Alan Cristea Gallery presents two exhibitions celebrating the work of Italian artist and founding figure of the Transavanguardia, Mimmo Paladino. At 31 Cork Street, a new body of work conceived specifically for this exhibition and at 34 Cork Street a survey of editions from over the course of the past six years.
For Paladino, printmaking is as important a part of his practice as the painting and sculpture for which he is best known. The retrospective exhibition at 34 Cork Street includes examples of his skilful lithographs, etchings and woodcuts along with the sculptural reliefs that have recently begun to populate his work.
The influence of music, film and artists admired by Paladino can be seen in the prints in this exhibition. The lithographs Effetto Notte and Blow Up, refer to the films of the same names by François Truffaut and Michelangelo Antonioni, whilst both states of Per Andrei Tarkovskij pay homage to the Russian director. Paladino is himself a filmmaker, his rendition of the story of Don Quixote premiered to great acclaim in Milan in 2010. Having paid tribute to Vivaldi, Handel, Mozart and Bach in an earlier series of prints, in Concerto K432 Paladino returns to Mozart, directly referencing his concerto in G Major.
The still lifes of Giorgio Morandi are invoked in the relief piece Morandi, whilst the series of woodcuts, XII Xilographie, draw their inspiration from the suite of 70 illustrations by 19th Century French illustrator Jean-Jacques Grandville, Les metamorphoses du jour, in which individuals with the bodies of men and faces of animals perform a Comédie humaine.
Paladino works with an acute awareness of history. There is a Byzantine feel to the insistent, schematized frontality of his heads and figures, and his recurring use of golden mosaic inevitably recalls the precious materials in the early Christian churches of Ravenna. Stupor Mundi refers to Frederick II, one of the most powerful Holy Roman Emperors of the Middle Ages, who was described by a contemporary chronicler as stupor mundi, translating as the wonder of the world and who was often depicted with a falcon. The bird atop this mosaic piece is a symbol of freedom, able to fly away at will whilst the human remains trapped within the frame.
The Alan Cristea Gallery is the exclusive distributor of Mimmo Paladino's editions worldwide.