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Inside the Studio: Andrea Borga

Andrea Borga, an artist deeply rooted in the tradition of metalworking, has an inspiring journey that intertwines craftsmanship with creativity. From a young age, Andrea's fascination with metal evolved from a professional pursuit into a passionate artistic endeavor. His story is a testament to the transformative power of art and the relentless pursuit of personal expression. In this interview, we delve into Andrea's experiences, inspirations, and unique approach to sculpture. Read on to learn more in an exclusive interview with Andrea Borga:


1. Can you tell us about your early experiences in the metalworking sector and how they influenced your decision to pursue sculpture?

I approached the metalworking sector at the age of seventeen when I began to work in a blacksmith's shop in my hometown, after a course of professional studies. The first approaches with the material made me understand that it is possible to interact with metal in multiple and different ways. I also understood that I could create not only structural products but also express emotions and impulses, just like a painter does on a canvas. From here, my curiosity and subsequent investigation into elementary metals were born. My studies initially engaged me in the evening hours (and often until late at night) in what was my very first laboratory.

Andrea Borga

2. How did your work in the intimacy of your laboratory help you find your own artistic identity?

Aware of what metal really means to me, I decided to find my own place, an intimate place where I could establish a true dialogue with what I like to define as an "iron love." That's how I got my first workbench, some equipment, a welding machine, an anvil, and some hammers in the garage at home. Here, at the end of exhausting working days, I began to give voice to my creativity. And I did it with a probably questionable technique, sometimes far from school teachings and the indications of my expert employer. But this technique was all mine, and for me, it had a purely expressive purpose aimed at aesthetic beauty. Here is where I felt truly free and began to realize my personal artistic style.

Andrea Borga - In the laboratory

3. What were some of your first works, and how did they reflect your inspirations from nature?

I was born and live in Italy among the Dolomites of Trentino, in a small mountain village surrounded by lakes, woods, and prairies, far from the frenzy of the big cities. It is from this bucolic context, marked by quiet and slow rhythms, that I draw my first inspirations. I began to sculpt mostly natural subjects such as flowers, plants, and animals.

Royal Rooster Sculpture (22 W x 62 H x 53 D cm)

4. How did your time in the United States, France, and Switzerland influence your approach to sculpture, particularly in relation to the human form?

I have always been attracted to diversity: of thought, habits, bodies, ways of moving, and looks. From here, my first studies were born in relation to the human form and the concomitant need to travel to expand my research pool. I therefore moved from dealing with the reality of my small village that has the great values ​​that raised me but is mostly static, to that of the big cities with their variety of habits, customs, and approaches to life. These experiences represent my essential source of artistic and personal stimulation and enrichment.

Nel vuoto - Hanging Sculpture (39.9 W x 162.1 H x 33 D cm)

5. You primarily work with iron, stainless steel, and corten steel. What draws you to these materials, and how do they contribute to the themes and aesthetics of your work?

As mentioned previously, I come from an artisan metal carpentry background, so metal has always been the material I deal with. Subsequently, I tried to start sculpting, almost for fun or as a challenge. So it all started as a profession, but now it's a necessity and I can't think of doing anything else with my life. What attracts and fascinates me is mainly the fact that such a hard and apparently unmoldable material can actually be shaped and becomes a real vehicle of emotions. 6. Your artist statement mentions a "dialogue" with the material. Can you describe a specific project where this dialogue significantly influenced the final outcome?

The dialogue mentioned in my artist statement is nothing more than the result of a strong awareness assimilated in over twenty years of work. As much as I persist in imposing myself on the metal, forging it, beating it, welding it, it will dictate the last movement, contracting and reacting to my stimuli, deciding how to define the last detail. I could not describe a single specific project in which this dialogue influenced the final result because t.his process of mutual exchange comes to life during the creation of each of my individual works. 7. You use chemical or physical processes to finish your materials, avoiding paints to maintain aesthetic integrity. Can you explain these processes and why preserving the material's natural qualities is important to you?

I am very fascinated by the natural shades of color that the metal takes on during its processing. When forged, the shades take on a dark gray, almost black color. Polishing it makes the surface shiny gray and the metal so smooth that it can be mirrored. The characteristic oxidation of corten steel makes it look like clay instead. All these finishes, in my opinion, are the narrative of my work, which becomes so unrepeatable as it is the product of just my hands. For me, covering the metal with paints would mean hiding the sculptural path. Although for many artists paint is a fundamental element to guarantee the preservation of the work, I am completely in favor of the idea that as time goes on the metal can change in color and porosity. It is a dialogue, and I like to think that it never ends completely. 8. You define yourself as a fusion of a blacksmith and an artist. How do you balance the technical skills of metalworking with the creative aspects of sculpture in your practice?

I define myself as a fusion between blacksmith and artist because I use the same techniques and tools that the blacksmith uses in the construction of a gate, a fence, or a staircase. I would not be able to express my art without the technique and experience that I have accumulated in the complex field of metalworking. However, as a blacksmith, I began an evolution, a personal research, an inner journey that leads me every day to express art in metal. 9. Given that you often cannot predict the final result of your work, can you share an instance where the material's response led to a surprising or particularly meaningful outcome?

There is a work whose response surprised me the most because it has stubbornly persevered in maintaining its material identity. It is called "Balloon Girl," a tribute to the famous work of the writer Banksy. My intent was to reproduce the background of the famous mural, characterized by a cerulean blue color. To do this, I used specific acids that would attack the galvanized surface of the iron sheet I had selected. The procedure was partially successful, however, after a few days the surface took on a completely different shade, changing into a gray color with dark tones. The result was surprising to me, as it gave my work a new interpretation providing the viewer with further interpretative stimuli.

Balloon Girl Sculpture (40 W x 57 H x 0.5 D cm)

10. What are you currently working on, and are there any new techniques or themes you are excited to explore in your upcoming projects?

The theme I am approaching in some of my latest projects is consumerism, a phenomenon that I find cross-cutting as it characterises industrialised societies but is also present in developing countries. A theme that therefore unites, no matter what socio-economic-cultural background we have. In this regard, I mention my "The Apple is Delicious" series, an ironic-conceptual work intended to be a real provocation on the topic. I am also investigating metals that are less known to me, including copper and brass. The dialogue is not yet up to par with them and they could be included in my upcoming sculptures..

The apple is delicious Sculpture (20.8 W x 42.9 H x 18.8 D cm) The apple is delicious #2 Sculpture (23.9 W x 48.8 H x 23.9 D cm)

Andrea Borga's journey is a profound example of how traditional craftsmanship can evolve into a rich, expressive art form. His ability to communicate emotions through metal is a testament to his skill and dedication, continuously pushing the boundaries of what is possible in sculpture. Keep an eye on Andrea's upcoming projects as he continues to explore new themes and materials, bringing his unique vision to life.


You can learn more about Andrea Borga and his work via these links: Website: Saatchi Art: Instagram: andreaborga.85


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