Paolo Canevari’s works express poetics rich in symbolic references and variations of meaning within a well recognisable iconography. With clear irony and brutality, his work suggests a genuine and critical account of the present, representing the historical and contemporary social conscience. His distinctive material style is developed through various mediums, mostly consisting of simple materials, such as his emblematic inner tubes and tyres: poor materials, with their peculiar black colour, which, when reworked in sculptures and installations, give rise to solemn and severe, archetypal and contemporary forms.
These characteristics, according to the artist’s definition, delineate his art in terms of Baroque Minimalism: “I think the two terms, even if apparent opposites, express my poetics in a very precise way…” (from the interview “Metafisica Aurea” with Davide Landoni in Artlife).
Also on display are ten large matrix plates from the cycle of etchings called Decalogo created by Canevari in 2008 in collaboration with the Istituto Nazionale per la Grafica of Rome. The themes investigate topics associated with war, violence and the human condition. Each plate represents an icon that is part of the artist’s lexicon and imaginative world, subjects representing burning objects: a gun, a skull, a suit hanging from a cross, a tree, the Colosseum, a copy of Mein Kampf, allegories of political decadence and its destructive capacity or images of anguishing personifications of the privation of personal freedom, of the negative consequences of religion on society: a swing made with a tyre hanging from gallows, a dog chained to a large tyre with the word “God” (the inverse of “Dog”) written on it, a pistol on a bible and a man with his arms outstretched to receive a bomb falling on him.
Appearing for the first time in Italy is The Golden Room, the installation for the Bangkok Biennial 2018, composed of large paintings covered in gold leaf: “a mineral and not a colour”, as declared by the artist, the forms take on the classic contours of the fifteenthcentury Fondi Oro and the profiles of ‘communication’ between interior and exterior in architecture, such as windows and doors. These latest works by Canevari are based on the concept of form as content in a synthesis of mental representation, where the image is completely absent in order to leave space for the imagination, in an evocative and metaphysical relationship with the work.