Biagio Castilletti was born in Ragusa Ibla in 1974. As the grandson of a Sicilian cart driver, he had a great admiration for carts ever since he was a child, and never missed an opportunity to draw them on every piece of paper within his reach. When he was twelve, he built his favourite toy on his own: a miniature cart which he decorated himself. As a teenager, he spent much of his time in the workshops of artisans creating carts. Here he learnt the fundamental skills that allowed him to open his own workshop in the town of Riposto, Catania. Biagio met the young Damiano Rotella in 2003, when Damiano was working as an apprentice in the workshop of Di Mauro and Zappalà, in Aci Sant’Antonio. Since then the professional lives of the two artists became entwined. Biagio, intrigued by the youngster’s initiative, started to visit Damiano’s workshop, giving him advice and support. This led to a friendship based on trust, mutual collaboration and a passion for craftsmanship, leading them to create a brand of quality and experience in 2011.
Enamel and oil, 60 x 151 x 68.2 cm The surface of this refrigerator is clearly inspired by the colours and decorative motifs of carts from Catania, painted over lacquer, a particularly refined technique used by very few masters that reached its greatest splendour in the 1930s. The baroque decorations such as acanthus leaves, masks, eagles and putti painted against a backdrop in deep shades of garnet, green and blue, have been reinterpreted on the panels of this refrigerator. The sides are painted with a “mennula” motif (“almond” in Sicilian dialect) which divides the space into lozenges, at the centre of which are painted profiles of the Paladins of France, Orlando on one side and Bradamanteon the other. Painted on the door is a mythological subject featuring Apollo and Daphne, whose subtle shading echoes the technique reserved for the most prized carts. A “Paparuni” (“poppy” in Sicilian) decorates the top, a recurring motif in the Sicilian tradition that is also picked up on the sides.