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Cardi Gallery

Paolo Canevari | Self-Portrait/ Autoritratto

"Epic, immersive sculptures." Aesthetica Magazine

"Interest in Italian Post-war artists is on the rise" ArtNet

"While his works speak of the ecological failure of humankind, highlighting the rhetoric of socio-economic power structures, the artist leaves them open to interpretation in a non-prescriptive, poetic manner." Artsy

"Conceptual and visually poetic work." Arts Intel Report

Italian contemporary artist Paolo Canevari is best known for transforming everyday materials and icons into large-scale sculptures that confront his audience with stark, political, and philosophical commentary. Throughout his career, Canevari has worked in a variety of media, most notably tyres and inner tubes, painting, drawing, performance, animation, and film.

The provocative nature of the artists' works, his connections to cutting-edge fashion (Wearable Art Projects), and his active role within the art scene in New York, where he lived and worked for many years, have kept Canevari in the spotlight of both American and Italian media. Cardi Gallery is proud to present the first major solo show of Canevari's work in the UK, an extensive survey exploring thirty years of the artist's practice, the culmination of a decades-long collaboration with the gallery. A museum-scale exhibition occupying four floors at Cardi London in Mayfair, 'Self-portrait / Autoritratto' brings together over 30 works including sculptures, drawings, and installation that range from the artist's notorious 1990s rubber sculptures through to his most recent ongoing series 'Monuments of the Memory: Landscape' and 'Constellations'. Many of the exhibits are shown here for the first time.

'Self-portrait / Autoritratto' aims to illustrate Canevari's worldview through the artist's deeply introspective creative process. It brings to the fore not only a reflection on the self but also, in the artist's words "…a political reading of making art, intended to measure what Pasolini had defined "the injustice of the world". "Art is a democratic, progressive force, so it should ideally serve society, not the powers that be. In my work, the use of icons, symbols, and forms from various cultures is a way of drawing attention to their true meaning, tied to dogmas or other forms of power; they're a way to open up a dialogue with the viewer and stimulate a reaction. […] The "political" character of my work is just one of many possible interpretations of what I do." "What I wish to express is a radical, subversive attitude towards art and the idea of art as it has been conceived and conveyed by globalised consumeristic society, therefore raising the level of moral and ethical perception of the world."

The ambiguity of Canevari's artworks, suspended in their brutalist aesthetic between irony and disquiet, is a successful result of both conceptual and formal transformation of industrial materials. Oil and its applications (synthetic rubber, exhaust motor oil, etc) are at the heart of his vocabulary; in his hands, they become ambiguous symbols of the systemic violence that permeates today's declining world, where the threat of war – whether in the name of spiritual or monetary values – is constant and humankind's memory is tragically too short.

"To me, an artwork is profoundly important when it does not recoil into a one-way structure – whether ideological or technical – but when it opens up to different perspectives for the viewer, therefore broadening their thought." Paolo Canevari


On Monday April 12, 2021 at 10:00 am (ends Sunday June 06, 2021 at 6:00 pm)

Category: Arts | Visual Arts

Artists / Speakers: Paolo Canevari

Event starts
Monday 12 April, 2021
Event ends
Sunday 6 June, 2021
Cardi Gallery
Venue Address
22 Grafton Street, Mayfair, London, W1S 4EX, United Kingdom

London , London

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