A look at Clochard is a glimpse into Roberto Cambi’s stream of consciousness as he walks through the city.
The resourceful recycling strategies of homeless people and the choices of an increasingly environmentally conscious society are born out of different needs, yet they strike the artist as carrying very similar aesthetics. Whilst the second are promoted in every possible way, the first are less evident as they are aggressively kept out of sight by defensive architecture. It speaks volume about the collective attitude to poverty, which is forcibly kept out of sight and out of mind. Even when dealing with one of the lowest human common denominator – trash – people find a way to discriminate against the most vulnerable.
Resources are often scarce for those sleeping rough, yet creativity abounds. The narrative of survival is often chronicled through the acquisition, transformation and disintegration of plastic bottles, rags, supermarket trolleys, suitcases and carrier bags, newspapers and cartons. These are not only re-used within an inch of their lives, but are cleverly pulled apart and re-assembled to serve different purposes.
They also happen to define a person in more ways than one. They are the few prized possessions of someone who has lost everything and sometimes become the focus of attention of passersby doggedly refusing to acknowledge a human being standing besides them.
Roberto Cambi takes inspiration from the new lease of life given to these objects to create similarly assembled pieces. Familiar shapes are taken apart, combined and put back together through the medium of ceramic. They look rugged, but are inherently fragile. Much like the life of those living on the streets. Inventiveness and resilience are really two faces of the same coin.
There is no denying that circumstances are incredibly difficult for the homeless – a daily struggle with hardship, physical and mental problems as well as addiction – yet people hang on to their hopes for the future. A resolve to pull through. A yearning for better things to come.
The gold trims in this new series of works are there to catch the eye, they are glimmers of beauty and optimism in places where you would not necessarily expect to find them.