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    Il tema dei fiori

    Mimmo Paladino
    December 3rd, 2022 - January 31st, 2023
    Il tema dei fiori | Mimmo Paladino
    Mazzoli Gallery / via Nazario Sauro 62, Modena

    Mimmo Paladino was born in Paduli (BN) in 1948.
    In the 1960s, fascinated by the cultural climate of the time, including Conceptual Art and Pop Art in America, he began to make conceptual experiments, then shifting his focus to figurative painting. In 1978 he made his first trip to New York, where two years later he had two solo exhibitions, at the Marian Goodman Gallery and the Annina Nosei Gallery. In 1980 he took part in the Venice Biennale in the Aperto ’80 section, where Achille Bonito Oliva officially presented the Transavanguardia. During the 1980s his poetic imagery took form on large canvases full of allegorical figures. The artist depicted inexpressive masks, animals, symbols rich in primitive ritual impressions. He no longer operated only through painting, but also utilized various other techniques: from drawing to engraving, to the insertion of three-dimensional elements on canvases, also in a constant, intense dialogue with sculpture. In 1982 at Zeitgeist in Berlin he showed his first sculpture in multicolored bronze, Giardino Chiuso, which was to become an exhibition-event at Galleria Mazzoli during the following year. In 1988 Paladino was invited to the 43rd Venice Biennale, where in the gardens and at the entrance to Padiglione Italia he presented a large installation with a bronze door seven meters high, and the first Testimoni in stone. The exhibition activity abroad, which began in the 1980s, became more intense in the 1990s: in 1994 Paladino was one of the first Italian contemporary artists to show work at the National Museum of Fine Arts in Beijing. In the 1990s he began to make large installations and projects in urban spaces, such as the permanent Hortus Conclusus in the cloister of San Domenico in Benevento (1992). In 1995 an exhibition was held in Naples at the Scuderie di Palazzo Reale, Villa Pignatelli Cortes and Piazza Plebiscito, where he installed the Montagna di Sale. In 1999 a large exhibition at the South London Gallery included 20 Testimoni, and that same year he created the installation I Dormienti in the underground spaces of the Roundhouse in London, a work in dialogue with sounds provided by Brian Eno. That same year, the Royal Academy of London made him an Honorary Member. During this period he also produced many theater sets, an activity that still continues today, which in 2004 brought him the UBU Prize for best set design. The Luigi Pecci Center for Contemporary Art of Prato, in 2002, held an important retrospective of his work curated by Bruno Corà. In 2003 Paladino was chosen as a representative of Italian art during the Italian presidency in Brussels: the equestrian sculpture Zenith was installed in the plaza of the European Parliament headquarters. That same year, the exhibition Transavanguardia 1979-1985 was held at the Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art, curated by Ida Gianelli. In 2005 the Capodimonte Museum of Naples held an important exhibition on Don Quixote which led to Quijote, the feature-length film directed by the artist during the following year, presented with great success at the Venice Film Festival. In 2008 Paladino had an exhibition at the Museum of the Ara Pacis in Rome, with the participation of the musician Brian Eno, and made an important installation, Porta di Lampedusa – Porta d'Europa on the island of Lampedusa to commemorate the migrants who have perished at sea. In 2009 he showed a series of sculptures in the streets, squares and buildings of the town of Orta San Giulio, on Lake Orta, curated by Flavio Arensi. In 2011 the city of Milan organized a large retrospective at Palazzo Reale, with the installation of a monumental Montagna di sale in front of the building. In 2012, MIC Faenza exhibited his ceramics, and he was named an Honorary Member of the Pontifical Academy of Fine Arts in the Vatican by Pope Benedict XVI. In 2015 he took part in the 61st Venice Biennale, and in 2016 he had a solo exhibition at Galleria Christian Stein in Milan. The exhibition Ouverture was held in 2017, with the insertion of over 40 works in Brescia, in the museum and in public spaces around the city; during the following year, the exhibition Pane e oro was organized with the Made In Cloister Foundation in Naples, an event that was a prelude to the project for a charity soup kitchen in collaboration with the chef Massimo Bottura. In 2019, Paladino had a solo exhibition titled La Regola di Piero in Arezzo, in dialogue with the work of Piero della Francesca. That same year, he created a large sculptural work, a permanent installation in the Archaeology Park of Paestum. Recent installations include the work PaladinoPiacenza in 2020, composed of 18 monumental fiberglass horses placed in Piazza Cavalli in Piacenza. In 2021 he received an honorary degree in Visual Arts from the prestigious Università Alma Mater Studiorum of Bologna. This year the artist is working on the production of his second feature-length film, titled La Divina Cometa, freely inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy.

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    On Saturday 3 December 2022 at 18.30, Galleria Mazzoli opens the solo exhibition by Mimmo Paladino titled Il tema dei fiori (The Theme of Flowers). The artist returns to Galleria Mazzoli after the exhibition EN DE RE in 1980, the solo show in 1992, the exhibition Dieci arazzi with Alighiero Boetti in 1993, Vasi Ermetici in 1994 and the solo shows in 2012 and 2014.
    He is presenting a cycle of works never shown before in which the protagonists are flowers, a recurring subject in the entire history of art, from antiquity to the present. For this exhibition, Paladino has made large-scale and smaller works, in a combination of painting, sculpture, engraving and drawing, featuring his heads, the human figure and his classic geometric figures formulated with primordial signs. Works in which we can perceive the dialogue between man and nature, through material layering and floral elements immersed in the artist’s poetic imaginary.
    In the essay for the catalogue of the exhibition, Lorenzo Madaro speaks of “Flowers that sprout up, flowers that mingle with arcane anthropomorphic bodies, flowers that persist and others that dissolve; flowers that rise up vertically, and others that make unfathomable voyages, and reveal in an even more precise way that for Paladino this theme is not an end in itself, because after all in his research there are no themes, but rather premises that allow him greater nonchalance, a semantic freedom, also beyond the sign itself. […] The form of these flowers is totemic, archaic, it belongs to a visual lexicon which in the artist’s research is an integral part of a hermetic but at the same time now familiar alphabet. Observing them, we see that these canvases are single sections of a wider, open discourse, part of a large garden, which is a theme that has belonged to Paladino for some time.”

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    Mimmo Paladino / Il tema dei fiori

    exhibition's catalogue
    Mimmo Paladino / Il tema dei fiori
    Mimmo Paladino | Il tema dei fiori:
    Essay by Lorenzo Madaro
    60 pages, color images
    500 numbered copies

    Published by Mazzoli Gallery. Modena, 2022.

    Mimmo Paladino
    + Mimmo Paladino, Il tema dei fiori - Mazzoli Gallery, Modena 2022