Swimming and art, two apparently disparate worlds, actually have much in common: commitment, sacrifice and at the same time creativity and talent. Athlete and artist share the passion, the desire for new challenges, the constant search for perfection, the expression of their character through performances that arouse emotions, the joy of thrilling the public.
arena has decided to extol this connection by supporting the work of internationally renowned artist Samuel Di Blasi, thus producing a creation that is unique in its field.
Physicality, competitive spirit, sweat, and inspiration come together in Uomo Onda (Wave Man) – the work’s title – a representation of the figure of a swimmer launching himself into his venture. The sculpture fits perfectly with arena’s DNA, with its values of passion and authenticity.
Uomo Onda is an aluminium casting hanging inside a machined steel prism. It represents the trail, the void the swimmer ideally leaves as he passes through the water: this void is itself a form of sculpture. During the creative process, Samuel Di Blasi imagined the moment at which a body is totally immersed and becomes one with its element, and ultimately merges with it. In the design of the scupture, the artist aims to defy the rules of gravity by having it reach out into the void for over 4 metres.
"After two years of having to suspend many activities due to the covid pandemic, it seemed wonderful to be able to celebrate water sports in Rome on the occasion of the European swimming championships, with this work of art full of expressive meanings,” said Giuseppe Musciacchio, arena Deputy CEO. “Swimming is itself an art, a form of expression of one's spirit. Through their performance, every swimmer leaves a mark on history, transmits sensations, expresses love for what they do. There is something very powerful that binds this world to that of art. This is why we decided to support Samuel in the creation of a work of art that could best express the symmetry and harmony of the swimmer."
"I think that art, like swimming, represents a high ideal of life,” said Samuel. “Getting into the water every day, no longer feeling the boundary between sweat and water, meditating stroke after stroke and harmonizing with nature are highly artistic aspects that feel just like mine. Nature has always been my inspiration and the art of swimming has given me the desire to create a sculptural frame, a natural extension of the human anatomy. Things never happen by chance and the encounter with arena is another of these beautiful stories. arena believed in my work and gave me total freedom with the project that gave life to Uomo Onda. For this piece I chose to remain in Italy, specifically Pietrasanta, a globally recognized centre of sculpture, where I worked closely with the staff of the Mariani artistic foundry. Precisely because the artistic process requires total immersion in the various phases, I moved to a studio in Tuscany where I was able to take care of this and other projects. I wanted to clothe an athlete, a fighter who alone passes through the density of matter, like a genesis; the swimmer and his surge towards the water perfectly portrays this idea."
On the occasion of the 36th edition of the European Swimming Championships scheduled in Rome from 11 to 21 August, the Uomo Onda sculpture will be exhibited at Viale delle Olimpiadi, in front of the Tennis Club (Foro Italico), near the casa arena hospitality suite.
About Samuel Di Blasi
Born in Alba in 1975, he graduated in sculpture from the Academy of Fine Arts in Turin. In 1996 he exhibited his first works at “Compresenze” Seven Young Artists in Turin, at the Galleria Piemonte Artistico Culturale. He participated in the 2000 Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Art in London. It was in London that he perfected his artistic language in the studio of the Japanese sculptor Noriaki Maeda while he was a technical assistant at Agnew's Gallery, the Robert Sandelson Gallery and the Stephen Lacey Gallery. In 2002 he was invited to the Third International Sculpture Prize in Turin and from 2003 to 2013 he participated in symposia and exhibitions in Italy and abroad. In 2015 he exhibited Lo scalatore di nuvole (The Climber of Clouds) – a personal exhibition of sculpture – at the National Museum of the Mountain of Turin,. He won the National Ora Prize in 2016. In 2018 he exhibited his personal Sognando Sogni (Dreaming Dreams) curated by Roberto Sottile at the Add-Art Gallery in Spoleto. In 2020 he exhibited in the group exhibition For a Better World at the Galerie Géraldine Banier in Paris, a gallery that still represents him today. In 2022 with the site-specific work Porta di Luce (Door of Light), an aluminium casting of over forty meters, he won the competition of ideas for the enhancement of the boundary wall of the student campus of the Licei in the municipality of Alba. He lives and works in Alba.
Photo credit: Andrea Samonà
Lo scalatore di nuvole 2015 National Museum of the Mountain of Turin - (Lizea Arte Edizioni)
Sognando Sogni 2018 ADD-Art Gallery Spoleto - (ADD-Art Edizioni)