"Urban Icons" by Paolo Leonardo
The Wunderkammer set inside the Visionnaire Design Gallery in Piazza Cavour 3 in Milan hosts the "Urban Icons" personal exhibition by Paolo Leonardo from November 13th 2014 to January 24th 2015. Born in Torino in 1973, he is one of the most interesting personalities in the new Italian artistic scene. Through a personal and independent use of painting, Leonardo has developed a research linked to the contemporary relationship among art, photography and advertising.
Paolo Leonardo is interested in portrayals of women in our consumer society, drawing on an immense archive of advertising images that show modern woman in all her stereotypes. The artist glimpses a potential meaning in certain posters and photographs, and a kind of magical power in some, that leads him to establish a dialogue between the image and his painting.
“I can’t bear to see the skyline of my hometown invaded by advertising images, by those faces and bodies that represent women, but at the same time dumb them down, stereotyping them and reducing them to commodities. One night in 1994, I tore down two big posters of women’s faces for the first time. After modifying them with painting in an Expressionist style, I illegally relocated them in street advertising displays. That’s how everything started, and that’s what I still do on the streets of Italy and abroad. When I choose an advertising image on the street, I realize that the photographic reproduction in it can have some potentials. Only through the isolation of this image from the others, I am able to develop a visual relationship in my studio, and the image redeems itself and gets a new own dignity through painting". Through the filter of paint, the photos become invested with my emotions”.