Mimmo Paladino

28 Sep - 21 Nov 2006

"New paintings"

For some thirty years Mimmo Paladino has been considered one of the protagonists of the international art scene. His exhibitions surprise us each time and are always an important cultural event. The Cardi gallery and the Christian Stein gallery in Milan are pleased to present two shows of large-scale canvases and installations by Mimmo Paladino that demonstrate a particularly creative phase for this artist from Campania. Paladino has not been seen in Milan since the spring of 2003. He has recently directed Quijote, a cinematic re-creation of Don Quixote by Cervantes. The film – in which, among others, Alessandro Bergonzoni, Enzo Cucchi, Lucio Dalla, Remo Girone, Enzo Moscato, and Edoardo Sanguineti take part – was first shown at the Venice Cinema Biennale and has had a wide critical success. In the Cardi gallery Paladino will be showing, among other works, three large canvases, one of which is surrounded by a wide-bordered baroque frame which he has painted over. Another important work being presented is Fotogrammi, dipinti armati, an installation consisting of 34 small framed canvases with iron insertions. As the critic Demetrio Paparoni points out in his catalogue essay, the subjects of this work “are landscapes, portraits, and still-lifes laid out according to a plan the artist does not consider fixed. So, just as the various scenes of Quijote were made in order to be put together during editing, the individual canvases making up Fotogrammi, dipinti armati can take the place of any other. In other words, the work has been thought of as a pack of cards which give different combinations each time they are shuffled: by shifting the position of the individual canvases the work changes meaning without, however, losing its original identity. Paladino himself has said that Fotogrammi, dipinti armati derived from the experience of creating his Don Quixote, but that during the process of making it he decided to detach it from the original plan and make it autonomous. The work has in this way been charged with new meanings that the artist had not foreseen and which he then agreed to and was able to control. Once again it was the practice that suggested the theory. The canvases making up Fotogrammi, dipinti armati have a thin iron frame to which have been soldered iron objects similar to those used in Menelik, these too found in the workshop of his smith. To pick up cast-offs means for Paladino to use a form already existing in the world. But even though he uses found materials and objects in his work, it is not correct to speak of ready-mades: Duchamp aimed at eliminating the individual handcrafted aspect of art, something which Paladino, instead, has always made the most of.” In the Stein gallery Paladino will be presenting a large-scale installation of burnt wood representing human figures and fragments of bodies. Acting as a counterpart to this installation are two large canvases on which we find signs typical of the artist’s style: heads, geometry, and cryptograms. In these two new shows in Milan Paladino meditates further on the various themes that have interested him since the beginning of his career, above all on the “poetics of fragments”, an apparently chaotic assembly of marks (human and horse heads, arms, hands, legs, masks, helmets, cryptic symbols alluding to geometry, numbers...) all “stolen” from the history of art and made relevant through his personal style. “Once again”, Renato Cardi says, “Paladino confirms that for him painting has never died. In their capacity to go beyond the limits of the two-dimensionality of the picture plane, and in their ability to make use of such languages as cinema and music, these works show that it is still possible today to think of painting in new terms, though without rejecting traditional values.”

© Galleria Cardi

Tags: Enzo Cucchi, Mimmo Paladino