Italiano (Italian)

This column will present twice a month a historical figure of Italian Fiber Art, present in the book Fiber Art Italiana. I Pionieri.

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*Featured photo: Silenzio (1999-2000). Cristiano Bianchin

Cristiano Bianchin was born in Venice in 1963, where he graduated in painting at the Academy of Fine Arts with Emilio Vedova. He was twice awarded the five-year scholarship for young Venetian artists sponsored by the “Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa,” at which he held his first solo exhibition in 1987. In his artistic career he alternates between graphic, pictorial and textile production and glass.

Cristiano Bianchin is a refined and complex artist, expressing himself through drawing, glass and weaving, often combining the different techniques. It was during high school that he learned to knit with rough hemp yarns, like a slow mantra in which the stitches are repeated one after the other in absolute, meditative silence, with which, towards the end of the 1980s, he produced a series of works, working the raw fiber with long steel needles: the alternation of straight and reverse stitches draws the surfaces and the subsequent drum stretching makes them compact. His subjects are reflections on the body, carnality, pain and death, set in a perception of suspended and motionless time. The forms take on the appearance of religious symbols of passing and suffering: small crosses, tiny shrines, shrouds, anonymous and dull bodies, emptied of vitality, devoid of personality and color, placed in the center of little theaters, representing icy rites of death. As in: Piccolo sacello (1988) in which a black stucco body is laid on a hemp sheet awaiting burial and in Simulacro, from the same year, where a black body is contained in a hemp urn.

An interest in early Christian culture and its symbols is the basis for a series of installations that have as their subject the Greek cross, knitted with red hemp, cushion-padded and illuminated by small green glass drops with silver leaf. Crosses that are then arranged in the center of a Romanesque architecture, relating to the space that contains them and creating a visual, symbolic and conceptual path. In the 1990s the works become larger and take on the appearance of large panels, animated by imperceptible and archaic presences, in: Veglia (1991) he reproduces the bas-relief of St. Simeon from the Venetian church of the same name, making it with a knit of coarse hemp yarn pulled through a drum, with which he achieves an outcome of astonishing perfection in the grain of the surface. In: Lare (1993) hemp shapes the blessing Roman deity, whose fixed, eerie gaze is lit by glassy globes applied as eyes. Sedia (1993), on the other hand, is a wooden armchair with a red hemp seat, on which a swollen cross emerges.


In 1995 he developed the disturbing theme of the shadow, materialized in emptied figures that mark the transition between the living body and its simulacrum. As in: Prenditempo 1 and in Prenditempo 2 that look like films of bodies, inert silhouettes deformed by the sagging of the mesh, imprints of suffering and loss, chilled in pain. The artist explains that: “they represent the torment of not being able to grasp what is near: the shadow, which is an image that guards us, that changes position, that is looked at but not touched and cannot be captured, makes one think of death. A death as total nothingness, in which the shadow marks the transition between the body and nothingness.” In Braccia (1995) Bianchin weaves the skin of long arms emptied of flesh, like the wrappings of an abandoned body, and says, “The hands that weave and at the same time are woven are like the emptied armor I saw as a child and that instilled fear in me, without there being any warrior in them (…). It is something to do with my sense of soul, an emptied soul.”

CRISTIANO BIANCHIN-Perditempo-Braccia-1995

Valuable is the series of Nidi (Nests) in which he wraps elegant and precious faceted glass objects in the shape of capsule-seeds, whose meticulous closure he also works on; then he scatters the objects on a bed of peat, as if they were disclosed plant creatures. In the new millennium, the large Rosone, Intervallo (1999-2000) magnifies the religious symbolism of an architectural detail, while in Silenzio (1999-2000) he seems to find peace in the shrine of death, recently exhibited in L’Aquila (2023)

A cultured and tormented journey in which existential reflection is distilled and chilled.

CRISTIANO BIANCHIN-Rosone, Intervallo-2000

Renata Pompas

Renata Pompas è giornalista, saggista e docente; i suoi campi di interesse e applicazione sono: il Colore, il Textile Design e la Fiber Art. Ha lavorato come textile designer per la moda e per la casa, è stata direttore del corso Digital Textile Design ad Afol Moda dove ha insegnato progetto e colore. Ha tenuto lezioni e seminari in Università e Accademie in Italia e all'estero, ha organizzato seminari aziendali, corsi privati individuali e collettivi. Ha pubblicato diversi libri, articoli, testi in catalogo, relazioni in Convegni nazionali e internazionali.