I’m not sure I believe the whole ‘every living thing has a soul’ business (I mean, how much soul can a brussel sprout really have?) but if there is any truth in that concept, then the proof can probably be found in the work of Italian sculptor Bruno Walpoth.
Using one slab of solid timber, Walpoth creates ethereal human forms that are so lifelike as to appear breathing. Natural knots, cracks and textures are incorporated into the portraits, taking on the same imperfections in skin and structure that we humans deal with daily. The semi-translucent paint he uses to stain the work allows the wood grain to show through, a technique that simultaneously retains the warmth of freshly miller timber and mimics the life pulsating under the human epidermis.
This is the work of a highly sensitive master. Rather than impressing his designs on the timber, Walpoth lets the timber guide him as he coaxes out the spirit within. As the viewer, you can’t help but feel the balance of the two life forces – human and plant – working in complete harmony.
The end result is a gathering of figures on the brink of transformation, just waiting for Pinocchio’s Blue Fairy to tap them on the shoulder and bring them to life.