After the Argenti (silver) series, the magic of images continues with the Ori (gold) works in the present show, where erotic photographs from the late 1800s dissolve and rematerialize with gold enamel that conveys imagery made of flesh and dreams.
After Urban Icons in 2014, Wunderkammer Visionnaire is pleased to host a second exhibition dedicated to the research of the artist Paolo Leonardo. As in the urban actions and interventions on advertising posters with enamel paints, and the idea of street art as a political gesture, the aim of Paolo Leonardo remains that of freeing the feminine being from stereotypes, making her a subject and not just an object. After the Argenti (silver) series, the magic of images continues with the Ori (gold) works in the present show, where erotic photographs from the late 1800s dissolve and rematerialize with gold enamel that conveys imagery made of flesh and dreams.
To produce this series of works the artist has utilized ten images of female nudes, made by unidentified from 1880 to 1900, in albumen and gelatin silver prints.
The images from the collection of the Associazione per la Fotografia Storica of Turin were often taken by anonymous photographers, and were mostly made for artists at the time, who used them to study the female nude in different poses and to reproduce the figures in their paintings, working directly from the photographs without the need for live models. The painted intervention of Paolo Leonardo on enlargements of the original photographs printed on paper delivers the feminine figures to the dimension of a longer time span, elevating them to the rank of queens (Regine).
Born in Turin in 1973, Paolo Leonardo studied at the Accademia Albertina di Belle Arti. His work in painting represents a challenge to the contemporary media system, investigating the interaction between painting and photography. His creations are included in various private and public collections, in Italy and abroad.
Paolo Leonardo is interested in portrayals of women in our consumer society, drawing on an immense archive of advertising images that show modern woman in all her stereotypes. The artist glimpses a potential meaning in certain posters and photographs, and a kind of magical power in some, that leads him to establish a dialogue between the image and his painting. “I can’t bear to see the skyline of my hometown invaded by advertising images, by those faces and bodies that represent women, but at the same time dumb them down, stereotyping them and reducing them to commodities. One night in 1994, I tore down two big posters of women’s faces for the first time. After modifying them with painting in an Expressionist style, I illegally relocated them in street advertising displays. That’s how everything started, and that’s what I still do on the streets of Italy and abroad. When I choose an advertising image on the street, I realize that the photographic reproduction in it can have some potentials. Only through the isolation of this image from the others, I am able to develop a visual relationship in my studio, and the image redeems itself and gets a new own dignity through painting".
Paolo Leonardo, born in Turin in 1973 is an important artists in the new Italian art scene. Through a personal and autonomous painting, Leonardo has developed a topical research related to the relationship between art, photography and advertising.