Art: Shoes

Paris' Bernard Lorjou may stick to his conviction that art is a solemn business; to Rome's Fabius Gugel it is no such thing. Gugel's working philosophy is expressed in a neat double negative. "Nothing," he says, "pays off more in the end than not being too serious in art. It's all right to make other people think it's serious, but the artist should never take it too seriously himself."

German-born Fabius Gugel went to Rome 20 years ago. Since then he has sprouted a black goatee and decided to stay. At 40, he thrives at his profession, which embraces theater sets, commercial...