Michelangelo Galliani: In Focus
Michelangelo Galliani: In Focus
Born in Montecchio Emilia (Reggio Emilia) in 1975 to Italian parents Laura and illustrious contemporary artist Omar Galliani, Michelangelo Galliani was exposed to art from a young age. He received a broad, formal education in Fine Art; first studying Stage Design at the Istituto d’Arte Paolo Toschi (Parma), followed by a study of Art History and Restoration at the Istituto Palazzo Spinelli (Florence), and culminating with a degree from Carrara’s Academy of Fine Arts, specialising in sculpture. Galliani’s academic education and life-long contact with contemporary art significantly impact his technique, shaping it to create a previously unseen and exquisite style.
Galliani’s unbridled talent was quickly noticed and published by esteemed artist Paolo Manazza on the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera’s list of upcoming and valuable artists. Since 1996, the artist has been repeatedly participated in solo and group exhibitions, both in Italy and in international locations, including Spain, Istanbul and China. Most famously, his artworks were featured in the 2005 Biennale Giovani of Monza, the 2004 Rome Quadriennale, and at the 2015 ExpoArteItaliana curated by Vittorio Sgarbi.
Although Art Historians have categorised Galliani as a contemporary artist, he discards this title, claiming that his art is a variegation of classical and modern styles. Despite Carrara marble’s long-standing tradition, the artist tenaciously challenges the stone and its hardness by manually and methodically carving it using surgical instruments. By employing this technique, he is able to accurately render the sculptures’ most minute details. This characteristic is particularly noticeable in the representation of the figures’ facial features, whereby their agonized expressions are faultlessly rendered to the point of evoking the viewer’s pathos. Galliani’s focus on expressions, together with the figures’ gently contorted bodies, softly carved features, and divine elegance, prominently evoke works executed by Italian Renaissance and Neo-Classical masters. Although the majority of his sculptures employ the ‘non finito’ technique to purposefully make them resemble recently discovered antique sculptures, their dramatic expressions ensure that the artwork appears complete to the viewer.
Interestingly, he engages with the material in a manner similar to that of Michelangelo Buonarroti; Galliani understands the fragments of marble as already holding within themselves the shape of the figures, and he brings these to life by carving the material following its original form. Without preparing preliminary sketches, the sculpted fragments are then juxtaposed with metals, such as brass, lead, and iron, to achieve a contemporary and distinctive identity that would be inconceivable if carved from uniformly cut marble blocks using machines. Through this technique, the artist emphasises the artworks’ didacticism, while also offering original compositions that skilfully handle the relation between 3D sculptures and flat surfaces.
Galliani believes that his works grow with time; he gives them initial life by creating them, but they then develop as the materials start to wear and change their appearance. The artist attaches great importance to this ageing process, stating that it symbolises the artworks’ progression into maturity, while also, paradoxically, presenting the artworks’ immortality.
Thus, by combining different traditions and employing his technical accuracy, Galliani produces mesmerizing artworks that present a varied, irrational, and aesthetically captivating interpretation of classical sculpture.
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