Patrizio Di Massimo

Cin Cin, 2016

watercolour on paper

42 x 29.7 cm

€ 1000 - 3000


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Artwork
Description

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Patrizio Di Massimo, born in 1983, is an Italian artist based in London. Despite his numerous stays in foreign countries, Di Massimo’s practice verges consistently towards the classical legacy of the Italian culture  – specifically towards its socio-political and historical issues – depicting it on canvas and paper as it encounters the poetic, yet enigmatic, dimension of dreams.

Di Massimo remains faithful to his practice both on paper and canvas: he correlates the portrayal of the human figure to the depths of the mind, by keeping the person as a core element in his artworks – which are set in the subconscious.

In Cin Cin, Di Massimo combines the mythological and the historical, giving his interpretation to the creation of life. The allegory of water as carrier of life is predominant in the drawing: contorted limbs emerge out of the water poured by two amphorae, referencing the ancient Greek and Roman mythology. The water spills copiously, and, as it blends and splashes on the ground, it creates life, suggesting the artist’s painting process as an allegory for creation. A few unconscious, yet peaceful looking figures that appear from the stream contrast the tumultuous process, giving an overall sense of serenity to the artwork.

Di Massimo approaches the subject of myth with simplicity, stripping it from its usual, grandiose representations: the artist depicts it on plain white paper with diluted black, yellow, and red inks to give depth to the subjects.

About
the artist

Patrizio di Massimo was born in Jesi, Italy, in 1983. He was formally educated at Brera, Milan’s Academy of Fine Arts between 2003-2007, eventually moving on to complete a Master of Arts at Slade School of Fine Art in London 2007-2009.  He now lives and works in London.

On one hand, Di Massimo is a historiographer; his early work reexamines the politics of modernist European conflict and the failure of the continental utopia. By revealing the corruptible nature of historical inheritance, Di Massimo has challenged the basis for Western cultural hegemony, notably commenting on Italy’s attempt to colonise Ethiopia and Libya during the first half of the 20th century.

Yet what begins as an investigation of socio-political or historical issues often turns from “an aesthetic experience into a cognitive act,” and new generations attach contemporary value to the concerns of the past. Artifactual data has been continually framed as art throughout history, and a kind of rhetorical appropriation of its significance has arisen out of cultural memory and the politics with which it is displayed.

Such a collective approach to history fascinated Di Massimo and has figured prominently in his video, photography, and performance work, but lately he has instead been exploring more intimate and evocative imagery through painting and the genre of portraiture, self-portraiture specifically, one that is aptly suited to move his practice in a more personal direction.

Despite graduating from The Slade School of Fine Art in 2009, Di Massimo is a self-taught painter, and each of his canvases is an attempt to “restore the painting’s ancient functions of illustration and visual storytelling.” For the artist, “working with themes of the past means re-structuring them in the present.” Indeed, his paintings carry visible traces of his inspirations (from Otto Dix to Walt Disney), but they are reinvented for the modern eye.

In Di Massimo’s paintings, the human figure remains at the centre, but the boundaries of its poetics are pushed to the twisted, the eerie, and, most overtly, the erotic. The body is a spectacle, beguiling while simultaneously hedonistic, lewd, or even violent. They are performative, and the viewer notes that the same personages appear as if they are projections of the artist’s own ego. Di Massimo’s works can thus be viewed as, at least in part, self portraits, for he explores the intersection between fantasy and reality so central to individual human consciousness.


In Di Massimo’s paintings, the human figure remains at the centre, but the boundaries of its poetics are pushed to the twisted, the eerie, and, most overtly, the erotic. The body is a spectacle, beguiling while simultaneously hedonistic, lewd, or even violent.

For the artist, “working with themes of the past means re-structuring them in the present.” Indeed, his paintings carry visible traces of his inspirations (from Otto Dix to Walt Disney), but they are reinvented for the modern eye.


Patrizio Di Massimo
on Artuner

Part of the
exhibition

April 12th, 2018 until
April 24th, 2018
Curated by ARTUNER