This is the value of the sculpture, the more it moves away from the handy, and more it moves towards its own mystery.
 Francesca Cataldi was born in Naples, where she graduated from Fine Arts Academy. She lives and works in Rome.
She holds his first solo exhibition in 1964 and then many others in Italy. The beginning of her artistic activity is strictly pictorial (informal painting), but by the end of the '70s she stars a research on plastic materials in order to approach a third dimension, that of sculpture, which suites her better (iron, fiberglass, copper, bitumen, tar, glass, cement, cellulose, paper handwritten, photogravures). All poor materials which take on new meanings, processed in the unconscious of the viewer, through the play of light and volumes.
The artist gets significant results as demonstrated by the important solo and group exhibitions in Italy and abroad and by the participation in the Venice Biennale in 1995 and 1997. In 1990 and 1992, she is consultant for the art for the Book Fair in Naples and for RAI International; in 1998 and 1999 she holds seminars on art at high school in Weiz, Austria.
Since 1995 she is also teacher at the Europaische Kunstakademie of Trier, Germany.
            The techniques of the artist fit the materials on which she operates, and vice versa, adapting to the aim to express the world of her imagination. The material is lived and  consumed by time, it is never bland, new or new-born: is ancient material and it belongs to a collective past. Shards, fragments, recycled melamine, which extend their rough surfaces on what has already happened, while the present is like a transparent covering that lets to glimpse the future.
The same methodology is applied to the stones, which first are enveloped in iron scraps and then vitrified. Each is a microcosm imprisoned, almost as an archaeological memory condensed in a single object, a reduction to the essential that refers neither to primitivism or minimalism, but only at the extreme fascination of the material in its primacy and its mystery from which it launches on going challenges.
The same technique is even more visible in the books, starting from Athathari (book presented at the Venice Biennale of 1995), or, better yet, by Asphaltos, in concrete and tar.
The word “book” is a keyword in the research of Francesca Cataldi: it is a symbol of thought and at the same time it shows the continuous contamination and fragmentation in the course of time, intersecting material and characters by a net reversal of rank between subject and object.
            It is a sort of reappropriation of abandoned materials which come back to life thanks to a pitiful redemption. Old archival documents, old city maps and old maps. For the artist, what is old is essential, because right by the sedimentation of time and by the stratification of the experience, an internal mechanism - almost emotional – takes form and it allows what has been abandoned and forgotten to live again.
         In the books of glass, Francesca Cataldi tries to stratify in transparencies the metal scraps. Because the waste is the secret history, the way in which archaeologists unearth the previous cultures. A pile of bones or of a broken tool tell us about the life and thoughts of those who preceded us, and somewhere in its depths, there is a whisper of mystical contemplation, which the artist seems to be appropriate to the theme of waste.
As regards the small books of stone or of paper, they are the places where take form the stories of materials, of colours and maybe even men. For Cataldi this is the way to tell stories, to fantasize, to immerse herself in other times and in other realities.
            From this fascination, Francesca Cataldi moves to construct the paper panels. Blending the paper using also the techniques acquired in other experiences, she realizes panels which recall the materials made by the thinking. In this way, when she inserts  images found long the way - images which she recycles and treats such as the others materials - everything becomes more abstract and historically stratified.
The plans are stratified by multiplying - if we think the paper that crushes everything on a single sheet - these panels in the outside and the inside are integrated, container and content come together permanently.
            The artist investigates the different souls of papers using also the language of the video.  Through the fusion between paper and video, she tries to read the paths of things and of people along the streets, designed such as a large moving river that allows the populations open up to external contacts.
Note biografiche
Francesca Cataldi