Calcúra is an editorial visual journey through Sardinia. Through a series of conversations and photo stories Acre has created a showcase of the Sardinian creative scene.
Several voices have been told. Each of them represents an interweaving, a root in the soil that creates intimate worlds just waiting to be discovered.

Cenzo Cocca is a young artist who lives and works in northern Sardinia. In his works, portraits, childhood memories, abstract thoughts are transferred in every stitch and seam. Every work of Cenzo Cocca is a constant game between straight and backwards, an interweaving of threads and thoughts that give life to an unprecedented dialogue. We interviewed him for the Calcùra project.

Tell us about yourself, about your education, especially in relation to the artistic language that characterizes you today: sewing

I am Cenzo Cocca, 27 years old and I was born in Ghilarza. I lived 6 years in Norbello then I moved to Olmedo, a village in the center of Sardinia, between Alghero and Sassari.

I started my artistic career in 2015, as I attended the Academy of tailoring in Nuoro by Giuseppe Pinu. There I began to approach the world of art, thanks to a professor who helped me to understand and learn about contemporary and modern art. During my academic career I tried to combine tailoring with contemporary art. Then I started to sew by hand on the cardboard, as well as on the fabric and so began a journey that I have carried on until now.

After the second year of the academy, I won a scholarship from the Antonio Sulas Foundation that allowed me to realize the first artistic project, dedicated to Sulas himself, a professor from Nuoro and a great designer who built the first hotels on the Costa Smeralda. Master of art, painter, a very particular figure that I decided to tell through the shirts of Sartoria Pinu going to sew the faces that revolved around the professor himself.
This was the first real approach to contemporary art. Then I started to work more and more with paper, cardboard and from there a lot of new research began.

telos opera cento cocca
Courtesy of Cenzo Cocca

Maria Lai defined sewing as a path that unites places and intentions’, what is your approach to the fabric? 

I started sewing by learning the classic tailoring method and during the breaks a rejection for the technique itself was almost born. So I started to abandon classic tailoring points, almost as a rebellion. My first approach to sewing is this: every now and then I insert some stitch from classic tailoring, but almost always now I have given up the technique.

I see the fabric as a support to know, it becomes almost a mirror: I see myself, I know it, I cut and sew it. Obviously I see the fabric as a double, it has a forehand and a backhand. My intent is to work on two parts, the first is a classic image and once I pierce that fabric I go out the other side and try to get to know a new part. Then there is a third part that I don’t see, as if there is another part of myself that I am trying to discover by going beyond the fabric.

You have dedicated several jobs to home and living. Would you like to tell us about one in particular? 

The project Abitare dedicated to living was born in 2019, after seeing the project of the house where I grew up from 6 years onwards. I started stitching the planimetry in the sheet.. You start sewing the first part, then you go into the second part, the back, and try to understand and make connections with all the rooms. The idea is to explore the theme of living, in this case in my house, as the theatre of existence, investigating the room, the place where you spend a lot of time as a child.

I started from here and then moved on to the images of living. The images we have of our own home but also of the homes of others in which we feel comfortable. Then I started to work on the senses, creating small cubes with written words-images and abstract thoughts.

I always dedicate a part to the abstract, so in these 4 parts of the cube I inserted the words and the abstracts (it’s a theme I’m carrying on), the last part I’m going to touch is photography, with the help of photographers who will take a look outside the house. I will work on the photos, tying the threads, tying myself to the vision of a photographer who does not know the house but sees something familiar in it.

You are a Sardinian artist who lives and creates here in Sardinia. What is the relationship with the island? 

I also dedicate my work to Sardinian folklore, trying to reinterpret it in a contemporary way, using game cards. Living in Sardinia and with art is not easy, but for me it is the right environment in which to create. For what I do, it is essential to spend time with the support. Surely in a big city you wouldn’t be able to spend time with it in this way, with this silence, this rhythm, these sounds. That’s important to me.

I see Sardinia as a silent place that gives you so much on an emotional level, in addition to the strong roots we all have. I take inspiration from the earth, a land that offers you so much that you can not look around. Many people run away, leave and then come back and say ‘yes, maybe I should have looked around’. Well, I’m looking around now and maybe I’ll go outside, but I’ll leave sure I really know Sardinia: the land. That’s where I get my inspiration, simply from the land.  

sa mandra sardegna
Courtesy of Cenzo Cocca

Tell us about Telos, your site-specific work exhibited here in Sa Mandra

The idea of the soft room was born in March, after the curator Stefano saw the fabrics present in Azienda Agrituristica Sa Mandra. The initial idea was to create a soft wall, after seeing the fabrics instead we asked to create a soft room, not a wall.

So we went to recover the fabrics from the chests and wall to wall we started to build a real puzzle of fabrics: from the sheets to cover the bread, from the bedspreads, from the towels used to cover the children, from doilies, so we decided to put it all together trying to create a dialogue. The idea was to create a warm, welcoming room and the goal was just to give warmth almost like a hug, a room that hugs you.