Photography by Simone Stanislai 


Roberta Busato | sculpture in alabaster

curated by Eleonora Raspi

created with Matteo Brioni

art exhibition
Palazzo dei Priori, Volterra
04 September – 7 November 2021

After a long-time working with raw earth and modeling tools, Roberta Busato (Verona, 1976) approaches the Volterra “stone” for the first time, creating a series of new and enigmatic faces in agate, white alabaster and bardiglio. The artist’s new solo show, ENLIGHTENED STONE, unfolds the passages of a ritual performed by the artist in the presence of the material found in the territory: observation, excavation, discovery of the soul.

Video by Vittorio Marrucci, music by Alchimia Sonica

“Where is it leading me?” The artist asks herself, embracing Michelangelo’s attitude of the sculptor towards his material. Busato immediately establishes an intimate and respectful relationship to the stone, stroke by stroke, sanding after sanding, discovering the secret it hides. As the only interpreter of this message, Busato acts as an emotional vehicle for her audience: the result is ENLIGHTENED STONE, a new series of lightly sculpted faces. The eyes are closed, the mouth is closed, the nose at times barely pronounced. As if captured in a state of ecstasy, the heads are thoughtful, detached from daily materiality.

Each sculpture tells a story of the different minerals and chemical compositions of the soil, revealed through the shades of color or its veins. Alabaster itself is at the centre of the artist’s investigation, and consequently the exhibition shows five of its different varieties rich in inclusions, hydroxides and metal oxides: Bardiglio, Agata Chiara, Agata Scura, Agata and Agata Macchiata.

Set in the Sala del Giudice Conciliatore, on the ground floor of the magnificent Palazzo dei Priori in Volterra, the sculpted heads harmoniously dialogue with the theatrical fifth behind them, created by the designer Matteo Brioni: an imposing raw-earth wall in black pepper color, finely conceived in his Gonzaga company. In the foreground, five sculptures in the process of transformation, connecting two historical times betwixt completeness and incompleteness. The anthropomorphic profile emerging from the material meets both Busato’s artistic vision and the viewer’s emotional reaction. The visitor is invited to participate in a real theatrical act, performing a sort of rite of passage once having crossed the threshold of the hall to become an active participant in the scene.

This, then, is a theatrical representation of a metamorphosis. While presenting different angles of the same identity, each sculpture is repeated in the context of the rituals, namely of the snake, of healing, of the wind, of silence and of knowledge.  Five moments belonging to the sacred sphere, discovered by Busato in the spiritual essence of alabaster. Ancient rites and ancient beliefs, handed down to our own day, take on a new form and be reinterpreted, establishing an unusual connection between past civilizations and today’s anthropocentric society.

The represented entities in ENLIGHTENED STONE are connected not to a single mythology, but to archetypal mythological figures of a past feeling, in which man lived harmoniously with Nature and the Divine. Etruscan Volterra, the undisputed capital of alabaster and host of the exhibition, is the setting and source of inspiration.



Palazzo dei Priori, Piazza dei Priori, Volterra (PI), Italy

open every day 10:00 – 19:00

for information:  info@kalpa-art.it  |  +39.338.117.9741


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