• Beyond the Canvas

Domenico Gnoli at Fondazione Prada, Milan

“I always use simple elements, I don’t want to add or subtract anything. I never even wanted to deform either: I isolate and I represent. Domenico Gnoli (1933-1970)


This superbly displayed show tells the story of the enigma that is hidden in the everyday object. Gnoli’s hugely rewarding canvasses celebrate the mystery of the ordinary, the unsuspected magic of the familiar. The artist, who died at a painfully young 36 years of age, explored reality by zooming in on the detail of these objects - shoes, garments, furniture - they all come to life in a universe of their own.

Deceptively simple in their visual complexity, these paintings have a dreamlike quality that is both reassuring and disquieting. They emanate a controlled tension, leaving the viewer to ask questions as to who inhabits them, for the human presence is all but invisible. Who‘s the man wearing the herringbone suit? Who was sat on that chair? Whose strand of hair is that?

Gnoli’s textures are exquisitely, almost obsessively, rendered. His sophisticated pictorial prowess is perhaps the main protagonist of this extraordinary show where the intimacy of the everyday is elevated by his unique figurative language.

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Domenico Gnoli, by SIAE 2021

Photos by the author




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