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Niçois Artist Nicolas Bianco Designs European Football Trophy

The Nice-born artist was chosen to design the 2020 Golden Boy trophy, awarded to the most promising under-21 footballer in Europe.

In November 2020, Norwegian Erling Haaland of legendary German team Borussia Dortmund was awarded the Golden Boy award for Europe's best young footballing talent: a prestigious accolade given in previous years to such household names as France's Kylian Mbappé, England's Wayne Rooney and Argentina's Lionel Messi. So, Mayor of Nice Christian Etroisi and his Culture Secretary Robert Roux were understandably delighted to see local artist Nicolas Bianco, whom they met last December, chosen to design a trophy for the award, which will be given annually to football prodigies in Europe from now on.

Footballer Erling Haaland holds his Nicolas Bianco trophy © Ville de Nice

Nicolas Bianco, born in Nice, is a self-taught artist and sculptor influenced by the likes of Yves Klein, Arman, Cesar, Sosno, Ben and Venet from the group of Côte d'Azur-based artists known collectively as the school of Nice. He discovered sculpture as his preferred means of expression, materialising memories of his childhood and adolescence during the 80s and 90s in marble works that give life to these bygone years.

Having discovered contemporary art at a young age, Bianco became aware of the power it has to transcend the very notion of a work of art. Although a viewer's focus is naturally drawn to the physical object before them, Bianco aims to transform, to transgress and expand its framework; he has developed his idiosyncratic style using innovative and daring techniques and images. He rewrites the great classics with a modern and toned-down script, in a way that is enlightened.

Artist Nicolas Bianco with his Golden Boy trophy © Nicolas Bianco Instagram

'Nostalgia', Bianco's series of objects, depicts each notable year of his youth with a symbol of growing up, such as his Lego, skateboard or basketball hoop sculptures. He uses fine, natural materials like marble and gold in simple monochromatic colours to craft his works. Their lines, curves, colours and textures are timeless, awakening in the viewer a sense of warm nostalgia.

'1992' by Nicolas Bianco (2017) © Nicolas Bianco

With its perfectly spherical form, delicate gold embellishments and polished white marble, we might be tempted to believe that Haaland's football, too, belongs to Bianco's collection of childhood memories elegantly immortalised in stone.

- Georgina Findlay

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