“I am a young medieval artist” states Caterina Voltolini. Deeply defined by her Italian cultural identity, she entertains a dialectic relationship with her heritage and the art of the past. She is especially intrigued by the painting of Italian artists such as Beato Angelico, Giotto, Piero della Francesca, as well as Gothic and Byzantine art, the richness of which both inspires and directs Voltolini’s work. Voltolini’s self-portraits reflect the ambiguous connection within her Italian heritage, fluctuating in empty spaces. The fragmented, decorative backgrounds (which often refer to ancient paintings) absorb the artist as if they are one. Recently she has started to use gold leaf in her paintings, readopting an old technique used by ancient masters, thus heightening the artist’s relationship to the past.
Voltolini completed an MA in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art and Design in 2013 and an MA Philosophical Sciences, Alamamter Studiorum University of Bologna in 2010; she also has a BA in Painting from the Academy of Fine Arts of Bologna. Recent exhibitions include: InaugurazioneONOFFParma, Parma, Biennal d’Art Jove, Acadèmia de Belles Arts de Sabadell Fundació Privada, Sabadell, Concerti Aperitivo, Sala della Loggia, Modena, Land!Terra!, Spazio Gerra, Reggio Emilia and Il meglio di SaturArte e SaturaPrize, Palazzo Stella, Genova and a solo exhibition in London, 2014.
What is it about Young Masters that you are most interested in?
The Young Masters Art Prize is one of the rare competitions strictly connected to the art of the past. It explicitly recognizes the importance of artistic tradition and the history of art, which I consider essential for artistic creation.
Can you explain to us what your work is about?
My work is very personal and intimate. It is about my feelings, my anxiety and hanging in the void and nothingness. I am not sure I would be able to explain in a clear way, since I prefer to speak through images rather than words.
Which artist/s are you most inspired by?
Since I am an eclectic person, it is quite difficult to select just a few artists I am inspired by. The inspiration can be conceptual or aesthetic, and comprehends different thinkers who can be visual artists as well as writers, ancient as well as contemporary.
Can you tell us something about your background?
My education has been deeply important to the development of my artistic practice. Classical studies made me conscious of my cultural roots, which are fundamental to what I am (and, as a consequence, to what I do). By studying philosophy and aesthetics I approached art from a different perspective, more analytical and conceptual. That was essential to me, as it helped me to cope with some difficulties implied by being (trying!) an artist nowadays. The experience at Chelsea College of Arts was relevant too. Working with artists coming from all over the world and living in London, which is a fulcrum of energies, was exciting and stimulating; it also contributed to the development of my awareness of my personal and artistic identities.
What inspired you to become an artist?
I do not think there is a kind of epiphany in which you receive a call or inspiration, raising in you a decision to be an artist. It is a matter of timing. You simply do things, and you might realize that what you are doing might be art.
If you weren’t an artist what would you be?
Am I? I am not sure I am an artist… I can hope or believe I am an artist, but I will never know it! Anyway, I would be someone working in a creative capacity.
What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?
Deciding to directly deal with the many difficulties affecting an artist’s life was quite problematic. While studying philosophy of art I was harassing myself: challenging myself so hard, interiorising all problems involved and coming back to painting again was a kind of achievement. In terms of recognition, I think an artist will never speak about achievements, since being satisfied about your work is very rare. Although, the Young Masters is a great opportunity…
What are your plans for the future?
I will do my best to be at least a little bit satisfied with my work, always being honest and fair to myself. Intellectual purity is essential to me.