Artist in Residence 2023

Matt Byrd

1992, Raleigh (USA)

Die Motivation für meine künstlerische Tätigkeit schöpfe ich vor allem aus meinen Reisen und meiner Arbeit als Steinmetz ebenso wie aus meiner Liebe zur Bildhauerei und zur Architektur. Letztendlich inspiriert mich, wie Formen physisch, visuell und strukturell zusammenpassen. Es ist der Prozess, der mich leitet. Manchmal bin ich wie besessen davon, herauszufinden, wie sich die einzelnen Elemente des Steins auf gezielte Art und Weise zusammenfügen lassen. Sobald ein Stück fertig ist, wird es für mich bedeutungslos. Das Problem ist gelöst. Ich empfinde Erleichterung und ich gehe zur nächsten Arbeit über. Meine Werke sind Erfahrungen. Ich bin unaufhörlich auf der Suche nach diesem Gefühl und bin zutiefst dankbar für jedes fertige Werk. Was mich aber immerfort antreibt bleibt der Schaffensprozess.

Residency report

I always tell people that, at least in the United States, stone carving is a pretty lonely discipline. I never find myself around people that also sculpt stone. I have almost never have the chance to surround myself with people that I can bounce ideas, techniques, and concepts off of. Here at home there is no community for it like there is for potters, woodworkers, and painters. Funny enough, it took me a few weeks to even get used to carving around someone, who was also carving. It was such a foreign feeling to me. Seeing how people approach stone sculptures in a totally different way than I had been used to for so long soon began to comfort and humble me. I will always be left impressed and grateful with the skill and wisdom shard amongst us collectively. In all honesty, I didn't have much experience with marble prior to my arrival. I am mostly a granite person, but as soon as I came Peccia, it was very apparent that the local marble was something very special. I was taken back by the vast array of colors and textures that all came from the same cave. The passion and understanding for it that was presented to me left me in awe. Even the pieces laying around emanated almost a sacred presence. The opportunity to cut into such incredible material is something that I will forever be indebted to. It wasn't until I had started my residency at Centro Internazionale di Scultura, that I realized the for entirety my sculpture career, I had only ever made work from one studio. For some reason, it had never occurred to me that only creating work from one place had began to almost stifle my work. When I was younger, I made so much work that almost seemed as though I was trying to prove something. Sometimes, it was probably things that weren't even related to my work. Maybe, it was prove something about me, or maybe it was to prove that I could be precise and make really intricate work for no reason. It began to feel so inauthentic to me. It seemed to be filled with so much insecurity. I was riddled with excitement once the realization that my new work, from a new place, was now going to represent a new chapter for me. Even on days in Peccia when I wasn't physically working, I started to view that time as a part of my work process as a resident artist. Walking around, fishing, and shooting film photos all became a part of the new practice. It was a fresh way for me to begin to create work that felt truly authentic to me. Sadly and embarrassingly, that is nothing that I had exercised before. I now had no one to impress, no galleries to talk to, and no commissions to complete. I was there to make what I wanted to make. Finally, I was letting myself experiment with motifs and ideas that I would have never let myself do otherwise. I was there to do what felt right for me to make at that moment. I have come away with a new understanding of myself and my relationship with my work. A relationship to the extent at which I didn't expect to find. It is quite ironic that I had to travel thousands of miles to find myself "at home" with my work. I will never forget the six months I had there. There where times where I could not believe it was a real experience. I have often told people since being back, that it was almost as if I was living in a movie getting to be the luckiest person alive. Somedays I was silent and missing, and that was not because of any negative feelings towards the experience. I was taking the time to figure myself out. I am truly thank every single person that makes CIS and Peccia such an incredible place. The gratitude I feeI is immeasurable, and I will forever revisit the lessons taught to me by this time. I truly hope it is around for many more years to come, so that other artist like myself get to leave with the same impactful experience.