Interview with Felice Tagliaferri

Artist on Board of September and October 2022

Artist on Board of September and October 2022

Riccardo Benedini April 2023
April 2023

Known as the sculptor who gives shape to dreams, Felice Tagliaferri talks about himself during his journey by sea to the Barcolana in Trieste, a historic international sailing regatta which he attends with his traveling exhibition “Vedere oltre la vista” (Seeing beyond the sight).

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Hello everyone, my name is Riccardo Benedini and every month I sail with artists, designers and creatives in the Mediterranean Sea aboard the gulet Lycian Princess to transform objects into authentic experiences to live.

I am here today in the company of the sculptor Felice Tagliaferri, who on 7 September inaugurated the first floating exhibition accessible to people with visual impairments during the Venice Film Festival.


Hi Felice. You’ve been on board for more than a month. How does it feel to exhibit your works in the middle of the sea?


I feel great there, also because a family was born with you, with the owner of the boat, with all the people who go around it and whoever gets on board is a bit like part of the family, so it’s really nice and exciting to do this job.


“Vedere oltre la vista” (Seeing beyond the sight) is the name we have chosen for this tactile sensory journey on board the boat. Here we see some works. Can you describe your installation for Lycian Princess?


“Seeing beyond the sight” because many things are not seen only with the eyes, but are seen by touching the works, so in my opinion the experience that anyone must have is to come aboard and try to touch them.


I saw that you work not only with marble, but also with other materials. For this installation we have selected sculptures that are easy to handle and to take on board. Is there anyone in particular that you are particularly attached to?


Which of these are on board? “Incastro Perfetto” (The Perfect Fit) because that’s what took me the most time to study sculpture.



When we met last summer, we wanted to transform an apparently unstable element like water into a place accessible through creativity. What does the word “accessible” mean to you?


Accessible? Then keep in mind that the water has no architectural barriers, the water has no poles, the water has no sidewalks, so it’s totally accessible. Water is female, so it’s welcoming. And thinking of bringing sculptures immersed in water is the maximum possibility that an artist has.


For this sensory tactile journey we have selected works that express a lot of irony. Here are some examples: “Architetta”. This marble sculpture in the shape of a breast with arches supporting it, or the sculpture in the shape of a butt with a socket. The people who come on board have been surprised by the irony that your works convey. How much did this irony support you in creating?


So I’m ironic by nature so, for me, anything should make you smile. The fact of making those structures is really a way to approach people in a different way, that is, not only as the sculptor, the creator. To make them understand that I’m a bit like them.


In this month on board we have had an influx, I would say extraordinary, of very different people who have come to visit us and have literally left the mainland to hear your story. I’m talking about emerging actors from the Film Festival, as well as university students. In one of your recent interviews, I recall that you spoke of “cardiac communication”, heart to heart. Can you tell me more about this concept?


Heart communication is primarily physical contact with people. By guiding them on the sculptures with your hands there is physical contact but also a contact of a different nature. In other words, the fact of treating people as people and not as if I were a character makes it possible to break down all the barriers and to go directly into the depths with them.



You use an expression that has struck me a lot since we met, namely: “seeing with the hands and touching with the eyes”. In particular, here we have the “Ombra” (Shadow) sculpture. Can you tell me what it represents?


“Ombra” (Shadow) is part of a series of sculptures of things never seen, that is never touched. You see a man’s shadow, but you can’t touch it. I recreated a series of still images such as “La Donna con i capelli al vento” (The Woman with hair in the wind), such as the “Fiamme del fuoco” (Flames of fire), such as the “Nuvola” (Cloud). These are things that no one has ever touched and in this way I offer anyone the possibility of being able to touch them out of mere curiosity, but when we talk about blind people, or those born blind, the situation is different. They must touch them for knowledge, because art must also pass through knowledge and in my opinion knowledge of these things is fundamental.


During the exhibition “Vedere oltre la vista” (Seeing beyond the sight)  there was one sculpture in particular that aroused a lot of interest and was perhaps the most photographed. I have it here in my hands and it is the “Cuore con le orecchie” (Heart with ears).


I thought the “Presa per il culo” (Butt with a socket) haha


Haha. That is at the end of the sensory path.


Okay okay.


How was this sculpture born?


This sculpture was created because when people listen, they don’t just listen with their ears, but we need to enter into empathic listening and listen with the heart.



I wanted to remind those listening to us that it is not the first time that you have celebrated this link with Venice, a city you have been linked to for some time. I know that after the break dictated by Covid you have resumed a project of tactile paths with the Guggenheim Collection. How did this project within the museum come about?


It was born in a very pleasant way, in the sense that Valeria Bottalico already worked for the Guggenheim. At one point she came to do a workshop with me and she said “I want to do this”. The project is called “Doppio senso” (Double Sense), where she deals with the sense of sight, I with the sense of touch. With this project people understand how important it is to touch because in the “restitution” they do during the workshops with me, in the end they really give back what they have touched.


We are currently on our way to Trieste, where we will attend the Barcolana, historic international sailing competition and we will participate with a very important work, namely the “Carta dei Diritti delle Persone con Disabilità” (Charter of Rights of Persons with Disabilities). Tell me about this trip.


This journey was born three years ago with my desire to sculpt this “Charter of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities” with the two hands that support it, written in four languages. The intention is that any Head of State, by engraving his initials with a hammer and chisel, removes a bit of marble in order to make the Charter of Rights more usable by all. Once the card is filled with signatures, it will be auctioned off and the proceeds will be donated to some association that takes care of people with disabilities around the world. Currently, the Head of State of San Marino has already signed it for me, so let’s not start from scratch.



A journey that has just begun and we will see where it takes us in the coming months. A journey made not only of art but above all of emotion and human contact, made possible thanks to Lycian Princess who takes this work to sea. A project also shared with the well-known sailor Andrea Stella, who is waiting for us in Trieste with his “WoW” catamaran and I take this opportunity to greet him.

We will meet tomorrow, before the Barcolana competition to keep you updated with our trip. Felice and I are already organizing inclusive cultural experiences in Venice but in the meantime let’s enjoy the arrival in Trieste.

Thank you Felice for giving me the opportunity to tell you through this traveling art project.


Thank you for showing yourself what you are, so a friend.

Interview with Felice Tagliaferri

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