Ambra Castagnetti creates sculptures, videos, installations, and performances driven by the desire to transform our relationship to our own bodies and to the beings that surround us. For Castagnetti, catharsis facilitates metamorphosis, and the artist believes that action and active embodiment are the most effective ways to break through the limitations of identity. For The Milk of Dreams, Castagnetti realises Dependency (2022), a series of sculptures topped in brushed aluminium like operating tables; on them lie ceramic serpents and a Medusa-like head, piled like discarded scientific specimens. Hanging on the wall we find wearable sculptures to be donned by performers in an event that straddles BDSM bondage and an ancient interspecies ritual. For the work, Castagnetti is driven by anthropologist Nancy Scheper-Hughes’ concept of “mindful body” and the Paleolithic belief in “fluidity,” the concept that humans, animals, plants, and other living entities could transform in shape between one another. For the artist, the body has no fixed identity, but rather is constituted in any single moment by environmental, social, and political circumstances.
Ambra Castagnetti is one of the four recipients of the grant for the inaugural edition of the Biennale College Arte, launched in 2021. Participation out of competition.