Giulio Paolini. Dall’Italia

The principle is dualism: opposition and connection between opposites. Polarity of elements, representation and concreteness, conception and transcendence. It is an art of everything and nothing, of past and present, of real places and mnemonic places. The ego in the gaze of the other, reciprocal perception of subject and subjectivity.

Giulio Paolini, “Dall’Italia”, exhibition view, “Detto (non) Fatto, 2010-2024”, 2024, galleria Alfonso Artiaco, Napoli, courtesy Alfonso Artiaco e d’artista, photo credit Grafiluce

A concatenation of conceptual elements describes the celebrated Giulio Paolini’s career (Genova, 1940) as an analytical representation of art as a tool for connection. A pictorial art not intended by the use of palettes and colours, but in the manifestation of a thought. A thought that is as collective as it is individual, mirroring as it is reflective, metaphysical as it is truthful. The process of the idea is the idea itself, the expressive medium is the ultimate endpoint. Paolini is a proponent of a cross-perspective in art: it is not a miscalculation, of faulty goniometric instruments, but a different view of things through the will and volition of research. An empathic and empirical relationship is established between viewer and work, between work and work, between artist and content. It is a cross-reference between spheres in continuous expansion and correspondence. Portraying the other in order to portray oneself, more figuratively than literally.

Giulio Paolini, “Dall’l’Italia”, exhibition view, “Firmamento”, 2024, galleria Alfonso Artiaco, Napoli, courtesy Alfonso Artiaco e d’artista, photo credit Grafiluce

An aesthetic history born with Disegno Geometrico in 1960, the sign of which will be a reiteration of a contemporary language that is as changeable as it is concrete. «The works that the painter exhibits are not real paintings: they are moments of the relationship between the person making the painting, the person looking at the painting and the material object that is the painting». With this sentence, his friend Italo Calvino comprehensively describes the idea of making art in the essay dedicated to him, entitlted La Squadratura. Giulio Paolini is back for his sixth exhibition in Alfonso Artiaco gallery in Naples, with a series of works created especially for the show entitled Dall’Italia (From Italy) together with various collages typical of his work. As an everyday echo, the Italian nature and landscape are reproduced and reproposed in the works on display, most of them belonging to Neapolitan history and culture. The inherent themes range from the particular to the cosmic, a combination that enhances sensations and mysteries, knowledge and appearance.

Giulio Paolini, “Dall’Italia”, exhibition view, “Stanza delle apparizioni”, 2018-2024, galleria Alfonso Artiaco, Napoli, courtesy Alfonso Artiaco e d’artista, photo credit Grafiluce

Paolini begins his timeless journey with a view of a seascape entitled Detto (non) fatto 2010-2024, a polyptych of fifteen vitrines, each containing a photographic fragment of sky, horizon and sea alternating with fragments of one of his eponymous texts. Fragmentation is for the artist a modus operandi that overrides the concept of spatial vision and a break between the content and container of an artwork, a reflection more on the gesture than the image obtained. And we continue with works paying homage to artists from the past, such as de Chirico and de Pisis, the Pomepiani views, until we reach the large plaster sculpture in the middle of the gallery entitled Firmamento. This is a work that holds a sense of respect and remembrance of past artists and authors, friends and colleagues, inspirers as much as conductors of similar thoughts. It depicts a man who affixes his signature by replacing the names of those previously mentioned with a black ink that seemingly erases, but in fact enhances the stable and analytical sense.

Giulio Paolini, “Dall’Italia”, exhibition view, “Teogonia / Fuori Scena”, 1982-2024, galleria Alfonso Artiaco, Napoli, courtesy Alfonso Artiaco e d’artista, photo credit Grafiluce

With the works Prova d’autore and Tutto e Niente the celebrated artist trespasses into the cosmos as an imagination of something known and unknown at the same time, things indistinct and unreachable, visions unknown or in the making. The reduplication of objects – in some cases even self-portraits – that mise en abîme that perpetually emphasises situations and meanings is for Paolini a conceptual expression of freedom and vastness: the crossing of schematic and rationalistic boundaries, in order to define and space an image, is reclaimed in works such as the collageseries Stanza delle apparizioni (a sequence of gilded frames) and Fuori Scena (the reprise of the same room in which the work is placed). The ductile cohesion of Giulio Paolini’s aesthetic nature is a source of reinterpretation and rethinking in contemporary art. He is an artist who has made history revolutionizing the concept and reshaping the element, a theogony of expressive multiplicity.


Giulio Paolini. Dall’Italia
04/03 – 20/04 2024
Alfonso Artiaco
Piazzetta Nilo 7, Napoli


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