PAOLO CANEVARI

Born in Rome in 1963, Paolo Canevari lives and works between Rome and New York. Born in an elevator and raised in a family where his grandfather was a painter mosaicist and his uncle a sculptor, Canevari is one of the most internationally renowned artists of his generation. Coming from a family of painters and sculptors who worked with an espressive rhetoric based on sacral and military imagery, which included the Roman she-wolf and eagle, helmet and sword. It was his inevitable destiny to become an artist who sought a mobile material and language strove for the anti-monumental. For these reasons, from the start of his creative development, Canevari has been fascinated by the icons which since the war’s end have shaped the memory of Italian culture, but the subjects them to an anti-nostalgic process, in which the material of their figuration evokes the crisis and decline of a civilization. Indeed, his work stems from thoughts and reflections on the transient nature of art and on the significance of artistic sculptures in modern society. While wondering on the value and origin of the most intimate aspects of memory, the artist develops his own personal language where symbols, pop culture, historical knowledge and politics are intertwined in a new interpretation of daily life. Canevari uses different media and materials, from sculptures to installations, from drawings to video. Everything fragile is poetic. Drawing is by its nature this: an example of fragility and poetry. The drawing remains a unique sign compared to its sister writing. It is only reproducible visually and cannot be read, recited or transcribed. Canevari has always sought an alternative support to paper, one that would not deny the idea of drawing, in fact one that would make it more unique. The works on glass, the projections and etchings, the worls on marble, all stemmed from this idea, of a drawing in another dimension, another material, another life. The artist’s urge to place a sign on a material synonymous with sculpture, solidity, immortality, is meant to reflect the fragility of art even in its traditionally strongest element. The black marble surface is the opposite of the sheet of paper with its whiteness, the carved sign does not allow for mistakes, as does graphite. We “remove, not add,” as Michelangelo siad about sculpture. The sign is only a scratch on the stone that has waited millions of years. Now it lives. The connection with historical movements and the influence they have on younger artists is a natural thing.  Canevari has participated in numerous museum exhibitions, public commissions and publications throughout Europe, the Americas and Asia. In 2007 he participated at the 52nd Biennial in Venice curated by Robert Storr. His work is collected by major museums throughout the World: Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato; Museum of Modern art MoMA, New York; Foundation Louis Vuitton pour la Creation, Paris; Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation, Miami; Macro, Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rome; MART Museo d’Arte Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto; Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg; Istituto Nazionale per la Grafica Calcografia Nazionale, Rome; GNAM Galleria Nazionale di Arte Moderna, Rome; Perna Foundation, Capri; Olnick Spanu Art Program Garrison, New York.