent on other people, but coming back to painting allowed a more instinctive approach and freed him up to work by himself. Now unencumbered, Silvano finds painting provides the freedom he craved to express himself and to do what pleases him.

Silvano Cattaï, Mountain (work in progress), 2022, paint on aluminium, 120 × 120 cm

Silvano's studio and garden overlooks the mountain opposite

Silvano’s garden has myrtle bushes burgeoning with berries, persimmon, lemon and olive trees – all plump with fruit. The view is dominated by the peak of the mountain opposite, with the quarries and their familiar lines of mining scars.

Thanks to Gail Skoff for this collaboration and for the fantastic photographs of Silvano.

All photos by Gail Skoff: –


Producer: Sarah Monk

Sound edit and design: Mike Axinn
Music: all courtesy of Audio Network
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