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Born in Marseille in 1963, the young Thierry Benenati cultivated his love for drawing from an early age: a passion that has not only enabled him to develop his natural dexterity, but also to grasp the volumes and contrasts necessary to learn sculpture.
After completing his studies in Applied Arts, he moved to Paris and secured a position as an art director in a renowned advertising agency. Devoting his creative spirit to various brands and companies for nearly twenty years, Thierry Benenati never stopped practicing the so-called “classic” arts for his own pleasure: drawing, painting, and sculpture filled his free time.
This period was marked by significant encounters with personalities who encouraged him in his career as a sculptor. Indeed, Gérard Depardieu (who acquired one of his flagship pieces: “Stress”), Françoise Fabian, and the artist Ben were among the first to recognize his talent.
Gradually, the need to emerge as a complete artist took root in his mind, prompting him to stop working and devote himself entirely to sculpture, which became his preferred means of expression.
Admiring the works of great sculpture masters such as Rodin, Bugatti, or Da Vinci, Thierry Benenati has developed a truly unique style, which he describes as “symbolist-surrealist” and sometimes infused with a baroque flair, paying homage to his Italian origins.
Thierry Benenati’s artworks play with various forms of disparities and paradoxes, occasionally laced with humor, as seen in his “Elephant-Roses,” a cheerful and elegant allegory of intoxication (in reference to the saying “seeing pink elephants”). While he initially excelled in interpreting the human figure, his sculptures now predominantly focus on the representation of the animal kingdom, often evoking a phantasmagorical bestiary rich in symbols and metaphors.
His latest series of animal sculptures incorporating gears, chains, and other mechanical components, such as “Gare au Gorille,” “Lévrier de compétition,” and “Taureau-Machine,” not only references the primal and formidable power of these predators but also reflects the artist’s ambitions: to seamlessly blend a style rooted in the “classical” with resolutely contemporary elements.
Furthermore, the sculptor doesn’t limit himself to using just one medium but values mixed techniques. His bronzes are typically cast from originals combining plaster, iron, and wax. As for his unique steel pieces, which are the masterpieces of his production, they result from a demanding and complex blacksmith’s work. He heats the rough and sharp structures to 3500°C, working them layer by layer, cutting, bending, welding them together, giving birth to massive volumes with graceful and delicate lines.
One of his steel masterpieces is a 1.90-meter-high ostrich adorned with numerous diamonds, gemstones, and lavish pearls. Titled “Miss Bling-Bling,” it evokes a graceful feathered personification of the French Cancan.
Since 2010, his work has gained recognition and received awards at various Contemporary Art Salons. This success has continued to grow over the years, including winning the Foundation Taylor Prize at the Salon D’Automne in 2014 and the prestigious Sandoz Prize in 2016. In 2021, the city of Fontenay-aux-Roses commissioned a monumental sculpture from him to adorn the square in front of its town hall. The creation of his “Coq-aux montres” was closely followed by a film crew and was featured in a report broadcast on TF1.