Through Whimsical Wooden Sculptures, Christian Verginer Explores Childhood Curiosity and Connection

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Detail of “The Tree in Me.” All images © Christian Verginer, shared with permission

From large pieces of basswood, artist Christian Verginer carves figurative sculptures that meld the play and wonder of adolescence with the vitality of the natural world. Leafy branches grow like pigtails, a bird perches on the zipper of a hoodie, and two young boys sit on ladders that lead to treetops and clouds. Textured by small gouges, the works contrast realistic renditions of children with fantastical elements, the latter of which the artist tends to paint in a single color like vibrant green, slate gray, or beige.

Verginer is broadly interested in the ways humans and nature intersect, which he conveys through a sense of curiosity and embodied connection between the two. Some sculptures foster such relationships through three-dimensional forms, like the deceased bird the girl pinches between her fingers as in “Different Stories.” Others reference shadows, including “Two Stories” and “Different Time,” which overlay silhouettes of trees and flowers atop the young figures’ bodies.

Based in the Alto Adige region of northern Italy, Verginer works in a studio he shares with his father Willy Verginer (previously) and brother Matt Verginer. Each maintains a distinct practice, although the artist shares that the environment is well-suited for feedback and critique. All three will show together this May at a gallery in Nürnberg, although you can see Christian Verginer’s work this month with Kirk Gallery at Art Herning. Otherwise, find more of his sculptures on his site and Instagram.


“Too far too close” (2023), plinth, limewood, iron wire, and acrylic, 140 x 40 centimeters

“The Tree in Me”

“Different stories” (2021), limewood and acrylics, 135 x 41 centimeters

“Different times” (2022)

“Two stories” (2022), limewood and aluminum acrylics, 68 centimeters

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