Italian artist Stefano Curto’s singular artworks are huge, fluid pieces of crystalline magic that seem caught in perpetual motion.
Stefano Curto’s mesmerizing creations are color-drenched, swirling abstracts of sinuous contours that catch and reflect ripples of light—among them, famously, is a depiction of the imprint of Christ from the Turin Shroud. “I’ve always found it hard to drag my eyes away from crystals,” says Curto. “The hope and projection of immortality they conjure up is transcendental.”
Venice-based Curto was born in Segusino in 1966. He started out as a setter of crystals, undertaking complex jewelry designs and eyewear for haute couture labels. This abiding passion for stones started at the age of twenty, when his mother placed some crystals in his hands and suggested that he could create something with them. “It was like holding stars—I instantly fell in love, and I’ve used crystals now for thirty years.”
His comes from a passionately creative background. His 90-year-old father Giuseppe’s recent artistic success is an example: “He was a musician and composer, but at the age of 80 he picked up a pen and over the following ten years (he’s now 90) he created a series of drawings of a fantasy world that’s naïf and mystical. Absolutely fascinating. Last year he exhibited in Berlin, and now in Brussels. The gift of art is ageless, and he proves it.”
Music was Curto’s first art form. He has always composed as well as played in punk, new wave and pop-rock bands. Travel is another passion that provides inspiration: “This planet and the human soul never cease to surprise and amaze. Traveling feeds the heart and eyes with images and emotions through unexpected encounters that illuminate artistic inspiration.”
When it comes to crystal application, he has been equally single-minded, over time refining and developing his technical understanding of how best to maximize the all-important light-refracting properties. This translated into complex applications for each of his artworks. “Some of my work is inspired by images from space and from microscopes. In other examples, creation follows a geometric precision. Using the light reflections of crystal, I try to examine the mysteries of creation that are hidden the darkness of the cosmos, and the many aspects of the search for spiritual meaning.” One of them, Amniotic Stardust, recalls the mysteries of creation and features 160,000 crystals in 27 different forms, and took almost a year to complete.
After he has chosen the crystals, he undertakes the laborious process of placing each crystal by hand. Curto’s selection regime is aided by a database that he created, which lists the thousands of available shapes and colors of Swarovski crystals. “I use it as my palette. For me, white light represents purity and hope, black is mystery, and color? Simply the happiness of the journey.”