Mimmo Paladino

Untitled

Untitled

 1995. Bronze: edition 1/5. 22 1/2 x 58 x 31 inches, 57.2 x 147.3 x 78.7 cm. SW 96141. Private Collection

 

Biography

Mimmo Paladino was born in Paduli, near Benevento in southern Italy in 1948. He spent his childhood in Naples and studied at the Liceo Artistico in Benevento (1964-1968). His first solo exhibition was held at the Studio Oggetto, Caserta in 1969 and since then he has exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions worldwide.

A major retrospective of his work was held in Munich at the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus in 1985. Other major solo exhibitions include: Galleria Civica d'Arte Contemporanea in Trento (1992), Forte Belvedere, Florence (1993), Scuderie di Palazzo Reale, Piazza del Plebiscito and Villa Pignatelli, Naples (1995-6), South London Gallery (1999). Most recently a major retrospective of his work was on show at the Centro per l'Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato, Italy (2002-03). Paladino's work is held in public collections worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum in New York and the Tate Gallery in London.

 

Carnival I

Carnival I

Drypoint. This work was exhibited in Die Oog gallery, Oudsthoorn, South Africa, as part of the Flesh! exhibition curated by Chris Diedericks in 2007.

 

Un treno per Dulcinea

Un treno per Dulcinea

 2005. Mixed media on gold leaf on board. 118 1/8 x 236 ¼ in / 300 x 600 cm

 

Perfect Room

Perfect Room

 2006. Oil on canvas, 51 1/4 x 43 1/4 in / 130 x 110 cm

 

Poema Etrusco

Poema Etrusco

2006. Oil on canvas, 51 1/4 x 43 1/4 in / 130 x 110 cm

Mimmo at Sperone Westwater Gallery, NYC

Of his recent cycle of 12 paintings, "Il Respiro della bellezza" (The Breath of Beauty), 6 of which were displayed in this show, Mimmo Paladino has said that monochromatic painting was a "starting point" and that he "wanted to do something like Ad Reinhardt did-to look for the same absoluteness, but without sacrificing the imagery."

Like Reinhardt's late paintings, these Paladinos are all square; otherwise they are the antithesis of everything Reinhardt believed by the time he began working on his monochromatic paintings of the late 1960s. If anything- and even this would be stretching it- they have more in common with Reinhardt's vividly colored paintings from the early '50s, such as Abstract Painting, Yellow and White.

There is nothing remotely reductive or minimal about Paladino's new paintings, but they are theatrical: from the vertical, coffin-shaped construction over the center of most works to the colors- strong Neapolitan reds, greens, and yellows- to the mysterious symbolic imagery Paladino often uses. One painting, Il Respiro della bellezza VI, is almost maudlin- against a bright red background that has been gouged and slashed, Paladino has painted two classical faces (one is on the coffin) with tears running down their cheeks.

In his search for absoluteness, Paladino has taken a different path from Reinhardt, exploring death and metamorphosis instead of emptying a canvas of color, texture, and meaning. But the results are no less compelling. Most important, he shows, as Reinhardt did, that there is nothing absolute about life or painting.

By Edith Newhall
Artnews, September 1991, p. 123-124

 

Architettura I

2005. Oil on canvas, 98 1/2 x 118 in / 250 x 300 cm

 

I am personally fascinated with the work of Paladino simply because he is an absolute maverick. I have been fortunate to see his work in London, NYC and Italy. Paladino's signature style cannot be mistaken for any artist although I have never seen two shows with the same "look". The artist is always re-inventing himself, and this is most probably the most important influence in my own work. I never want my exhibitions to "look" the same. I always want to challenge myself to create conceptually challenging work, and not merely end up moving the same imagery around on the media I work with.

I also share Paladino's intense fascination with the human condition and religion. I believe that we both had the same staunch religious upbringing. It was an honour to have met him personally at the 51st Venice Biennial in 2005. The art of Mimmo Paladino is one of the most important influences in my own work.

 

Il Respiro della Bellezza VIII

 1991. Oil on wood, 81 x 81 x 12 in / 205 x 205 x 30 cm

 

Untitled

 2005. Painted aluminium, 74 x 30 x 19 in / 199 x 77 x 48 cm

 

Untitled

2005. Painted aluminium, 80 x 38 1/2 x 25 1/2 in / 202 x 98 x 65 cm

 

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