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Jago, THE Autodidact

Jacopo Cardillo (Italy,1987) is a multifaceted artist, but his favourite medium - indeed his natural inclination - is sculpture and his element is stone, from river-stone to the most precious marble in the world. He is defined by many as a ‘social artist’ because he makes public the moment in which he sculpts his works or perhaps it is more correct to say shares. Yes, because in the theme of sharing economy, art is also shared, both through the purchase of property shares, and thanks to the possibility of seeing how an artwork is born, how a block of squared marble is transformed into imperceptible folds, wrinkles, and imperfections that go to compose the skin of Jago's works.

Jago, from his Facebook page

At a young age he worked in Greece in Naxos, and in Italy between Rome and Verona. Starting from 2016, he helds courses in Italian, Chinese, and American schools, universities and academies. In 2018, Jago was invited to exhibit at BIAS, Biennale Internazionale di Arte Contemporanea Sacra e delle Religioni Dell'Umanità in Palermo. In 2019, in New York, he completed the Veiled Son, sculpting a block of Danby marble from Vermont. The work, inspired by the Veiled Christ by Giuseppe Sanmartino, represents a child lying covered by a veil. On December 21, the sculpture was placed at the Chapel of the Whites of the church of San Severo outside the walls, in the Sanità district of Naples and gifted to the population. At the age of 24, at a presentation of the art historian Maria Teresa Benedetti, he was selected by Professor Vittorio Sgarbi to participate in the 54th edition of the Venice Biennale, Italian Pavilion - Rome - Palazzo Venezia, where he exhibited the marble bust of the then Pope Benedict XVI (2009) for which he received the Pontifical Medal in the same year.

But 2013 Pope Benedict XVI abdicated and the young sculptor, looking at the works in his studio, realized he had to make a gesture and allow the bust of Pope Benedict XVI, until then called Habemus Papam, to finally return to Joseph Ratzinger. Jago took his tools and began to undress his work; he made a video that reached 9 million views in a very short time. From that moment the work, although carved in marble - a cold and immobile material - became Habemus Hominem.

The work was exhibited in Rome in 2018 in the Museo Carlo Bilotti in Villa Borghese, with a record number of visitors (with 3,500 only during the presentation). Jago's artistic research is rooted in techniques inherited from the masters of the Renaissance. In antithesis with the romantic idea of the bohemian artist, Jago is determined to give back to the category an entrepreneurial image, always maintaining a lively and direct relationship with the public through the use of social networks, with the sharing of videos that portray him at work, during a lecture, or intent on explaining the works of the great Masters of the past.

In 2019, on the occasion of ESA's Beyond mission, European Space Agencies, Jago was the first artist to send a marble sculpture to the International Space Station. The sculpture, entitled "The First baby", depicts the fetus of a child, and will return to earth in February 2020 under the custody of the mission leader, Luca Parmitano. Jago has also held solo exhibitions at institutions such as the Crypt of the Basilica of SS. XII Apostoli (Rome), Fondazione Umberto Mastroianni (Arpino), Palazzo Doria Pamphilj (Rome) and Highline Stages (New York). On the night of November 5th, was placed in Naples, more precisely in Piazza del Pebliscito, a sculpture depicting a newborn baby crouching and nailed to the ground by a chain. The work is by sculptor Jago and is entitled ‘Lookdown’. The name of the sculpture resembles ‘lockdown’, the most used word in this historical period of pandemic, so it is a play on words. "The meaning of my work? Go and ask everyone who has been left chained up in their condition at this time”, said the artist Jago. Lookdown, he says, is "an invitation to 'look down' on the problems that afflict society and fear."

Today, Jago lives in New York, working between USA, China, and Italy; he has received numerous national and international awards such as the Pontifical Medal, awarded by Cardinal Ravasi on the occasion of the Pontifical Academies Award, Vatican City in 2010, the Pio Catel Prize in 2015, the Premio del pubblico Arte Fiera Bologna in 2017, the Gala de l'Art di Monte Carlo Award in 2013, and he has been invested as Mastro della Pietra (Master of the Stone) al Marmo Macc 2017. Sources:


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