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The Italian Artist Cesare Catania

Cesare Catania: the Artist of the Future

0 1 1 0 0 0 1 …. even art today is made with numbers, or rather… with bits… This is the direction that the world of contemporary art is taking, an art that has changed more in the last 100 years than it changed in the previous 1000. We live in an era in which we wonder whether artificial intelligence will be able to replace many jobs, including that of the artist. And Cesare Catania, an Italian artist, knows it well that when others paint, he sculpts, when others sculpt he moves on to digital art, when others discover digital art he “jumps” to phygital sculpture. An artist who always looks to the future, and who, thanks to his solid artistic and cultural background, is capable of exploring the different facets of art as few can do. Multifaceted in expression and often fond of recurring themes (The Embrace, the Heart of the Earth, Harlequin, are some of his fixed points) he revisits the works over the years, letting himself be inspired by recurring feelings and elaborating them with techniques that not only to the test for the vast experimentation that characterizes his production path but which amaze international critics for the multitude of expressive means that accompany his creativity.

A Multifaceted Artist 

Born in Milan in 1979, he developed his love for art in a self-taught way. The classical course of studies of the scientific high school trains him on a solid and structured cultural basis. The engineering faculty teaches him to “solve problems” with his own head and to break down the surrounding reality into simple polygonal figures, both characteristics that give added value to his art, both pictorial and sculptural. And then there’s it… digital art… the one that initially intrigues him and attracts him for a mere educational purpose, to try to better explain his cubist and informal art paintings to art lovers. A digital artistic expression which for Cesare Catania soon becomes an expressive means independent of others, capable of exciting simply for what it shows without having to have any connection with the physical works except for the idea that develops them and for the continuum with his artistic journey. Once this autonomy of digital art is understood, when the Italian artist fuses the physical and digital worlds in phygital art he does so with the awareness of someone who knows what he is doing, someone who understands that the conjunction of the two worlds is the the art of the future. With this belief he created the Phygital sculpture entitled The Embrace Phy Version in 2024, a physical sculpture which, thanks to Augmented Reality, is capable of arousing emotions and feelings in the viewer that otherwise physical sculpture alone would not be able to convey.

The Embrace Phy Version

The Embrace Phy Version

The Embrace Phy Version and Democratic Art

This is the first true phygital work created by Cesare Catania, a work that starts from his ability to create physical sculptures and his ability to create digital art and NFTs. 

The Embrace Phy Version is presented as a world premiere this year at the Venice Biennale, inside a national pavilion as an official work of art.

“With this sculpture I wanted to test myself on different fronts: first of all I wanted to create a work that united two worlds that today are still disjointed: the physical one and the digital one. In a not too distant future, when the devices are ready, we will in fact live in a single phygital world, both in the field of art and in all other sectors” explains Cesare Catania. “I then wanted to create a work of art that was as democratic as possible, something that not only moved but also entertained. Contemporary art is often seen by many with a sort of awe, almost as if the fact of not fully understanding it must somehow block the flow of emotions that it provokes in them. The fact of being able to come into contact with a sculpture both in the physical world and in augmented reality allows visitors to the Venice Biennale to literally play with my work, making the process of enjoying art fun and democratic.” This is what Cesare Catania explains to us, appointed in 2023 as the only ambassador in the World of National Hugging Day for his “Embrace Project” and for his ability to make contemporary art universal and democratic.

And so far it seems that what the Italian painter and sculptor has done is something innovative. This would have been enough to make us satisfied with his work… but no… Catania also wanted to amaze everyone with the development of a software, developed thanks to artificial intelligence, which allows all art lovers to sculpt their own sculpture of the Hug in a personal and digital way. In practice, every user, from the comfort of their smartphone, can create their own personalized “Embrace” by choosing from countless materials and a multitude of settings, then exporting the final image in HD and co-signing the work together with the artist. “True democratic art for me is not just public art, art that everyone can see, but it is art that everyone can create. Giving each of us the opportunity to enter the production process means making the process of creating and enjoying art 100% democratic.” continues Catania.

And Catania believes so firmly in the power of art as a means of democratic communication that it recently drafted the first “Manifesto of Democratic Art”, a writing that summarizes in a few points the main objectives of those who decide to create or support an art that is among the main Its objectives are to be accessible, engaging and inclusive.

The Future of Digital Art and NFTs

Master of digital art, Cesare Catania has created several collections of NFTs, all mined regularly under blockchain. “Right now, making a simple NFT seems like a pure exercise in style to me. I don’t criticize those who do it, but as far as my artistic path is concerned at the moment it’s a bit reductive. I prefer to develop themes that have both a physical and digital impact at the same time.” Thus explains the visionary Italian artist, according to whom the future of NFTs is destined to merge with the reality that surrounds us. “The NFT as we understand it today will no longer have any reason to exist in a world where physical reality and digital reality will be inextricably linked. Today the NFT is a digital production, an idea, a vision… and the Metaverse is the world of fantasy. When devices are ready for mass diffusion, then NFT and Metaverse will be outdated concepts, no longer distinguishable from what we see every day in the physical world.” Thus concludes Cesare Catania, what we could certainly define as a true artist of the future.

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