Alexander Deanesi is an eclectic artist of great talent. Of Italian origin, he mixes the style of the great masters with pop-art and urban art inspirations. European revivals, Eastern and Western philosophies, seemingly opposing doctrines merge with balance and elegance. In his colourful and dense works, reminders of past eras and current events blend with naturalness and madness.
Could you introduce yourself and tell us about your career?
Of Italian origin, I grew up and trained at the Fine Arts School in Florence. In 1993, I moved to Paris. From then on, I met this underground movement in squats, and I started working to invest these abandoned places, through electronic music, image and sculpture. What has always interested me is this idea of Global Art.
Your works are impregnated with references to underground culture. What are your sources of inspiration?
My sources of inspiration are multiple. As I am a painter at the base, I am particularly attached to Renaissance painting. My classical training led me naturally to the oil painting of the great masters, I keep this traditional painting technique. Otherwise, most of the time I am inspired by current events, manga, and surrealist imagination.
Your exhibition NUOVO CONCILIO can be seen until September 5th at the Teodora Gallery, located in the heart of the “Carré Rive Droite”, in the 8th district. Could you tell us more about this exhibition?
I already had in mind the works I wanted to present at the Teodora Galerie before the confinement. My goal is to create a link between different cultures in search of harmony. The aspect that I find most important in art is beauty: to be inspired by the great classics but also to look around us, everywhere, to see things that have really marked history and especially that of art. Clearly I take biblical facts in my paintings. For example there is Saint Michael and the dragon: I tried to change the events of the scene. In the biblical story, Saint Michael kills the evil, which is personified by the dragon, with a sword, whereas in my work I replaced it with a magic wand. In the other hand, I painted a cloud of flowers. I think an angel can use other tools than violence. Violence is not the way to fight evil.
There is also the painting The Seventh Seal, for which the situation of confinement probably inspired me. This is another biblical episode where seven angels announce the apocalypse with their trumpets. I painted like explosions, little tsunamis around the trumpets, to show that the situation could really get worse if we continue like that, if we don’t change our thinking, our way of life.
You call yourself a “painter from Florence”. To what extent has your work been influenced by the classics of painting and how does your work differ from the paintings of the great masters? I’m thinking in particular of the work She is a rainbow, visible in the exhibition, which is reminiscent of a classic portrait of a virgin with a very contemporary touch.
The painting technique of the Renaissance, not only Italian, gives me great satisfaction in the execution. The centre of my work is syncretism: the symbiosis of things that normally have no contact with each other. For example, I like to mix the bright and intense colours of pop culture with the biblical image of the Virgin and Child, a historical symbol of Renaissance painting. My goal is to make it more topical and to make it speak to people today.
At the opening, we also had the opportunity to admire your work Aurora, where you represent art as a cart that moves forward, while man is represented by a little monkey that turns the music. It seems that in your work every detail is important.
I did this work thinking about the new technologies: they are undoubtedly very useful, but I think that, from an ethical point of view, we have to ask ourselves how far we can live in a society where digital technology dominates. Life can be made simple: music and everyday things make people happy.
You seek unity in art. Are you trying to convey a message with your work?
I have remained a little anchored in this spirit of the Renaissance, because it is a true spirit, which goes beyond painting. During this period, each painting was executed to convey a message: be it an idea, a biblical, mythological or pagan theme. I also think that I have the freedom to say things with my painting. Art is not just about simple shapes, colours or light. For me art is much more than that, it is being able to express ideas and transmit them.