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Nicola Bolla

The dreamlike and parallel universe of the artist, who was previously invited to the Venice Biennales in 1995 and 2009 (Italian Pavilion), is currently represented by new works from Bolla’s creative repertoire. These works are based on the systematic use of Swarovski crystals and playing cards.

With this technique, the artist has recently created some unique and surprising large-scale installations. These were presented in a joint exhibition in Turin by Photot&Contemporary and the Zabert Gallery (March-April 2014). The installations included a gigantic atomic mushroom, large animals invading the exhibition halls, suspended wings on the walls, and a series of Mandalas and large low-relief stars that created intriguing and deceptive optical effects.

The exhibition was complemented by a large installation titled “Ossuary Vanitas,” made with Swarovski crystals and two tons of soil. Additionally, there was an ironic wooden and crystal “Room” exploring the inner relationship between the artist and painting.

Bolla’s artistic journey sometimes involves exploring new formal and metaphorical values derived from real objects, decontextualized and exaggerated in their fragile and ephemeral existence. At other times, he delves into “mirabilia naturalia,” freely interpreting living beings and mythological animals. In this context, crystals and playing cards symbolize the idea of Vanitas and existential risk—an oxymoronic interplay between a sense of futility and creative impulse, opulence representation, and human misery, as well as the eternity of art and earthly transience. Bolla’s works exhibit great virtuosity, seemingly shedding the typical weight associated with sculptural pieces through an impression of inconsistency and material lightness.

His irreverent and playful interpretation of reality emphasizes the post-surrealist symbolic transformation of objects into contemporary icons. Unlike many of his contemporaries surrounded by glamour, Nicola Bolla, especially through his Swarovski-adorned works (such as his crystal-studded skull from 1997, which likely inspired Damien Hirst), has anticipated a profound reflection on a society increasingly dependent on fashion, luxury aspirations, and their associated status symbols. His captivating and independent artistic approach has led to recognition in Italy, Europe, and globally over the past decade. Recently, one of his Swarovski sculptures was featured in Sotheby’s “Italian Sale” catalog and auctioned in London on October 17th


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