Mimmo Paladino

MIMMO PALADINO (Paduli, Benevento, 1948)

In the late 1970s, Mimmo Paladino was among the supporters of a return to painting, to figuration and to colour that in both expressive and material terms ran counter to the dematerialisation promised by the Minimalist and Conceptual currents in art. Silenzioso mi ritiro a dipingere un quadro (Silently, I Retire to Paint a Picture) is the emblematic title of a 1977 work by the artist.
In 1980, invited by critic Achille Bonito Oliva, Paladino participated in the Aperto 80 exhibition at the Venice Biennale, which marked the birth of the Transavanguardia. From the very start, Paladino’s art has been characterised by wide-ranging experimentation with techniques and mediums and in various genres (painting, sculpture, etching, theatrical set design and cinema), by means of which he has formulated a personal language based on the primitive power of the image. Over the years he has developed a well-defined, archaically-tinged iconography that references the traditions of his native land and alternates figurative elements from Egyptian, Etruscan and early Christian art with abstract signs and simplified forms typical of a modern poetic.
Cyclically-recurring elements in his work are figures rich in references to myth and to ancient rituals, which combine to give birth to a mysterious, oneiric universe.
From the late 1980s onward, the dialogue between his painting and his sculpture intensified. Subjects like expressionless masks, the artist’s graphic signs, and animals progressively freed themselves from the canvas to live in three dimensions and, in the 1990s, in the large installations created for public spaces (such as the Montagna di Sale [1990] in Gibellina and La Croce [2012] in Florence).