Luca Pignatelli (1962, Milan, Italy) live and works in Milan, Italy. In the modern era, the archive – whether endorsed or personal – seems to have become the most significant means by which historical knowledge and memory are collected, stored and, most importantly, retrieved. Traces and testimonies of any sort, attributed even to events such as the World War II or the fall of the communism for example, have provoked a reconsideration of the authority of “historical truth” (in its narrower sense).
Luca Pignatelli’s oeuvre appears to be, at a first glance, a compound archive of symbolic beauty and form. But, as they say, every aesthetic decision is a moral (and/ or political) one too. Driven by the “compulsive, repetitive and nostalgic desire to return to the origin and so to the most archaic place of absolute commencement that Deridda describes as the “archive fever”, the artist play with symmetry and repetitions, construction and fragmentation, archiving and chaos, opening up an unpredicted range of hybrid possilities in both a formalistic and conceptual manner. Beauty is essential to his world, not only as an aesthetically pleasing agent, but also as the method of sweetening the fact. He is definitely a classicist in his appraisal of rhythmic organization, as seen in the poses of powerful male and female ancient nudes. However, in his case, instead of following the principle of “classicism” – an approach to the medium founded on the imitation of antiquity, and on the assumption of a set of values attributed to the ancients – he violates it. Through the visual manipulation of shapes and meaning, the viewer is imprisoned within a set of ambiguities, similar to those found in the precarious real world. At the same time, the timeless dignity and reassuring calm of the – carved in marble – ancient figures are being contaminated by the notions of the fragile and the ephemeral. The heroes of today can be the anti-heroes of tomorrow. Monuments in our times are as conditional and consumable as the people or the accomplishments they recall. Through a contemporary contrapposto, Pignatelli’s work succeed in creating “fluidity” not within the pose, (as achieved much earlier by Praxiteles) but within “history” and the “historical fact”.
Luca Pignatelli in 2011 had an important solo exhibition, entitled Luca Pignatelli – Icons Unplugged, at National Institute of Graphics, Rome, Italy, curated by Luca Beatrice. Other important solo shows are: (2009) Luca Pignatelli – Atlantis, at Musée d’Art Modern et d’Art Contemporain, Nice, France; (2007) at MANN, Naples, Italy; (2006) Luca Pignatelli – Recent Works , White Box, New York, U.S.A. He also took part in several group shows: (2011) 150Italia , Ex Marmi, Pietrasanta, Italy; (2010) Icona Magnifica , MAXXI, Rome, Italy; (2010) Padiglione Italia, Collaudi , 53th Venice Biennial, curated by Luca Beatrice, Italy; (2007) Opere scelte , MACRO, Rome, Italy; Arte Italiana 1968 – 2007 Pittura , at Palazzo Reale, Milan, Italy.