Gian Domenico Sozzi
MASSIMODECARLO Pièce Unique is very pleased to present perlepie, new works by Italian artist Gian Domenico Sozzi. This is his first solo presentation with the gallery since taking part in Come Prima, Meglio di Prima, a group show at MASSIMODECARLO Milan in 2020.
In a short excerpt, Sozzi explains the research process behind this body of work. Deeply informed by his attention to detail and fascination for overlooked, forgotten artworks, Sozzi’s perlepie is a celebration of what lies in the shadows:
“The sun draws shadows everywhere: among bookshelves, on sofas, on the walls, in the windowpanes, but also on that dilapidated canvas which has been lying by the worktable for years, either waiting to be restored or perhaps to be rolled up and end up in the attic or, perhaps worse, to be left there to be consumed by dust and disappear like a dandelion puff.”
His process is a combination of extraction and radical transformation: taking visual elements from forgotten, anonymous historical paintings, Sozzi transports them from the softness of the canvas onto the cold, reflective surface of the mirror. Yet in doing so he does not expose them in broad daylight, rather, he keeps them soaked in the darkness, and dust of the shadows from which they emerge.
The series is named perlepie after pearls painted at the edge of a rolled-up canvas, peeping out from the fabric, hinting at the rest of the painting’s composition hiding within the folds. The fabric of the canvas, like a cloak of darkness, is found on his screen-prints in the form of the thick black paint from which his subjects emerge.
Sozzi playfully describes this process as “flirting with dust and its radical opacity” in order to push his images to the edge of visibility, “into the depths of the mirror, until they become images in exile, shy extras, epiphanies even.”
Born in Castello di Solaro in 1960, Sozzi studied art at DAMS in Bologna. In 1983 he moved to Florence where he began working in Luciano Bartolini's studio and where, in 1985, he held his first solo exhibition at Schema Gallery. From that date he moved first to Berlin and then to New York where the cycle of works Mar d'Africa was born, which he exhibited in Paris at the Montenay Gallery and in Munich at the Thomas Gallery. In 1992, at Studio Stefania Miscetti in Rome, he inaugurated r-Idolini, sculptures and photographs as witnesses to an operation on known and unknown heads that he also presented the following year at Studio Casoli in Milan. In 1996 he returned to Studio Stefania Miscetti with cielospettacolo, a work that saw him "marry" twelve célibataires and which he presented the following year at the Montenay Gallery in Paris and in the Milanese space of A&M Bookstore. In 2000, again at Studio Stefania Miscetti, he presented Anatra muta: a series of monochrome background papers visible on the back of a specially constructed wall/iconostasis at the back of the gallery. In 2002, at Studio De Carlo in Milan, he exhibits large-format photographic prints such as Testimoni. In 2006, at Galleria Zero in Milan, he presented Brava (found footage video) for the first time, which would later be shown in Berlin at the Isabella Bortolozzi Gallery, at the Fesch Museum in Ajaccio and at the Galleria Civica Montevergini in Syracuse. In 2008 he returned to Studio Stefania Miscetti in Rome with so it goes and the following year he made a site-specific installation entitled Red Carpet at Galleria Francesco Pantaleone in Palermo. In 2012, invited as a special guest at Mars in Milan, he presented Bella Ciao and in 2017 with Pretious had his first solo show at Studio Dabbeni in Lugano. In 2018, on the occasion of the exhibition dedicated to Gaudenzio Ferrari, he presents a video dedicated to the Piedmontese artist's last work at Casa Testori. In 2020, he participates with Fatima in the group show Come prima, Meglio di Prima at Galleria MASSIMODECARLO, Milan. He presented perlepie at CLER in Milan and Studio Stefania Miscetti in Rome in 2022.