Paola Cau was born in Rome in 1968. She graduated in architecture at the IUAV University of Venice. She lives and works in Venice.
"Not a day passes without someone reminding us that “the world has changed”. For better? For worse? I don’t know.
Technology definitely continues to forge ahead, every day offering us tools conceived to make life easier, more enjoyable, more open to every possibility that can help us, relieving us – at least apparently – from all exertion.
It’s not even necessary to study much anymore, seeing that you have only to access internet to find the right answer. Are we closer to each other, or more distant?
And if “culture” becomes an almost useless commodity, what will happen to all the beauty that history has bequeathed to us? What is art, and for whom? Visual art, in particular, has become merely an instrument for making money. And literature too, poetry, music, theatre and dance. And philosophy, that aims to help us understand who we are and why we are alive?
In actual fact, the great works of art that surround us represent the lives of so many people who lived for art and who have left us the finest fruit of their lives.
And so how can a young artist such as Paola Cau – already with a degree in architecture to boot – extremely sensitive, as I am given to understand (I have only met her once), manage to express herself while keeping intact the secret that underlies her self-expression? She makes “sculptures”, even though sculpture is generally understood as something solid that endures over time, such as marble, bronze, wood or Perspex. Instead, she uses newspaper, albeit only the pages containing articles that she liked, and manipulates it to give birth to her subjects. The subjects, which are the same as those of the great historic sculptures – bulls, horses, ladies, Madonnas, even an Annunciation – are often difficult to grasp and one must, therefore, take one’s time. They are extremely fragile sculptures, no more than ten centimetres high. It is she, first and foremost, who must grasp their significance immediately, and it doesn’t matter to her if the observer finds this hard. The fact is that Paola Cau works almost only for herself, not to create works to offer to other people.
Also extremely fine are her photographs of walls, not as these are generally understood (with graffiti etc.), but capturing in them the reflection of what is in front, opposite (gleams of light from windows or from rivulets of water), or images of walls with holes. She is always interested in what is behind or in front and hardly ever is the means used the important thing.
There are drawings too. These frequently consist of monochrome grounds in which a small slit suggests the existence of a “beyond”, or of energetic and almost gestural drawings of lively and intense colour.
In short, she works in a world all her own – indirect, personal and secret – which seems to me to be part of her way of looking at life." - Lara-Vinca Masini