Saints, superheroes, Donald Trump, even God. In “Mr Quarantine,” on display at the Fabbrica EOS gallery, artist Giuseppe Veneziano did not leave out any of his topos. And it is from the most famous iconographies in the history of art that the Sicilian artist has imagined the lives of his subjects among the walls of their homes, thus recounting his lockdown spent in Milan.
Veneziano’s works are born from three passages: the subjects are defined first through pencil drawing, then watercolour is the first step of the chromatic study, followed by the moment of crystallisation on canvas, through acrylic paint. “I cannot be an instinctive or gestural painter,” he says, “I need a project. In fact I sometimes use tracing paper, which comes from experience as an architect”.
The works depict tormented expressions when in pencil, they evolve into more relaxed stretches in acrylic, ultimately becoming abstract coloured surfaces defining a pop-meditative atmosphere. If the construction of his paintings comes from the methodological residue of his training in architecture, the expressive immediacy and the relationship with the news come from the exercise of the “synthesis of the representation of facts”. As a matter of fact, Veneziano worked for six years as a cartoonist at the Giornale di Sicilia, one of Sicily’s local newspapers. The artist’s background thus informs his painting process and quick response to news cycles.
Veneziano tells us that his aim is to annotate what happens today, starting from “the facts that make the strings of my sensitivity vibrate, translating them into my artistic language”. His paintings are the result of automatisms: he confesses that he did not think of doing a show while painting the works presented today at “Mr Quarantine” exhibition. Conversely, in those days at home, he felt “the need to communicate what was happening through painting. I used Facebook live streams to satisfy the curiosity of those who meet my work by showing the process”. Veneziano states that he does not recognise any form of mystery in the process, except for the work of art in itself. “Perhaps this does not apply to those artists who choose performance as their expression, for example. But for those who are like me, who work with slowness, it is so that I decided to open the camera of my smartphone, and narrate about the subjects of Titian or Raphael that I took possession of”.
Giancarlo Pedrazzini, gallery owner and director of Fabbrica EOS, sees the exhibition as “a representation of a barycentric state of mind that we experienced collectively. The reason why [Giuseppe Veneziano] is with me is that the project recounts the temperature of a moment, in a disenchanted and metaphorical way: but who, among us, does not recognise himself in Veneziano’s Joker, taken from Hopper’s Morning Sun, lost as he looks out of the window?”.
- Exhibition title:
- Mr. Quarantine
- Giuseppe Veneziano
- Curated by:
- Ivan Quaroni
- Fabbrica Eos Arte Contemporanea
- Viale Pasubio, angolo via Bonnet, 20154 Milan
- 8 October - 19 November 2020