I’ve long been obsessed with secret babies and taboos. Thus, my love for artist Federico Clapis. His babies aren’t the polished perfection of society’s status quo. They sit inside stretched bellies. Sometimes a Federico baby’s just an idea. Other times his babies cry. All Clapis art works like this. It’s somehow more real than expected. After all, sometimes babies really are just an idea.
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That’s how we experience an infant when it’s announced but not yet born. It’s mostly in our minds. Art also exists this way. After we leave artwork behind it stays with us. That remnant’s more than an everyday memory. The art’s imprint lasts because it moves us. Art means something. This is especially true with Federico Clapis.
The baby above floats and clings as an artwork entitled Welcome. Like many of his pieces, it speaks for itself. This brown baby clutches a welcome mat – adrift at sea. Federico Clapis often asks his millions of fans to share their thoughts on his work. He’s not one to ramble on about it. Instead, his work provokes the viewer and draws out their views. He stays quiet. It’s through our assumptive comments that the work speaks. We may discover untapped ideas in our reactions to his work. For instance, this piece could be about child abandonment. It might refer to refugees in crisis. Perhaps the baby represents humanity – adrift and clinging to hope. One thing remains clear, Federico’s work entices the intellect and excites emotions.
Babies By Federico Clapis
The piece above, MamaEgotchi plays with a modern toy theme. About 80 million Tamagotchis have sold worldwide. In fact, the inventor won an IG Nobel Prize for Economics. This toy’s established A-List. So, Federico Clapis the sculptor confidently fiddles with the name to entitle his concrete piece. His Ego insertion seems subtle in the name. But it makes a profound impact.
For instance, this piece could refer to babies as ego boosters and toys. People have babies for all sorts of egocentric reasons. They sometimes even treat an infant like a Tamagotchi. When an infant first comes home it’s a hamster wheel of: feed-change-burp-feed-change-burp. It’s repetitive to the point of robotic to some degree. But this piece points out that babies aren’t ego boosters or toys. They’re human above all else.
Federico Clapis babies are wrinkled and cranky. They shriek. MamaEgotchi can mean whatever you’d like. In fact, Clapis invites these interpretations. He says, “Write a comment about your sensation,” in this Instagram post. Lucky for Federico Clapis, many oblige. The title seems to hint that this piece speaks to neediness. After all, need fulfillment belies the Tamagotchi challenge. Ahhhhh, one might think. That’s also what’s hard about babies. Sure, babies have fun elements. But they are indeed needier than Tamagotchi. You can’t take their batteries out and start over when you screw it up. That’s when you gotta face the MamaEgotchi in the mirror.
Technology & Federico Clapis
Born in 1987, former YouTube star, and Instagram maestro, Federico Clapis knows technology and taboo. It shows in his work. The piece above, BabyDrone (Rust Edition) exemplifies this. A drone drops off Mr. Thumbsucker baby just like the storks of yore. There are several sleeker versions of BabyDrone. One’s shiny bronze and another pure white resin. But I like this one best. It’s got a raw quality that feels organic and real. Sure, a drone is dropping off a baby. The feeling’s so authentic even if the scenario remains absurd. Still, babies are sometimes delivered via tech these days. There are so many ways to make a baby – many of them high tech. Technology colors every aspect of our lives. That’s why BabyDrone isn’t the most tech-savvy baby in the Clapis art universe.
This honor goes to a fetus, still in the womb. Federico’s most high tech baby graces London’s Oxo Tower Wharf. The Connection (below) shines lovely and bright bronze against a blue sky. An outdoor public art piece, one does feel a connection to it. That’s because we all know the feeling of escaping into our phones. This fetus stays intimately connected to its mother through blood and heartbeats. But the phone holds the baby’s attention captive. We can no longer access that in-the-womb feeling for real. The smartphone bond, remains relatable, though. Thus, Federico Clapis connects with us. He uses babies well in his work. After all, everybody was a baby once. So, we can all see ourselves in his shiny tiny sculptures.