Federico Cantale


“I am a sculptor f**ked by painting”

AT: Where are you from and how/why did you start engaging with art?

FC: I am from a small town in the province of Milan, famous and proud to guard the monument of Alberto da Giussano. Why did I start engaging with art? Every time this answer changes…today it started when I drew the cover of the first Super Mario Kart, and one person told me I was very good.


AT: When did it become serious?

FC: At the end of High School, after having metabolized contemporary art with exercises. In that moment I realized that I could do it as professional.


AT: Are there any person who has been significant in your breakthrough as an artist?

FC: My old High School teacher and now friend Enzo Castagno. Sculptor and exceptional man. If I were the mayor of the town mentioned above, I would put him in the place of Alberto da Giussano. Morevoer, I think the breakthrough comes from a close collaboration still in progress with two other artists: Giacomo Montanelli and Jimmy Milani, with whom, for example, the NOI X SEMPRE project was born.


AT: What is your first approach to the work?

FC: From an idea, from a discovery. And then in a design way.

Blu Gargano, 2019, Lacquered wood, 26,5x70x15 cm | ph. Michela Pedranti.

AT: How would you describe your practice?

FC: I am a sculptor f**ked by painting. I fell all my masters were not really sculptors, even though we can’t say that out of honor (laughs). I really like the idea of choice and especially when it joins with the history of art and its circularity. I think the idea of the relay race of ideas is a beautiful image.


AT: What do you aim to reach with your work?

FC: That brief, fleeting moment when the planets, one after the other, align. And while it happens you don’t believe it, and you check and recheck, and nothing. You have made bingo! A magic moment of great satisfaction. Then it would be nice to make those who see it try that feeling again, but clearly this is a matter of different sensibilities and priorities.


AT: What are you favorite tools and materials for working?

FC: In the last two years I have used a lot of wood that was later painted. It has an outstanding potential. But, in general I am very close to the whole craft world. Let’s say that everything depends on the invitation.


AT: What do you feel while you work? Do you usually think about the final outcome beforehand?

FC: I quote answer n° 6. I can add that however for the remaining 99% of the time is frustration, doubts and a lot of idleness. I always plan to the maximum of my possibilities in relation to the circumstance and the project. I try to control everything initially, with the awareness that everything changes, especially an idea brought from fantasy to the real world.

Cozze (alla Cantale), 2019, Lacquered wood and copper, 25 Øx6 cm – private collection.

AT: Where does the inspiration for the work come from?

FC: From anything that manages to be taken by the hand by my sensitivity and my interests.


AT: Are there any artists who influenced your works? Why?

FC: More than artists I would say that there have been works, there are and there will be. The first work I am fond of without explanation is the “Autoritratto con menta” by Francesco Gennari. A work that changed my way of seeing love is “Waxing Hot” by Bruce Nauman. The list is long, although not enough.


AT: How important is the role of social media for you?

FC: It is essential to stay informed. In the last year, however, perhaps because of the context, paradoxically I have felt them much weaker and more boring.


AT: As an artist, what is you point of view about the contemporary art system?

FC: I find annoying the older personalities who throw the hoe on the feet of the Italian system, but I join the system that made them work and if it doesn’t work now I would ask myself questions. However, at the moment I am still hopeful.

La promessa, la svolta e il prestigio, 2020, Varnished steel, 80x80x 65 cm | ph. Michela Pedranti.

AT: What do you find to be the most challenging or daunting thing about pursuing art?

FC: Waking up day after day with nothing really practical to do. But the wheel turns.


AT: What is the most rewarding part of working as an artist?

FC: There are many, some already mentioned. Maybe, the best part is finding a person who after months from the exhibition comes and tells you that he is still thinking about your work.


AT: What do you do besides art?

FC: I always make art (laughs). Apart from bullshit, I play video games and on weekends I work in a bar to have a more stable income.


AT: What are your goals and expectations for the future?

FC: Do the most beautiful work of all and after, of course, the most beautiful exhibition of all.

Semina zizzania, 2019, Lacquered wood, 159x104x18 cm | view from Chapter 3 (Winter), La Fornace | ph. Sacha Kanah.
Federico Cantale (b. 1996) is an Italian visual artist currently living and working in Milan, Italy.

His work is mainly sculptural, influenced by everyday life combined with the discoveries of man, giving shape to new visual enigmas through an explosive planning. Responsibility and choice first of all, in giving new shape to ideas, which in this way can be projected forward again.