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Born 1962 – Italy
Luca Pignatelli is an Italian painter from Milan, where he currently lives and works in a home studio self-designed from a former industrial building.
Throughout the years, Pignatelli has truly established an iconic status in Italian contemporary art, exhibiting in some of the most important art institutions both in Italy and worldwide. Son of an artist, in 1981 he enrolled in the Faculty of Architecture at the Polytechnic of Milan, where he attended courses on architectural composition, influenced at the time by the insights of Aldo Rossi and by the notion of the sedimentary growth of history, which then assumed for Pignatelli a particular significance in relation to painting, connected with research into time and memory.
The artist is known in Italy and throughout the world for his own process of gathering, custody and iconographic editing of history and art. In fact, over the course of three decades, he has amassed a heterogeneous archive of collective and universal images, portraying ancient and modern artefacts and figurative signs that document ancient civilizations and industrial progress, defined by art criticism as “theatre of memory”1. For Pignatelli accumulating and re-using objects, forms, codices and models from the past, appropriating iconographies, signifies being able to give meaning to the present. Among his most recurring and distinctive themes are classical heads, mythological figures, emperors, along with modern skylines, natural landscapes and symbols of modernity such as Second-World-War airplanes, ocean-liners and steam trains.
The city and the history of art represent for him a sort of fixed stage for human events, as well as a dimension that offers fertile ground for research and for making analogies, unexpected layering and association of subjects, times and materials. Luca Pignatelli is also renowned for the use of unexpected, recovered and poor media such as railway wagon tarpaulin, wood, metal sheet, carpet, rubber to contrast images of splendid beauty, as well as for his impressive large-scale paintings and site-specific installations.
His works are dominated by a sense of proportion and by a vision of a world poetically threatened rendered by the presence of memorable objects and the moving combination of serenity and melancholy, classicism and modernity, beauty and poverty, that evoke unbridgeable sentiments of eternity and infinity, of which we are now the recipients.