The Internet Craftsmanship Museum Presents:

Livio De Marchi

Added to museum: 10/5/05

Surprising subjects rendered expertly in wood and glass

 

Combine the eye of a great artist with a sense of humor and a craftsman of great skill and you have Italian artist Livio De Marchi. The twinkle in his eye somehow comes through in his work.

Introduction

Livio De Marchi came to our attention when another craftsman suggested we take a look at his work. While it is normally our practice to display the work of craftsmen who might not otherwise come to the attention of the public, and Mr. De Marchi’s work has become known world-wide, we felt the quality of his carving skills merited our placing it with that of our other expert craftsmen who might not be so well known. In addition, Mr. De Marchi’s work displays a certain sense of whimsical contrast between subject and material that jars the senses. The soft folds of cloth on a table, women’s underclothes hanging on a clothesline or the sensuous curves and mechanical detail of a full size Ferrari F50 are not the usual subjects of a wood carver. When something in America is described as “wooden” it often has the meaning of being stiff, stilted and ungainly. His work, though carved from wood, is anything but “wooden” in that sense. In addition, the common woods he uses, knots and all, make it clear that he is not trying to disguise the nature of the medium.

His work has been honored many times as art, but we would like to honor him here for the expert craftsmanship in wood, as that must first be mastered before the art can be created. We hope you enjoy this slight departure from our usual displays in this museum.

 

Livio De Marchi navigates the canals of Venice in his floating, powered, carved wood Ferrari F50. He has created a number of other floating works of art as well, from other cars to origami sculpture like hats and swans rendered in wood.

Livio De Marchi—Biography

(Reproduced in part from Livio De Marchi’s web site with permission.)

Livio De Marchi was born in Venice where, still a child, he worked on ornamental sculpture in the Venetian tradition in the workshop of a craftsman while he studied art and drawing at the "Accademia di Belle Arti" in Venice. His career starts there, displaying at once an astounding skill in molding materials, transforming them with wit and panache and creating sculptures with perfection of detail and spontaneity. During his artistic evolution he worked first in marble, then bronze, and eventually in wood. However, wood has always been his favorite material because it affords him a vitality which other materials do not.

Since opening his own studio, Livio De Marchi has allowed his fantasy to take wing. After a deep inner evolution, his ironical ability to "see" life got the upper hand, letting him carve his own unique sculpture. His artworks have been shown in cities all over the world including Milan, Florence, London, Paris, Düsseldorf, Zürich, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Tokyo. They have also been acclaimed in a number of magazines such as Interior Design, Capital, Casa Vogue, Madame Figaro, Vogue, Hauser, Decoration, and more. Furthermore, his works have been the subject of many television features in several foreign countries.

 

Livio De Marchi outside a gallery of his work in wood and glass. (Click on photo to see a larger image.)

Mr. De Marchi’s web site at http://www.livioDeMarchi.com/index.htm shows the great variety of his current work, which is primarily done in wood, but there is also an interesting selection of items in glass, some of which are combined with wood pieces. Follow the link above and you can view all of his work. We have selected a few of our favorites which you may view in the section below.

Workshop and tools

Livio De Marchi uses simple but familiar tools to do his wood carving. He uses about 100 different chisels and an old wooden hammer which is dated "1964." They are always on his workbench and he uses each and every one of them. If just one chisel is missing, he finds it difficult to work.

Livio De Marchi at work in his studio. These photos were taken several years ago by a friend and customer. (Click on any photo for a larger image.)

Here are several examples of Livio De Marchi's work:

(Click photos for larger images.)

In a flight of fancy, a pumpkin carriage and four prancing horses swim the streets and canals of Venice, Italy with sculptor Livio De Marchi at the reins. One of his larger pieces, this is called "A Dream in Venizia" and was built as an entrant in the annual floating parade in a festival in Venice.
Part of his "Casa di Libri" or "House of Books" series, this is No. 1, "Tambre d'Alpago."  The fanciful structure denotes a book lover's dream, with many of the items of furniture seemingly made from the bindings and pages of carved books. Hundreds of individually carved books line the shelves, and the closet sports carved clothing seeminly ready to wear. The last photo shows Mr. De Marchi posed in one of the carved chairs.

Not all of Livio De Marchi's works are this large. Some of his other sculptures follow but most of his work is carved life size.

Photos courtesy of Livio De Marchi

Realistically carving soft subjects like a jacket in a hard material like wood might seem a bit of a contrast visually, but it makes the viewer doubly aware of both the shape of the subject and the texture of the material. Usually no paints are used, and the wood grain and knots reinforce the nature of the material.
A wooden wash basin and pitcher on a stand are adorned with a flowing carved towel.
Soft, fuzzy Teddy bears and a wicker basket, again rendered from wood. The excellence of the carving and sensitivity to surface texture can be seen in all of Livio De Marchi's works.

"Strumenti del Pittore grande" (cm. 200hx80x80)

Paint brushes in a vase is one of De Marchi's carved works that incorporate color rather than leaving the material natural.
"Abito con attaccapanni" The wooden coat hanger supports a life size, soft looking dress, also carved from wood.
A wooden Ferrari F50 navigates the canals of Venice with Livio De Marchi at the wheel (helm?). A festival is held each year in which vessels of all kinds parade the canals. Livio has produced several such vehicles, all of which attract a lot of attention not only for their individuality but also for their craftsmanship. The third photo shows a detail of the interior.

A wooden Fiat Topolino is another of De Marchi's wooden car sculptures.

A golf bag and clubs carved from wood include every detail down to the stitching and zippers.
A leather aviator jacket hangs on a wooden hanger, but the jacket and hanger are of the same material. Again, every detail like the quilted lining is rendered and the folds look soft and relaxed, yet the material itself is anything but soft.
 A woman's purse decorated with a rose ("Borsetta con Rose")

 and a paper shopping bag, folded shirt and umbrella are two more examples of his "slice of life" approach to choice of subject. The purse is cm. 18 cm x 10 cm x 20 cm high. The shopping bag is 47.5 cm high, 40 cm wide and 19.5 cm deep.

A table ("Tavolo incompleto", height cm 80, width cm 63.5, depth cm 45) with wine glasses and bottle reveals a section of the original block it was carved from yet to be completed. Another table with a drawer partially open features a draped tablecloth carved from wood. A second sculpture decorates the tabletop.
A Volkswagen "Bug" looks quite at home powering its way down the canals of Venice as Mr. De Marchi tips his hat.
A full size carved wooden scooter ("Vespa ecologica") looks like it's ready to carry its rider down the road.
  A piece featuring soap bubbles and a bubble blower rendered in glass, another favorite medium of sculptor De Marchi, demonstrates his versatility as an artist.

Brightly colored glass wings adorn the carved wood body of a butterfly in a piece offering a combination of materials.

 

Significant creations and shows

In 1985, continuing his activity as a sculptor, Livio De Marchi created an enormous paper hat in wood in the Japanese Origami style. In 1986, a gigantic floating woman's shoe saw the light of day. In 1987, again following the tradition of Origami, he carved a dove of peace which stands alongside the paper hat in the Central Park in Himeji (Japan) as a monument. In the same year the Kunsthalle Museum in Emden (Germany) acquired a big pot with brushes - "Flowers of the Artist". At Kimihiro Fujii's Gallery Hiro in Tokyo there was a personal show. In 1988 he created a floating life-size 1937 Jaguar sculptured in wood. The Carsch House in Düsseldorf (Germany) organized a personal show of Livio De Marchi.


In 1989, he carved la life-size Fiat Topolino mod. A. The Jelmoli company in Zürich organized a personal show dedicated to him. In 1990, he created the "House of Books". It is in S. Anna - Tambre D'Alpago (BL) Italy. It has already achieved worldwide fame. In 1991 the Jelmoli company organized another show for him in Zürich. In 1993 Dutch Television (Tros) made a special documentary about him.


Ripley's American Museum in S. Augustine - Florida acquired the "Fiat Topolino" and the floating "1937 Jaguar". The museum of art in Muskegon - Michigan (U.S.A.) purchased a big pot of brushes to put on display in the museum. Livio De Marchi carried out the "House of Books n. 2" in Germany - Bergneustadt (between Frankfurt and Köln) for a private collection.

In 1994 his fantasy took flight again and he realized a floating work of art with the title "a dream in Venice": a huge pumpkin drawn by 4 horses, which rear up when the driver pulls the reins. The pumpkin can accommodate 4 people. It was one of the jewels of Carnival 1994. After a few months the museum "Ripley's Believe it or not!" obtained this piece too for its collection. In October 1994, he constructed his "House of Books n. 3" in Japan,. It is at the Pension Costa del Sol on the peninsula of Izu, in front of the Pacific Ocean. Livio De Marchi intends to execute 10 of his "House of Books" creations all around the world.

For Carnival in Venice in 1995 he carved an 8 meter high vase with 12 flowers (4 roses, 4 tulips, 4 daisies). It was anchored near the Dogana on the Grand Canal. In Spring, 1995 Angelika Obermüller organized a personal show in Munich in her Gallerie + Tee. In June 1995 he showed his artworks in a personal exhibition in Austria in a wonderful old castle in Frohnleiten.
From March 30th to May 4th 1996 there was a Personal exhibition c/o Galerie Lieve Hemel in Amsterdam. In February 1997 he created a floating wooden motor car "Mercedes Seagull," and it was shown at the Art fair KunstRAI. There was another personal exhibition at the Galerie Lieve Hemel in May-July.

In Febuary 1999 he created a floating wooden car “Volkswagen Beetle,” and it was shown at the Art fair Kunst RAI in June 1999. In June-July 1999 a personal exhibition was shown at the Galerie Lieve Hemel. In November 1999, 2000 his works were shown at SOFA Chicago c/o Mostly Glass Gallery. In 2000 the exhibition IL LEGNO IN VETRO was shown at the gallery Pauly S.Marco, Venice. In 2000 he created a floating wooden Ferrari F50. In 2001 the Ferrari and other large works were shown in Palm Springs, California and Tuor, USA c/o Mostly Glass Gallery. In 2003, from 14th June to 20th July, the fifth personal exhibition was held at Galerie Lieve Hemel in Amsterdam.

Museum Collections

Kunsthalle, Emden~ Germania

Ripley’s “Believe it or not”, Florida, Wisconsin, USA, Tilandia

Museum of Art, Muskegon, Michigan, USA

Miniature Museum of Contemporary Art, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Stiftung AutoMuseum Volkswagen, Wolfsburg, Germany

Magazine Articles

Interior Design, Capital, Casa Vogue, Madam Figaro, Vogue, Hauser, Decoration etc.

Broadcast TV documentaries

Dutch TV (Tros), Swiss TV, German TV, Japanese TV, TV Capo d’Istria, BBC “Crusades” with Jones ( Monty Python), MTV, RAI etc.

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