6 Sculptures That Won’t Restore Your Faith In Humanity

These sculptures by Francesco Albano may look like you feel.

It would be easy to dismiss the sculptures of Francesco Albano as mere grotesques–as monsters dreamed up by a B-movie producer looking to induce stomach-churning shock value. It would be easy, if their wax skins didn’t look so human, so deflated, and so relatable–if we didn’t see a bit of our own mortality inside each melted or mutated figure.


“My work is basically focused on how the physical appearance of the human body is affected by the psychic and mental disorder; how the mind in a certain disordered condition deforms, distorts, eviscerates, overfills the body,” Albano tells Co.Design. “As a result, the appearance of the body is like a reminiscent hunch of a being.”

Albano calls his figures ghosts, or manifestations of his fears. Building each takes a month or two and is a cathartic process. He begins with a base of nylon tights, which he stuffs with padding. He sews them, then shapes them using glue. He then coats the figure with polyester resin, which is eventually finished with several layers of paraffin wax mixed with oil.

“In a way, they get the shape they ‘have to have’ because I don’t have a pre-established plan to execute when I am realizing them,” Albano writes. “Day by day, I let my emotions [lead the shape].”

So in a sense, Albano’s sculptures are self-portraits–not of his own body, but of his deepest mental insecurities mixed with his ever-evolving emotional state. So when Albano insists that he’s not looking to shock or provoke an audience with these draping skins, he’s being earnest. Albano is really just sculpting himself.

“But of course, I prefer any kind of reaction than indifference,” he concedes. “What I am looking for is to change the perception that someone can have of himself by looking at my sculpture, even if for a very short time.”

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[Hat tip: beautiful/decay]

About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company. He started, a simple way to give back every day.